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Greek Students Attacked for Clearing Trash

A professor and group of students at Thessaloniki’s Aristotle University trying to pick up rubbish accumulating during a two-month work stoppage by municipal workers were jeered and then attacked by protesters who accused them of trying to interfere with their strike.
The newspaper Kathimerini reported that the victims were assaulted by a group of about 30 people believed to be far-left protesters as the professor and students were picking up trash outside the university’s theological faculty building.
Witnesses said the protesters also threw trash back onto the university grounds and that one of them hit a female student in the leg with a shovel, injuring her. Last week, the university’s rector Yiannis Mylopoulos denied claims that he had asked contract workers to strike in order to convince the Education Ministry to give the institution more funding. Mylopoulos said this was not true and blamed unionists for the action, which has led to the university being taken over by protesters.
Mylopoulos was responding to claims made by Panayiotis Tsaramboulidis, the head of the Thessaloniki Labor Center, a local workers’ union. Tsaramboulidis claimed that the rector had asked the workers to go on strike, leading to trash collection and other services being halted over the last two months. Some 316 of the 350 trash collectors have reportedly been fired.
Labor union activists are leading strikes and occupations of municipal buildings around the country to protest more austerity measures  and the impending layoff and eventual firing of as many as 27,000 workers demanded by international lenders in return for bailouts.

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