Accusations fly over campus sit-in

Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou on Wednesday accused the rector of Athens University, Theodosis Pelegrinis, of failing to stop a sit-in at the school’s premises which is widely seen as contributing to the violent incidents in the center of the capital on Sunday.

In an interview with Skai Television, Diamantopoulou said that the university rector holds “colossal responsibility” for the sit-in.

“The asylum law has been in place since last year. Mr Pelegrinis made an agreement to hand over the Law School,” she said.

The occupation controversially followed the lifting of the so-called university asylum law last summer, allowing police access to university grounds. The law had been created after the fall of the Greek military regime in 1974.

Athens first instance prosecutor Eleni Raikou on Tuesday ordered a probe into the occupation, which began in the middle of last week and ended after the rioting stopped early on Monday morning. She is set to investigate whether the rioters used the premises of the Law School to launch their attacks on police who were attacked with Motolov cocktails and stones.

It has been suggested in the past that self-styled anarchists have used university ground, formerly a no-go area for the police, for the preparation of firebombs.

Diamantopoulou’s comments met with an angry response from Pelegrinis, who rebuffed the allegations as “totally groundless and defamatory.” Pelegrinis, who on Tuesday stated he had informed both Citizens’ Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis and Raikou about the sit-in in two letters last week, said the university senate would discuss the issue tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Lucas Papademos met with several key ministers on Wednesday to discuss the vandalism committed during an anti-austerity protest on Sunday.

At least 45 buildings were burned, including one of the capital’s oldest cinemas, while dozens of stores and cafes were smashed and looted.

More than 120 people were hurt in the rioting.

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