Summer break for university protesters

University students and professors protesting against a draft law on higher education reform are about to call it a day for the summer holidays, promising to return in the autumn for more. Before the holiday break, a final demonstration is expected to take place either on Tuesday or Wednesday, to coincide with a meeting of education ministers from member states of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). This would be of symbolic importance, given that one of the protesting professors’ and students’ main demands is for the universities to sever all ties with the private sector. The rally will take place either in the center of Athens or at the locale of the OECD meeting. The previous student rallies have always ended in violence fomented by a small minority of demonstrators. Three people arrested on Thursday were charged with causing explosions and grievous bodily harm. The executive of the Panhellenic Federation of Teaching and Scientific Personnel (POSDEP), the university teachers’ union, is meeting today and is expected to propose an end to the strike, for now. This would also allow students in their last year of studies to take their final exams in September. POSDEP will send copies of the draft law, made public earlier this week, to its members for discussion, although it believes that the dialogue the Education Ministry belatedly promised should start from scratch and that the draft bill should be scrapped.

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