At least three people have been injured and one has been arrested after violence broke out between students and riot police in Portugal. The unrest flared at the prestigious Coimbra University which has raised student fees. Until now, the charges were determined by the government, but from this year, each university has set its own fees – a move which has sparked student protests nationwide. At Coimbra, for example, the maximum annual fee now exceeds 850 euros, which is more than the average monthly wage in Portugal.
Yesterday’s violent protests and their repression by riot police was unprecedented. Miguel Duarte, head of the university’s students union said: “This has never happened before, at least not since democracy.” Questioned about the clashes, Portugal’s Interior Minister Daniel Sanches said he had only heard about a few skirmishes, and said he was not aware teargas had been used by police. The dean of Coimbra has rejected students’ demands for him to resign.