Police brace for yet more student demonstrations

Starting today, university students will demonstrate for three days in a row in protest against planned higher education reforms before suspending their protests for the summer holidays. The demonstrations have been timed to coincide with a two-day session of education ministers from member states of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The government, fearing the possibility of clashes between demonstrators and the police outside the OECD session, has moved it to a resort hotel in Lagonissi, a seaside town 40 kilometers south of Athens, at an extra cost of 400,000 euros, a General Accounting Office source told Kathimerini. Despite this precaution, there will still be demonstrations at the session’s site. Today, some students from technical colleges will demonstrate outside the OECD ministers’ gathering at 10 a.m., while university students and professors will stage a demonstration in the center of Athens beginning at noon. A demonstration at Lagonissi will follow tomorrow. Students will gather again at 10.30 a.m. on Thursday outside Parliament. The police have taken emergency measures and will use over 2,000 policemen and riot policemen to block access to the hotel, while another 2,000 will be deployed in the center of Athens. The road to Lagonissi, from the 39th to the 42nd kilometer from Athens, will be closed to vehicles from early today to tomorrow afternoon. Police sources said the critical day will be tomorrow because they have information that demonstrators will actively seek to clash with riot police in Lagonissi. «We hope everything will take place peacefully; unfortunately, however, we have not seen signs of self-control from the demonstrators so far,» a high-ranking police officer told Kathimerini.

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