NEWS

Fourteen face charges after police enter Athens University grounds, ending sit-in

Police entered the administrative headquarters of Athens University on Friday morning and arrested 14 anti-establishment protesters, ending a 19-day sit-in of the institution that had unsettled the government and fueled political tensions.

Police officers entered the building at around 6 a.m. after first appealing to the occupiers to come out. When they refused, fire service officers used a special saw to cut through the main door and enter the premises while police officers used ladders to gain access to the premises from windows on the first and second floors.

According to sources, the occupiers — seven women and seven men — did not resist arrest and were led away in handcuffs. A small group of anti-establishment supporters shouted slogans against the police as the sit-in was broken up and banners removed from the facade of the university building. The 14 were to face questioning at the Athens police headquarters to which they were transferred.

On Thursday riot police had clashed with demonstrators in favor of the sit-in outside the university at the end of a rally against a mine operation in Skouries, northern Athens. Later in the day, the clashes moved to nearby Exarchia where hooded youths burned cars and smashed store fronts. At around 3 a.m. police detained a few people in the streets around Exarchia and the university.