Clashes broke out yesterday between police and demonstrators across Greece as marchers commemorated the first anniversary of the fatal police shooting of 15-year-old Alexis Grigoropoulos.
Riot police fired tear gas at youths hurling stones and petrol bombs in central Athens.
In the northern port city of Thessaloniki, violence erupted during a march when police clashed with youths who had thrown petrol bombs and smashed several store windows.
Squadrons of armed riot police had, on Saturday evening, raided the ‘anti-state power’ youth premises in Keratsini, a working class district of Piraeus, on the pretext that ‘explosives’ were being fabricated there.
Police stated that they found empty beer bottles and hammers and arrested over 20 people.
Scores of protesting youth and local people gathered outside the premises shouting anti-police and anti-government slogans and threw stones and fruit at the police who attacked the crowd with smoke-bombs and tear-gas canisters as well as with their long clubs. Further arrests were made.
In protest, local youth staged an occupation of the Keratsini town hall building. But the police launched another raid and evicted them again making dozens of arrests.
Keratsini’s Mayor supported the police action but Dimitris Karakostas, a Councillor, said that ‘we have a new junta and the hordes of Chrysochoidis here in Keratsini.’
The Minister for the Protection of the Citizen, Michalis Chrysochoidis stated in a radio interview that ‘we have a mandate to combat lawlessness and to protect citizens and we won’t stop.’
A few hours later police made 101 arrests in central Athens following clashes with youth.
Later, the youths were freed, except twelve who were charged with a number of offences.
The clashes took place as the local residents of the Exarchia district in Athens had organised a commemoration meeting for Alexis Grigoropoulos who was killed by a special police guard exactly a year ago in Exarchia.
In Salonica, in northern Greece, police launched a 4am raid inside the grounds of the Salonica University claiming that they were being attacked by youths there with petrol-bombs. Police said that they arrested eight persons.
The fighting determination of school students was clear on Friday, when in many Greek cities they staged spontaneous demonstrations demanding ‘revenge’.