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Students in Athens protest against the establishment of private universities

Students in Athens protest against the establishment of private universities

More than 15,000 students gathered in central Athens on Thursday to oppose the Greek government's plans to allow the establishment of private universities in the country starting next year.

Demonstrators chanted "hands off education" as they gathered outside the main building of the University of Athens. A giant protest banner read "Their Profits or Our Education".

The government wants to allow overseas universities to set up branches in Greece. universities would have fees but would operate under a not-for-profit structure.

Students argue that this would undermine public universities, many of which are already struggling with funding, and threaten free higher education for students in the future.

Student protest groups have staged numerous demonstrations in cities across Greece and occupied dozens of university faculty buildings, forcing classes and exams to be held online.

Parliament is expected to vote on the education bill at the end of the month.