Thousands marched through Athens’ streets on Tuesday (6 December) to commemorate the 14th anniversary of the police shooting to death a teen boy. This incident triggered the worst riots in Greece for decades.
Parliament was the final stop on the annual march commemorating the death of Alexandros Grigoropoulos, 15, which ended at the Exarchia area where the unarmed boy was killed by a policeman. This gathering is a regular draw for anti-establishment protestors, but it was mostly peaceful.
Hooded protesters launched petrol bombs at police officers after the march. They then used teargas and flashbombs to attack the crowds. After the annual protests, violence broke out in Thessaloniki.
Many hundreds of students from Greece marched peacefully through central Athens earlier in the day.
Demonstrators shouted “Your hands off our corps!” Protesters also protested the shooting by police of a 16-year-old Roma boy on Monday. He is currently being treated at a hospital In Thessaloniki for head injuries.
According to police, the boy filled his truck with fuel and drove off from a petrol station. One officer was arrested after he was pursued by police.
This incident has sparked protests from Roma groups in both cities as well as clashes between police officers and protesters.
More than 4,000 officers were deployed in central Athens on Tuesday. In full riot gear, some formed cordons in front of parliament and central Athens businesses. The city was watched by a police helicopter.
On 6 December 2008, just hours after Grigoropoulos had been shot, thousands marched through Athens torching cars, looting windows and smashing window stores. The police officer was sentenced two years later to life imprisonment, but was later freed by an Appeal court.
The 2008 riots were also fuelled anger about unemployment and economic hardship as a prelude for Greece’s decade-long, debt-laden debt crisis. They lasted weeks.
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