Protest rallies are scheduled on Thursday across Greece, with unions and leftist students’ groups expressing opposition to a draft law that will allow the operation of recognized non-state, non-profit higher education institutions in the country.

A central protest was held at noon in central Athens in front of Parliament. The rallies are expected to be attended by protesting college students, educators and administrators.

The Federation of Secondary Education Employees (OLME) and the Greek Federation of Teachers (DOE) had declared a three-hour work stoppage on the same day, ostensibly to allow the participation of pupils and educators in the protest. Participation in such work stoppages is usually minimal.

Similar mobilizations are planned in major cities across the country, with the emphasis on opposing the draft bill, while demanding only free public and free education in the country and an increase in state funding for public education.

Greece is among the few, if not the only Western nation where non-state, non-profit universities and colleges operating on its territory are not recognized as higher education institutions.