Source AP ©

Greek students rally to demand better education funding

About 3,000 students and teachers gathered in downtown Athens, claiming better financing of schools, more resources for education and the annulment of education laws. Protesters closed hundreds of schools across the country.

School and university students and teachers took part in the rally, claiming schools are decaying physically and there is no workable textbook distribution system. Some of the protesters lit flares during the rally outside Athens University, which otherwise passed peacefully.

Another protest was held in the northern city of Thessaloniki.

Thursday's actions follow numerous demonstrations over the past year, but it is the first that police have been permitted to film.

On Wednesday a Supreme Court prosecutor ruled that police had the right to videotape protest marches and use the evidence in police investigations and at criminal trials seemingly overruling the powerful Data Protection Authority, which has long held that cameras in public spaces could only be used for monitoring traffic.

Meanwhile, more than 300 schools nationwide remain occupied by students demanding that the government make good on its pledge to commit more resources for education, including hiring more teachers and refurbishing facilities.

Earlier this year parliament passed legislation requiring students to complete their studies more quickly and giving universities more autonomy in handling their affairs, measures the protesters want abolished.

Government plans to amend the constitution to end the state's monopoly over higher education and allow private universities to operate had to be shelved in March, in the face of stiff public and political resistance.

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