Scuffles broke out between protesting students and police on Monday, at a demonstration outside the education ministry against a draft bill for reforming higher education in Greece.
Riot police stationed outside the entrance of the ministry engaged with students that passed over the barrier at the entrance and attempted to break through their line in order to enter the ministry. In this effort, the students tried to use a hose attached to a fire hydrant in the ministry forecourt to keep the riot police at bay and the latter responded by using tear gas. The police finally prevailed and managed to push the students away from the ministry's entrance.
Shortly before, university rectors had finished a three-hour meeting with Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou, during which they had a in-depth discussion on the proposed reforms. The rectors insist that the role of a new university council envisaged by the draft bill should not be administrative but restricted only to oversight. They also disagree with a provision that rectors should be elected by members of the council only, suggesting instead that all faculty members have a vote in the election of the university's rector.
The minister, on her part, stressed that the draft bill's aim was to make radical changes throughout the tertiary education system and that this was demanded by society, while describing her talk with the rectors as having "special significance".
"After a discussion article-by-article on many important points, I expect after my own consultations their written proposals on all the articles on which we have a different approach," she added.