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Student sit-ins continue through Christmas

DDP/The Local · 25 Dec 2009, 12:59

Published: 25 Dec 2009 12:59 GMT+01:00

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Around 15 students stayed in lecture hall 1A of the Free University of Berlin (FU) on Christmas Day, continuing their protest against the worsening of study conditions and rising fees at German universities.

Another 30 students also continued their sit-in protest in Berlin's Humboldt University, while around 20 stayed in the Audimax auditorium of Potsdam University. The FU students set up a Christmas tree on Christmas Eve, and cooked themselves meat, dumplings and red cabbage on portable stoves. Some were visited by relatives.

In Potsdam, another spokesperson said, the students ate traditional Chistmas Eve potato salad, and read each other stories during the night.

Many of the occupiers had gone home for the Christmas holidays, the spokesman for the protestors said, but were expected back in the coming days.

Similar sit-ins in other German towns have been forcibly removed in recent weeks, and Berlin students have called a meeting for December 30 to consider a response to what they consider unacceptable action.

Having already agreed a national and European-wide pact of solidarity, the students want to "agree concrete measures to answer the escalation strategy of the university directors," the spokesman said.

Story continues below…

The Audimax in Potsdam has been occupied since the beginning of November. University President Sabine Kunst had called on the students to move into the foyer over the Christmas holidays, in order to give employees a day off, but students refused. University Chancellor Barbara Obst-Hantel said that for security reasons employees would have to work over Christmas if the protest continued in the auditorium through the holiday. She labelled the behaviour of the protestors "anti-social and lacking solidarity".

The student spokeswoman denied Obst-Hantel's accusations, saying she could see no difference for staff if they moved into other rooms. The students underlined that they were open to negotiations and ready to hear further offers from university authorities.

DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

16:19 December 25, 2009 by cleavage
I admire their point but it's useless.

If democrazy changed anything, it'd be outlawed
15:14 December 28, 2009 by DoubleDTown
Call me crazy, but if they want an education there is no reason they should not be expected to pay for it. True, society benefits from having educated citizens, but that's no reason to hand it to the students for free. I borrowed my way through college and graduate school on federal and state sponsored plans and it didn't kill me to pay it back even if it took a decade. I am holier than they.
14:04 December 29, 2009 by cleavage
The problem is, if you go to Universities in say, Vancouver or Sydney. You will have a hard time finding ANY Canadians or Australians as 99% of the spots are filled with students from other countries who will pay more than the natives.

THAT is the problem. It used to be free in Australia to go to Uni but unfortunately that is a thing of the past.
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