Youths Wreck Banks and Businesses in Athens Attacks | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 13.12.2008
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Youths Wreck Banks and Businesses in Athens Attacks

Hooded youths firebombed banks and businesses in pre-dawn attacks across Athens Saturday, Dec. 13, in the eighth day of civil unrest triggered by the police shooting of a 15-year-old boy.

Police extinguish flames covering a riot policeman after a petrol bomb was thrown by protesters during clashes in central Athens

The violent protests have spread across the country

Angry youths hurled firebombs at four banks in the southern Athens suburb of Paleo Faliro as well as a supermarket, the offices of newly privatized telephone company OTE and the local party offices of the ruling conservatives.

One more bank was reportedly torched in central Athens. The riots, which have spread to all corners of the country, have been the worst in decades, destroying hundreds of shops, banks, buildings and cars in more than eight cities across Greece, including Athens and the port cities of Thessaloniki and Patras.

Gangs of hooded youths and self-styled anarchists have been smashing windows, looting shops and setting up flaming barricades in streets across the country.

Protests go beyond boy's death

The violence was triggered by the police shooting of a 15-year-old boy on Dec. 6, but students have also been protesting growing corruption and economic and education reforms.

On Friday, students clashed with police in Athens. More school students were expected to mobilize in central Athens for further rallies on Saturday and Monday. Students occupied more than 400 school buildings across the country in protest.

Although police have reacted when attacked by firebombs, they have held back when youths turned their rage against buildings and cars.

A gang of hooded youths on Friday even pushed their way into and caused severe damage to the offices of Alexis Cougias, the defense lawyer of the policeman accused of shooting the 15-year-old. No one was reported injured.

Many countries have issued warnings not to travel to Greece while the popular sites of Plaka and Monastiraki, located in the shadows of the Acropolis, were eerily empty of tourists. The Acropolis itself was closed due to striking workers.

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