Riots erupt in Greece

Riots erupt in Greece


A policeman’s clothing catches fire after demonstrators threw petrol bombs in Athens on Sunday. AP

Clashes broke out as about 3,000 people, mostly students, anarchists and leftists, began a march to parliament. More protests were expected on Monday. An evening memorial service was planned in the Exarchia district, where 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos was shot dead.

Violence also broke out in Thessaloniki, Greece’s second-largest city, where demonstrators threw petrol bombs at police and smashed the front of a Starbucks cafe.

More than 6,000 police were deployed across greater Athens amid fears that the demonstrations under way in the capital and other Greek cities would turn increasingly violent. Concern was heightened by reports that far-left groups and anarchists from other European countries have travelled to Greece for the protests.

Grigoropoulos was shot by a policeman on the evening of December 6, 2008, in Exarchia, a central Athens neighbourhood of bars and cafes popular with anarchist groups. Within a few hours of his death, riots spread from the capital to several cities, taking the government by surprise. An embattled police force took a passive approach as rioters looted and burned shops in violence that lasted two weeks.

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