Thousands of Greek students defy weeklong ban on protests

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Thousands of students and teachers held peaceful demonstrations in Greece’s two biggest cities Thursday against proposed education reforms, defying a weeklong ban on protests imposed as part of measures to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

About 4,000 people, wearing masks against the virus, marched through the streets of Athens, while another roughly 1,500 demonstrated in the northern city of Thessaloniki. Protesters oppose reforms that include plans to set up a state security division at university campuses.

On Tuesday, the government announced a ban on protests attended by more than 100 people until Feb. 1, as part of measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Violations are punishable by fines of up to 3,000 euros ($3,650) for individuals organizing rallies or demonstrations, and 5,000 euros (about $6,000) for groups or organizations.

University students use loudspeakers to shout slogans outside the Greek parliament during a rally against education reforms in Athens, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021.(AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

It wasn’t immediately clear if any fines would be imposed on the organizers of Thursday’s protests. The protests ended peacefully in the early afternoon.

Left-wing parties criticized the demonstration ban, with the main opposition Syriza party describing it as “arbitrary and undemocratic.”

Sourced By: AP News

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