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Society

Greek Business College Academics Demand End to Campus Lawlessness

November 18, 2019

ATHENS – After a police battle with demonstrators on their campus, which was shut down for days ahead of the Nov. 17 annual commemoration of a 1973 student uprising that helped bring down a military junta, some 100 academics at the Athens University of Economics and Business (ASOEE) said they want trouble there ended.

The group called for “institutional changes and structured actions aimed at the smooth functioning and upgrading of the Greek state university,” which are often taken over by small groups of students protesting whatever they don’t like at the time and allowed to do it.

At AUEB though, the grounds and nearby areas had been almost taken over by drug dealers and criminals under the former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA before being ousted in July 7 snap elections by the law-and-order New Democracy Conservatives.

“In our daily lives we experience a climate of violence and lawlessness which is not only present at our university but at many other Greek universities,” the statement said, reported Kathimerini.

“We firmly believe that universities should be open centers for learning and research based on the free exchange of ideas and the principle of democracy,” it added, expressing the academics’ opposition to “every illegal activity that takes place on university grounds.”

That came days after 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.

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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