Student groups continued mobilizations today in both Athens and Thessaloniki on Thursday by blocking the entrance to one university and occupying another, in reaction to a draft bill that will allow state recognition of non-state, non-profits higher education institutions in the country as affiliates of foreign schools. The contentious bill is expected to be passed by a majority of MPs, essentially those of ruling New Democracy (ND) party, in Greece’s Parliament on Friday.

Additionally, a protest has been announced for Friday at noon, in which students and professors opposing the landmark legislation are expected to participate.

In Thessaloniki, students have blocked the main entrance to Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and have restricted the entry to the public university.

They later departed and marched towards the center of Thessaloniki, according to reports at To Vima.

Meanwhile in Athens, student associations have occupied the rectorate of the University of Athens and reports say that police may intervene to remove them.

All mobilizations and protests are largely symbolic because the draft bill, drawn up and tabled by the relevant education ministry, will be put to a vote on Friday at the Parliament and is expected to be approved.

Allowing the recognition of non-state, non-profit affiliates of foreign universities in Greece moves along the lines of ND’s long-standing pledge to allow private higher education institutions in the country. A constitutional article (XVI) foresees only public universities in Greece, with the government citing a violation of EU Community law to “bypass” the constitutional obstacle.