Students march off with ballot boxes

Students forced their way into universities across the country yesterday and stole ballot boxes being used for the election of rectors, as they continued protests against the government’s education reforms. The students, affiliated with extreme left-wing groups, took away about one-third of the ballot boxes at the technical colleges of Athens and Piraeus after forcing their way past groups of their peers who had been appointed to guard the polling areas. At the University of Crete, protesters strolled into the university and walked off with the ballot boxes as none of the other students attempted to stop them, fearing for their own personal safety. Students have been staging sit-ins at dozens of university faculties across the country, objecting to government reforms aimed at improving the way universities operate but also at introducing private universities. Less than 10 percent of the total number of enrolled students are believed to be involved in the protests. A demonstration is set to take place at noon in central Athens today, the second this week, with authorities hoping it will be as peaceful as Wednesday’s.