Mo's blog

Colombo, August 29: Education Rally attacked by Police while Teachers Strike

Colombo (Sri Lanka), August 29th:
Education Rally attacked by Police
while Teachers Strike

The Federation of University Teachers’ Association (FUTA) organized a strike that already started on July 4. It brought the higher education system on the island to a standstill. In a nutshell the teachers fight for:

  • 6% of GDP to be allocated to public education; 
  • increasing wages;
  • more academic freedom;
  • freely accessible education.

In reaction the government decided to close 15 campuses and six other institutions indefinitely in mid August. A rally organized by University lecturers demanding the government to protect free education was held at Hyde Park in Colombo (Sri Lanka) on August 23. Trade unions representing teachers and principals, parents’ associations, organizations of intellectuals and members of several trade unions of the water, electricity, railway, and health sectors also participated in the protest march which disrupted traffic in the capital. [groundviews.org]

In reaction to this situation around 3,500 university students from across the island took streets of Colombo on August 29. They want to pressure the government to give in to the demands of the striking teachers and re-open the universities again. The protesters were met with tear-gas as well as water cannons (mixed with ammonia) and were attacked by riot police.
The students were shouting slogans and demand the state to protect free education. In reaction to the police violence protesters hurled stones back at them. Fortunately nobody was seriously injured during the clash, although many students suffered burning sensations in their eyes. No arrests were recorded.

Regardless of pouring rain, the students rallied on a main road and were addressed by a number of undergraduates who spoke about the closure of universities and how it affected them. Also addressing the rally were activists involved with the Inter University Students’ Federation (IUSF), Inter University Bhikkhu Federation (IUBF) and Inter Medical Faculty Students' Action Committee.

source: reports by activists on the ground.
websites: iusfsl.org (fb page) + fb group of FUTA

Melbourne, August 22: Occupation to resist cuts at La Trobe University

Melbourne (Australia), August 22nd:
Parts of La Trobe University Occupied
in Struggle against Cuts

URGENT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 7PM AUGUST 22ND -
LA TROBE STUDENTS OCCUPY BUNDOORA CAMPUS TO STOP THE CUTS

Students from the "Stop the HUSS Cuts Collective” have voted to occupy the La Trobe University campus in Bundoora indefinitely, starting tonight.

At a meeting on campus this afternoon, students voted to occupy the campus with a number of students volunteering to stay overnight and indefinitely until Open Day. The collective also demanded the rejection of the proposed cuts, for the university to enter into negotiations with the NTEU in good faith, a shift in focus on saving money to saving jobs and for a redistribution of executive pay to save other jobs at the university.

Dhaka University, July 19th: Strike for Democratic Structures

Dhaka University, July 19th:
Students Strike for Democratic Structures


Shikkharthi Adhikar Mancha, a student platform at Dhaka University (DU), enforced a daylong strike on campus in their struggle for student union elections, the Dhaka University Central Student Union (DUCSU).
DU, with 35,000 students, is one of the biggest public universities in Bangladesh.

On July 12, the protesting students' platform gave the university administration a 72-hour-deadline to announce a date for the DUCSU polls. Since there was no reaction the students proceeded with the strike.
Among others the entrances of the Arts Faculty and Business Faculty buildings, Curzon Hall, Annex building, and the Institute of Business Administration building were locked by students in the early morning. At around noon the strikers held a protest rally in front of the arts building.

Protests at the Free University of Berlin

June 2012:
Protests at the so-called
Free University of Berlin

Last Wednesday (June 6) the Presidential Boad (Präsidium) of the Free University (FU) of Berlin temporarily looked like a besieged fortress: Several hundred students rushed to the entrance to get inside the building. Reason for the siege is a new framework of examination regulations, which the Presidential Board drafted without the inclusion of student committees. This framework includes that examinations can only be repeated twice and that students can be forced to attend compulsory consultation sessions from the third semester onwards. Michael Beron of the student representative body (AStA) sees in this framework an attempt to generate "an enormous pressure to perform and conform".

Faculties occupied at Universidad de la Laguna (Spain)

May 2012:
Students squat Faculties at the Universidad de la Laguna in the Struggle against Cuts

The following report was sent in by an activist involved in the ongoing occupation on May 23rd:

My name is Florencia, I am one of the students who are occupying the Fine Arts building at the Universidad de La Laguna in Tenerife. Let me explain why we are here.
On April 20th, the Spanish government published a Royal Decree in order to reduce the budget in education by 3,000 million euros, for which the following measures will be taken:

  • Controlling the growth of the Universities and the creation of new centers. (We are specially affected by this, since our building is seriously damaged, old, and inappropriate, and they will stop building the new one, that is halfway built by now.)
  • Controlling the hiring of teachers (200 professors will be fired in our university alone)
  • Roughening the requirements for accessing scholarships. This will make it nearly impossible for students to balance studying and working. Soon only the wealthy will be able to access higher education. 
  • Controlling thoroughly the teacher’s research. 
  • If Universities overdue the budget they will be fined.
  • University fees will rise significantly. Enrollment for an undergraduate degree currently costs around 700/800 euros, but next year it will rise up to 1,900.
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