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Student resistance to the reform in universities

05 March 2013 / 20:03:29  GRReporter
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Anastasia Balezdrova

A colourful protest with one slogan, but written in different languages, was ​​held today by students from foreign language departments of the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Athens. Around 200 people responded to the call of the academic staff and expressed their dissatisfaction with the decision of the government to reform the universities and the colleges.

The plan called "Athens" is expected to unite different departments into a single one. Representatives of the academic staff said that the changes "will reduce and even eliminate the humanities" and would undervalue the students’ diplomas compared with the ones granted by foreign faculties.

The students were holding in their hands posters in different colours and shapes, on which they had wrote the slogan "No to the mergers of departments" in French, English, German, Italian, Spanish and Russian. At the same time, they were shouting, "No to the "Athens" plan. It will not be applied."

The rector of the Athens University Theodossis Pelegrinis supported the protest and said that the students and teachers should reject the changes together.

Another protest in response to the presentation of the "Athens" plan in parliament by Minister of Education Konstantinos Arvanitopoulos will follow on Wednesday.

At the same time, some students refuse to recognize the elections for members of their governments, which were carried out in the universities. A few days ago, a similar group blocked the entrance of the hall where the board of the University of Athens was to meet in a teleconference with members of the management, who teach in American universities.

According to sources, the students did not allow the teachers to leave the hall managing the electronic networks of the university body, which is located in the neighbourhood of Zografou.  They also refused to lift the blockade before the meeting was cancelled and before the board members left the building.

Meanwhile, around 4,000 farmers from all regions of mainland Greece and the Island of Crete gathered at a protest meeting in front of the Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food.

The protest was organized by the Pan-Hellenic Coordinating Committee, which is sympathizing with the Greek Communist party. The support of the "red" was more than obvious. The chief party secretary Aleka Papariga and dozens of members of the PAME trade union honoured the meeting.

The chairman of the farmers and the leader of the largest blockade in the village of Nikea in Larissa region Vangelis Boutas invited his colleagues and all workers to support their protests. In his speech, he was particularly critical to the government, which "did not give us lower VAT, cheap electricity nor cheap oil." The veteran trade unionist, who spent one term in parliament called for a new policy for agricultural development outside the Common Agricultural Policy of the European Union.

In turn, Aleka Papariga did not hide that her party patronized the farmers’ protests. "The government is wrong if it thinks that farmers’ protests will be united in one place and will take place once or twice a year in the form of anniversaries," she said and added, "The employees will join the farmers and the masses and they will become a river that will sweep not only the memoranda and loan contracts but also the parties and forces, whose aim is to concentrate the wealth in a decreasing number of hands and to make the people live like they did 50 years ago."

The meeting lasted more than two hours and then, the farmers’ procession headed to the parliament on Syntagma Square and they later left for their regions from there.

Tags: SocietyProtestsStudentsUniversitiesFarmers
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