HUNDREDS of students, professors and other staff at Madrid’s Complutense University came out to protest on Tuesday morning against the designation of the regional premier, Isabel Diaz Ayuso, as a distinguished alumni.
Despite the massive police presence at the centre of learning, with as many as 11 riot vans present, the protestors were able to stage their demonstration, at which they were heard to be shouting ‘Fascists out of the university’, and ‘Long live the healthcare workers’ fight’.
Ayuso, 44 and of the conservative Popular Party (PP), is accused by her critics of neglecting the region’s public services, in particular the healthcare system, which has seen a series of strikes in recent months.
She has also promoted a low tax regime in Madrid since coming to power in August 2019.
According to news agency Europa Press, the police were trying to stop the protestors from reaching the assembly point and would only let past students who were carrying their student cards accrediting that they belonged to the Information Science faculty, where the award was due to be given out.
However, this caused problems for Political Science students who also have classes in the building and were not allowed to pass.
There were also cries of support for the politician, including ‘Freedom’ and ‘Communists out of the university’.
The decision by the dean of the Complutense to honour Ayuso prompted a petition in opposition that has attracted more than 1,200 signatures.
Some professors from the faculty of Information Sciences also wrote a letter to the dean calling on him to revoke his decision.
‘It is an unacceptable position for the university to take at a time of pre-election campaigning,’ the missive read, in reference to the upcoming regional elections this spring.
The university also honoured a journalist from the state broadcaster TVE, as well as the author Arturo Pérez Reverte.
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