University ups ante on sit-in

The senate of Thessaloniki’s Aristotle University, which is under occupation by protesting students for the second week in a row, yesterday decided to resort to «every legal measure» to restore order if the action continues, suggesting that it might invite law enforcement to intervene. The senate reached the decision after an emergency meeting at a building belonging to the AHEPA university hospital, as the dean’s office was under occupation. The talks were disrupted by a group of protesters who tried to stop the proceedings and refused to leave until the end. After a tense session, the senate decided to stage a rally to protest the university occupation on Tuesday and to proceed with action if the sit-in continues. «If all our efforts to solve the problem are ineffective, we shall seek to restore the violation of asylum with every legal measure,» the senate said in a statement. In an unprecedented move, the senate invited all students and university staff to contribute to efforts to stop the occupation, which senate members said did not involve students but «self-appointed individuals who declare neither their names, status, nor whom they represent.» The protesters occupying the dean’s office, believed to be self-styled anarchists and members of the so-called «extra-parliamentary left,» have said they will continue their action until the university breaks its contract with the cleaning services firm it uses. The protest is in solidarity with the head of the Attica cleaners’ union Constantina Kuneva, who suffered an acid attack in December, though it is unclear if the firm used by the university is implicated in any wrongdoing. In a related development, Supreme Court prosecutor Giorgos Sanidas asked his subordinates to investigate which public buildings are under occupation in the northern city, a week after giving the same order to prosecutors in Athens. Sanidas wants to determine which buildings have been taken over by self-styled anarchists and whether criminal activities, such as the manufacture of petrol bombs or drug dealing, were under way.

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