Greek political leaders clash over school sitins

Greek political leaders clash over school sitins

A new clash broke out between Greek political leaders on Friday over a wave of sitins at schools, some of which have been staged in opposition to the government's name deal with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. 

"New Democracy was, is and will always be against any form of sitin," New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in comments from Patra.

"Others built their political careers on sitins," the ND leader remarked, an apparent dig at leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. 

Responding to Mitsotakis's statement, Tsipras's office issued a statement suggesting that the ND leader inherited his place in politics through his family connections and built his career by fanning nationalist sentiment.

He added that although he understood the exasperation of all those opposing the so-called Prespes name deal, sitins is not the answer.

"Closed schools mean closed minds and I would not want healthy patriotism to become kindling for a barren and extreme nationalism," he added.

He called for a broad opposition to "all those who are seeking to radicalize the new generation by serving their own party-affiliated aspirations" and urged Greeks, young and old, to protest the name "bad deal" while keeping schools open.

An estimated 500 schools were under occupation on Thursday when pupils rallied in Thessaloniki against the Macedonia name deal. Only 15 to 20 percent of the sitins were believed to be a protest at the name deal, however. 

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