Universities assess riot damage

Universities in Athens and Thessaloniki began assessing the damage done to their campuses, buildings and equipment by rioters who had taken over the institutions for almost three weeks in December. Following the departure of anarchists, protesters and various other groups that had made the universities home following the December 6 shooting of 15-year-old Alexis Grigoropoulos by a policeman, university staff moved in yesterday to take stock of the damage done during the turmoil that followed the incident in Exarchia. At the Athens University of Economics and Business (AUEB), there was so much graffiti on the walls that staff judged that the interior of the entire building would have to be repainted. The AUEB rector, Grigoris Prastakos, told Kathimerini that 14 offices had also been broken into as well as a work area from which computers were stolen. At the Athens Law School, walls, windows and doors had been damaged but no offices had been broken into. Repair work started at the school yesterday. The National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), formerly the Polytechnic, suffered the most damage. Marble staircases and ledges had been smashed with sledgehammers to provide rioters with ammunition to throw at the police. Doors and windows had also been destroyed. However, the rector of the university, Constantinos Moutzouris, said that student work areas and the NTUA’s library had not been damaged. However, some teaching staff suggested that Moutzouris was downplaying the damage in order not to rile those who caused it. «It is time to tell the public the truth and for everyone to assume their responsibilities,» one lecturer, who preferred to remain anonymous, told Kathimerini. «The rector was in a tough position recently and, in this context, I appreciate a possible attempt to cover up the extent of the damage. But we have to stop operating this way now.» In Thessaloniki, an initial estimate of the damage done to the city’s Aristotle University put the repairs at 150,000 euros but this figure is expected to rise.

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