Protest tactics opposed

As students across the country continue to oppose the government’s planned tertiary reforms, a survey released yesterday showed that many Greeks disagree with the tactics adopted by protesting students but support their right to challenge government policies. The research results, published in Sunday’s Kathimerini, also showed that 51 percent of respondents back the immunity from police offered by universities. The results reflect a shifting attitude on the law, which aims at supporting free thinking at universities, as the respective figure in June last year stood at 65 percent. A debate over whether police should be allowed to storm university grounds has been growing recently due to a government proposal to alter the law. Repeated images of anarchist groups clashing with police and then seeking refuge on university grounds appear to have moved public opinion closer toward a partial lifting of the immunity measure. Just over half of respondents said that authorities should be allowed to storm the university if they are given the green light by deans. The survey also showed that 72 percent of respondents disagree with students shutting down their schools as they stage sit-in protests. At present, there are some 300 university faculties that have been shut down by students opposing government plans to introduce non-state universities. The shut-down action is likely to create problems for students since it is being held in the middle of exam period. Three-quarters of those questioned also said that launching strikes and staging street demonstrations are acceptable forms of protest. Meanwhile, almost all of those polled (99 percent) agreed that destroying public property and going on destructive rampages are unacceptable ways of showing opposition. The VPRC survey questioned 301 adults on Wednesday and Thursday across Greece.

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