Hun­dreds to de­scend on Thes­sa­loniki univer­sity

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Author­i­ties at Thes­sa­loniki’s Aris­to­tle Univer­sity were last night brac­ing for the ar­rival of hun­dreds of sup­port­ers of the so-called No Border Camp pro-refugee move­ment, which started in Frank­furt and is now re­lo­cat­ing to Greece’s sec­ond city.

Ac­cord­ing to sources, around 1,000 peo­ple were ex­pected to board fer­ries at the Ital­ian port of An­cona, in­clud­ing hun­dreds with bikes, vans and mo­bile homes, bound for Igoumenitsa be­fore mak­ing their way to Thes­sa­loniki.

Most are ex­pected to ar­rive at a makeshift camp­site that was be­gin­ning to take form ear­lier yes­ter­day on the univer­sity’s grounds. The ma­jor­ity are be­lieved to be Ital­ians, as well as Ger­man and Dutch na­tion­als.

The ad­min­is­tra­tion of the univer­sity ap­peared to be con­cerned about the im­pact of the unau­tho­rized event on univer­sity prop­erty. Uniden­ti­fied van­dals broke the main door of the univer­sity’s law fac­ulty and have set up makeshift kitchens and show­ers on the premises. They have also set up a band­stand on the cam­pus grounds where con­certs are ex­pected to be staged in the evenings. Hun­dreds of tents had also been set up on the grounds by late last night while the road between the law fac­ulty and the ob­ser­va­tory has been trans­formed into a large car park.

An of­fi­cial on a com­mit­tee set up by the univer­sity to man­age the sit­u­a­tion told Kathimerini that they be­lieved wide­spread van­dal­ism by vis­i­tors was un­likely but could not be ruled out. “We be­lieve they won’t re­sort to vi­o­lent acts be­cause the rea­son for the gath­er­ing does not sug­gest such be­hav­ior would be likely, but we can’t rule out the pos­si­bil­ity of ex­trem­ist el­e­ments who want to cause dam­age,” the of­fi­cial said.

It is con­sid­ered un­likely that the hand­ful of guards em­ployed on the univer­sity grounds would be able to man­age wide­spread un­rest at the camp. There are also con­cerns about the fate of valu­able equip­ment at univer­sity lab­o­ra­to­ries, com­put­ers and rare books in the univer­sity’s ar­chives.

Author­i­ties in Thes­sa­loniki, as well as the univer­sity’s ad­min­is­tra­tion, still re­mem­ber the ri­ots that broke out dur­ing anti-glob­al­iza­tion protests in the city in 2003. Thou­sands of for­eign ac­tivists had de­scended on Thes­sa­loniki then too and the protests re­sulted in wide­spread dam­age.

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