A group of around 100 mostly black-clad youths on Friday blocked the entrance to a vocational training high school on Thessaloniki, northern Greece, barricading themselves behind a row of dumpsters and throwing stones, flares and other projectiles at journalists, teachers and anyone else trying to approach the building.
This was the second day that the troublemakers, who are believed to be affiliated to far-right groups, rioted outside the school in the western suburb of Evosmos. It was not clear whether pupils of the school are among them.
The ongoing tension in western Thessaloniki first erupted on Tuesday at another vocational training high school, in Stavroupoli, when a similar group of youths mustered inside school grounds and attacked a rally held outside by leftist student groups objecting to the government’s educational policy.
Police made several arrests on the second day of clashes at the Stavroupoli school on Wednesday, confirming suspicions that the perpetrators of the assault were backed by far-right groups, including the now-disbanded neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party.
Media footage from both schools has shown several of the black-clad youths giving the Nazi salute, while they have also been the subject of a flood of praise on far-right websites and social media pages.
Several pupils have been identified as being connected to the violence earlier this week and face indefinite suspension from school.
In the meantime, tension also broke out briefly outside the Stavroupoli school on Friday after members of the parent-teacher association were prevented by a police cordon outside the facility from meeting with school authorities to seek answers over Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s incidents.
The violence in Thessaloniki has raised concerns about the penetration of far-right elements in high schools in northern Greece, but also in other parts of the country.