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Slovakia: Student Protests Spreading

Bratislava, 18 March 1997 (RFE/RL) - About 2,000 students from the West Slovak city of Trnava joined a growing student revolt in Slovakia today by protesting outside the government office in Bratislava.

The students oppose a government plan to build a new university in Trnava. They say the proposal threatens the existence of Trnava University, which is currently suffering from a shortage of money. Many lecturers at Trnava University are reported to come from the ranks of opponents to Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar.

The students also voiced their support for striking actors in Slovakia. Students, church leaders and some trade unions have rallied behind the actors since last week's incident in which police dragged protesting artists and politicians from the Ministry of Culture.

Eight trade unions in the country, representing 250,000 workers, have also threatened to go on strike. The head of Slovakia's Confederation of Trade Unions, Ivan Saktor, said the strike will occur if Meciar's government does not show more willingness to talk with its opponents soon.