| EDUCATION minister José Ignacio Wert had to call off a conference yesterday evening when over 100 protesters surrounded the venue and prevented him from getting inside.
The Sevilla hotel was due to host the seminar, organised by Spanish national newspaper El Mundo, but when demonstrators blocked the entrance crying, 'Wert resignation', 'out, out' and 'quality public higher education', he had to abandon ship.
Wert waited 20 minutes to try to get in, but even when the conference manager addressed the crowd, they refused to be beaten.
Director of the newspaper for the Andalucía region, Francisco Rosell, called out: “If you are so certain and convinced of your arguments and reasons, listen to the minister: without freedom of speech, what sort of quality of higher education are we going to have?”
Rosell added: “We've listened to the general public's side of the story inside and out – now let's listen to that of the minister.”
But Wert was unable to get a word in.
The education minister called the protesters' actions 'fascist' – saying that in Franco's time, nobody was allowed to give conferences – and added: “This just shows how badly Spain does in fact need an education reform.”
“A situation like today's highlights just how necessary a major education overhaul is, because education consists of complete training – not just academically, but in the values of tolerance, respect, and reason rather than shouting and screaming,” Wert concluded.
He has already been quoted as saying that protests and demonstrations against his plans will not affect him in the slightest and he intends to go ahead however unpopular his moves are.