THESSALONIKI – With no explanation whether anyone tried to stop it, a dozens of sledgehammer carrying people ripped down newly-built walls on the ground floor of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, northern Greece, where university authorities are planning to create a new library after police earlier forced out squatters who were there 34 years.
Campus security informed the rector’s office and police but it wasn’ said if that was until after the damage was done or if police responded although even they are frequent targets at the school where there’s a history of violence.
Crews had just finished the first phase of the construction during Greek Orthodox Easter, said Kathimerini, the vandalism coming before the deployment of some 400 campus security at major universities.
“There is a significant damage to public property and the planned legal actions are underway. This project, the creation of a large library that will serve thousands of students and researchers, is funded by national and European funds, has dates of delivery and schedules,” said Professor Nikos Papaioannou, rector of the AUT.
“The public university is funded by the Greek taxpayer, so that their children get the education they deserve, so that the country can support its progress with our graduates…The library will be built and I have confidence in the rule of law that no criminal act will go unpunished,” he added.
He didn’t explain why he had such confidence when there’s been repeated trouble, confrontation and violence and no report whether anyone was prosecuted for vandalism or violence.
The area at the Department of Biology had served as a squat and hideout for self-styled anarchists for 34 years until December 2021 when a police operation cleared it, the paper noted. Authorities didn’t say why they waited from 1988 to 2022 to do something.
The university plans to use the vacated area to create a 1.3-million-euro ($1.37 million) library for the Faculty of Sciences that will serve 5,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students and 350 members of the teaching staff, unless it’s destroyed again.