More than 25,000 students marched in Barcelona Thursday against rising tuition fees, according to the organisers.
Convened by the Platform for the Defence of the Unitary State University (Pudup), the march against higher fees imposed by the central government for next year’s courses started at 12.50 hours in University Square and aimed to ended at the Ciutadella campus of the University of Pompeu Fabra (UPF).
This was closed at midday for fear of incidents in the area where the meeting of the European Central Bank (ECB) was being held.
The march wad part of a day of student strikes in the Catalan universities against cuts by the right wing Popular Party government and the right-wing regional government, or Generalitat.
The students made a last minute change to the route, and finished up at the Arc de Triomf.
However, after reading the manifesto of the protest, a group of about 400 seperated themselves from from the main march and continued to the area of Ciutadella Campus, although up to 14.30 hours there were no recorded incidents.
‘Against the fee increases and layoffs’ and ‘no more repression and a quality public university’ were the main slogans on the banners waved by angry students.
The student’s manifesto slammed rising tuition rates from next year, cuts in grants, layoffs and youth unemployment that exceeds 40%.
Pudup spokeswoman Gisela Pudup Camarero criticized the regional government’s reforms for seeking to make public universities places of learning for the ‘elite’ .
Education and health services are bearing the brunt of spending cuts in Spain to meet made deficit reduction targets set by the EU.
8,000 security police were surrounding the ECB meeting being held at Hotel Arts.
The Schengen Protocol allowing free movement across borders was temporarily suspended by the regional government for fear that foriegn protestors would join locals in demonstrations against Europe’s banking elite.