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Anti-racism protests planned for riot-torn Athens

Latest update : 2008-12-20

Anti-racism campaigners plan an afternoon march in Athens to protest the EU's stricter asylum policies as authorities remain on alert following two weeks of sporadic clashes sparked by the Dec. 6 police killing of a teenager.

AFP - Anti-racism campaigners on Saturday were to march in Athens against the EU's hardening asylum policies with authorities already on alert over protests sparked by the police killing of a teenager.
   
Backed by teachers and unions, the campaigners, to be joined by immigrant groups, are expected to gather in central Athens at 1300 GMT.
   
The march comes as hundreds of schools and several universities remain under occupation by protesters demanding justice for 15-year-old Alexis Grigoropoulos.
   
The anti-racism demonstration is directed against the European Pact on Immigration and Asylum, a document adopted by European leaders on October 16 that focuses on allowing skilled workers to enter the EU.
   
It also seeks to make border controls more effective while overhauling asylum policy with refugees increasingly obliged to apply for asylum status from outside the bloc.
   
The march follows daily protests in Athens and the second city of Thessaloniki over Grigoropoulos' death on December 6 which have regularly degenerated into violence.
   
Tension was also caused when another teenager, the son of a union leader, was wounded in a mysterious shooting incident on Wednesday night.
   
In the latest protest on Friday, masked youths smashed up the French cultural institute after about 1,000 students and communist activists marched in the western district of Peristeri to condemn the second shooting.
   
The conservative administration of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis is under fire over the unrest, and unions are seeking to put additional pressure on the government over a parliament vote on the budget on Sunday.
 

Date created : 2008-12-20

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