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Violence marks decade since Greek teen death

December 6, 2018

Demonstrators have clashed with police in gatherings to mark the 10th anniversary of the fatal police shooting of teenager Alexis Grigoropoulos. His killing sparked the worst unrest that Greece had seen in decades.

Riot police standing between fires in Athens
Image: Reuters/C. Baltas

Protesters fought riot police in Athens on Thursday as there were gatherings to remember the death of Alexis Grigoropoulos ten years ago.

Hooded youths smashed bus shelters and threw rocks and Molotov cocktails soon after a march began in the Greek capital. Police responded with tear gas. 

There were similar incidents in the northern city of Thessaloniki and the rallies continued into the night.

Some 2,500 police and a helicopter were deployed. At least 28 people were detained.

The teenager's killing on December 6, 2008 sparked major riots that spread from Athens across the country, lasting for weeks.

The 15-year-old died after he was shot by a policeman. Grigoropoulos had been on a night out with friends in Athens' Exarcheia district at the time.

Students turned out to mark 10 years since police shot 15-year-old student Alexandros Grigoropoulos in Athens
Students turned out to mark 10 years since police shot 15-year-old student Alexandros Grigoropoulos in AthensImage: Reuters/C. Baltas

The policeman, who claimed he had fired into the air when youths attacked him, was sentenced to life in prison. A second policeman present at the shooting was sentenced to 10 years, but was granted a conditional release several years ago.

Read more: Greeks recall 1973 student defiance of junta

There was gathering on Thursday night and people laid flowers and lit candles at the place where Grigoropoulos died.

An undated family collect handout photo of 15 year-old Andreas Alexis Grigoropoulos
Protests over Grigoropoulos' death became a rallying point for wider dissatisfactionImage: picture-alliance/dpa/epa/Family Collect

Since 2009, annual marches marking the anniversary have often turned violent. Although the unrest was originally triggered by Grigoropoulos' death, its continuation has been linked with frustration among young people over austerity and high youth unemployment in Greece since then.

rc/amp (dpa, AP)

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