Creating new perspectives since 2009

Greece: students join global pro-Palestine campus protests

May 14, 2024 at 1:29 pm

University of Athens students stage a protest in support of Palestinians, calling for an end to Gaza war in Athens, Greece on May 13, 2024 [Costas Baltas – Anadolu Agency]

University students in Greece have set up an encampment in support of Palestine, joining similar protests that started on campuses in the US before spreading swiftly to Europe and the rest of the world, Anadolu has reported.

Hundreds of students gathered at the main building of the University of Athens following a call by left-wing student unions close to the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), the country’s fourth largest political party. The students carried Palestinian flags and banners expressing support for the Palestinian cause.

Speeches at the rally by student leaders, representatives of Palestinian student groups and KKE General Secretary Dimitris Koutsoumpas focused on Western complicity in Israel’s devastating military offensive against the people in Gaza. Israel has now killed nearly 35,200 Palestinians and wounded more than 78,200. Most of the casualties are children and women.

Millions more are displaced in Gaza, and face famine and acute shortages of medical aid and other essentials.

Israel is facing a genocide case at the International Court of Justice — which it denies — and has also laid waste to large swathes of the besieged enclave, devastating everything from housing to medical facilities, educational institutes and all sorts of other civilian infrastructure.

The speakers all called for an immediate ceasefire and for the international community to make a free Palestine a reality. The protesters also announced that they would also set up an encampment in the university’s main yard, right next to Panepistimiou Street, one of the Greek capital’s major thoroughfares.

“We have all come out to show that we are not going to be silent in the face of the genocide in Gaza being perpetrated by Israel,” Andonis Lazos, a student at the Athens School of Fine Arts, told Anadolu. “The students of Greece, like all the other students in the world, the US and the countries of Europe, are protesting because they cannot remain silent about this ongoing crime, this genocide by the state of Israel with the support of NATO, the EU and other countries of Europe.” Seeing the pictures of dead children in the rubble, mothers crying, it’s truly horrific, he added. “No human with feelings can stay silent.”

Katerina Andoiou, who was at the protest with her children, both university students, said that their aim is to extend solidarity to Palestinians and all other peace-loving people of the world. Another student, who wished to remain anonymous, said that the protests are not about taking sides between Hamas or Israel. “I’m here because of what is happening in Gaza, Palestine,” he explained. “A genocide is a genocide.”

READ: Pro-Palestinian encampment launched at Queen Mary University of London