ATHENS – The Education Ministry won't use force to stop school occupations by students across Greece upset with COVID-19 health measures and other issues, instead saying it will try talking to them.
That comes as students were said to planning more protest rallies as the number of resisters grew with more than 700 sit-ins across the country, students said, with ministry officials anxious to avoid escalating the problem, said Kathimerini.
Ministry sources not named told the paper that the protest movement is being directed by left-wing activists but didn't say if the major opposition former ruling SYRIZA Progressive Alliance, which favors the tactic, is behind it.
“The situation is fluid,” they said, adding they hope the occupations will end if students tire of the sit-ins. It wasn't said how long authorities would let a minority of students keep schools shut.
In Kalamata, in southern Greece, police were called to a school after pupils holding a sit-in attacked teachers and parents trying to enter the grounds with no report any were detained or arrested or why the school wasn't cleared.
While they are mostly unhappy about requirements in schools to wear masks and other health protocols aimed at protecting them from the virus, students are also upset Greece will buy French-made fighter jets as a defense against Turkish provocations and they don't want to be conscripted into the military.
Government spokesman Stelios Petsas said earlier that measures were being explored “to prevent actions that create problems, both to the school year and to the health of the people engaging in sit-ins,” without explaining what they were.
The paper, citing unnamed sources, said the ruling New Democracy's approach will be to try to reason with students and convince them health measures are for their own good.