Greek Riot Cops, Protesters Battle at Athens University Hotbed

University students clash with the riot police during a protest outside the Ministry of Macedonia and Thrace in the northern Greek port city of Thessaloniki, Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019. Police clashed with students at demonstrations in Greece's two largest cities Thursday amid strikes and street protests against a planned overhaul of business and licensing rules by the new conservative government. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)

ATHENS – The shut-down of the embattled grounds of the Athens University of Economics and Business (AUEB).ahead of the commemoration of the Nov. 17 student-led uprising in 1974 that helped bring down a military dictatorship set off protests that had to quelled by riot police.

Dozens of radical left-wing demonstrators and about 200 students joined to protest the decision by university officials to close until after the annual marking of the Nov. 17 landmark moment in Greek history, that sets off in turn often violent responses.

The protest, said Kathimerini, also followed a police investigation at the AUEB premises which found a cache of full face masks, helmets and rocks that are used as weapons against police in demonstrations and apparently gathered for Nov. 17.

In the past, violent protesters have been able to tangle with police and then run back onto university grounds which were sanctuary areas that police couldn’t enter, but that was ended when New Democracy took power in July 7 snap elections, ousting the anarchist-and-terrorist friendly former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA.

Dozens of students managed to enter the university grounds Nov. 11 and the paper said there was a tense standoff with riot police for an hour before the demonstrators left under threat of being arrested, which hadn’t happened when SYRIZA was in power.

After the clashes, government spokesman Stelios Petsas set aside bitter criticism from the now major opposition SYRIZA and asked why the Leftists had nothing to say about the discovery of the cache of materials found at the college which had been overrun with drug dealers when they were in power before.

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