Violent protest in Greece against proposed campus police force


THESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) — Riot police in this northern Greek city fired tear gas to disperse crowds attacking them with petrol bombs and rocks Thursday night during a protest against the planned of the government to introduce the police on university campuses.

Around 5,000 members of leftist and anarchist groups took part in the march through central Thessaloniki, smashing shop windows and setting trash cans on fire. At least eight people were arrested. No injuries were reported.

Earlier in the day, protesters clashed with police at the city’s state university main campus, where unrest has been simmering for weeks over a left-wing sit-in that has been shut down. Authorities are trying to build a new library where the squat used to be, and the police are there to protect construction workers from attacks by people angered by the end of the sit-in.

Protesters are angry at government plans to introduce a new police force to guard university campuses, which lack effective private security and have suffered from political violence as well as petty crime.

Greece’s centre-right government has repealed decades-old laws that effectively barred police — in the name of protecting academic freedom — from entering university grounds in most cases.

Left-leaning opposition parties have strongly criticized the move as well as the planned campus police, which are expected to take up duty in the coming weeks.


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