Violence rises in Greece over teenager's death anniversary

Alexandros Grigoropoulos commemorated in shade of tear gas and petrol bombs in his seventh death anniversary

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A petrol bomb explodes next to a riot police officer during clashes with hooded youth following an anniversary rally marking the 2008 police shooting of 15-year-old student, Alexandros Grigoropoulos, in Athens, Greece, December 6, 2015

Clashes erupted between police and protesters on the seventh anniversary of the death of 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos who was shot and killed by a police officer in 2008 in the Athens neighbourhood of Exarchia during a riot following Greece's economic crisis.

The protests started on Sunday with a peaceful march through Athens then turned into violence as thousands of protesters threw bricks, broken marble and petrol bombs.

As a response to the growing violence, police used teargas and flash grenades to overcome the chaos.  

On December 6, 2008, Grigoropoulos and his friend, Nikos Romanos sat in a corner at Exarchia and began to swear at two policemen who were also swearing in response, while they were patrolling the street.    

Shortly after the quarrel, the two policemen, Epaminondas Korkoneas and Vasilis Saraliotis got out of the car and walked up to the pair. Korkoneas, 38, directed his gun at Grigoropoulos and shot him.

Following the incident, Korkoneas and Saraliotis returned to their office without reporting the shooting. The work mates just reported that anarchists assaulted them as they were patrolling.   

Seven years later, the anger and heartache attached to this incident has still not been forgotten. Smoke rose over the streets of Exarchia on Sunday, hundreds set trash containers on fire, uprooted benches and smashed pavements.  

Security was tight during the demonstration as 6000 police officers were deployed and also helicopters were used to prevent possible rampancy. More than 18 people have been arrested in the protests according to the police.  

TRTWorld and agencies