(Photograph) - Police used tear gas to separate rival student factions who occupied faculties of Rome's La Sapienza University in two weeks of pre-Christmas clashes between left-wing and right-wing groups. The protests, by students opposed to reforms that would limit access to some degree courses, are likely to be renewed.
Tension first rose when a small group of right-wing students staged a symbolic occupation of the law faculty. In response, a larger left-wing group occupied the offices of the presidency of the faculty of Lettere, which embraces the humanities. They forced their way in, held faculty president Emanuele Paratore and several employees captive for several hours, and smashed furniture. Violent clashes between students were broken up by police. A rudimentary bomb was set off, tear gas was used and three policemen were treated for light injuries. The following week, left-wing students protested against the planned reforms and demanded the resignation of rector Giorgio Tecce for having called police into the campus.