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Police shooting anniversary protests erupt into violence

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2009-12-08

Fresh fighting erupted Monday in central Athens during the second day of protests marking the one year anniversary of the fatal shooting of a teenager by police. Youths threw stones at a police station and security cordon, resulting in nine arrests.

AFP - Fresh clashes broke out Monday between police and several hundred youths staging a second day of protests to mark a teenager's fatal shooting by police a year ago, an AFP reporter said.

  
Police fired tear gas and arrested nine people after a group of youths hurled stones at the security cordon deployed to prevent further trouble after demonstrations around the country turned violent at the weekend.
  
The demonstrations in Athens and other cities were called by left-wing parties, student organisations and trade unions in the memory of 15-year-old Alexis Grigoropoulos who was shot by a policeman last year.
  
The rector of Athens University, Christos Kittas, was among those injured on Sunday as dozens of hooded youths broke into the university's offices on the sidelines of a large demonstration in the city centre.
  
Fighting between riot police and groups of protesters left the streets around central Syntagma Square littered with chunks of broken masonry and burning piles of garbage, left uncleared due to a strike by refuse collectors.
  
The police department said 26 officers and four protesters were hurt in the clashes but the number of injured is likely to be higher.
  
Some protesters who did not take part in the clashes accused the police of excessive violence.
  
Kittas, who was hospitalised for head injuries and an irregular heartbeat, will remain in intensive care as a precaution on Monday but his health has improved, the director of Ippokratio Hospital Dimitris Varvitsiotis told state television NET.
  
Police detained hundreds of protesters for questioning and eventually arrested 26 people in Athens and another 20 after similar protests in the cities of Thessaloniki, Patras, Rhodes and Heraklion, a police source said.
  
Some of those arrested were minors. Prosecutors are expected to press charges against dozens of demonstrators later today.
  
Over two dozen stores and banks in the capital, Thessaloniki and other cities had their windows smashed and several cars were damaged, but the toll was limited compared to last year's riots.
  
Another 76 people including five Italians were arrested on Saturday. Some of the suspects were caught inside an anarchist club which police said was used to manufacture explosives. Two of them are the children of a former socialist minister.
  
Students have occupied scores of university faculties and schools to mark the teenager's killing, according to staff unions.
  
Grigoropoulos was shot dead on December 6, 2008 by a police officer who claimed he fired into the air whilst under attack from youths. His parents have appealed for demonstrations to remain peaceful, media reports said.
  
A family memorial service for the teenager was held early Sunday in the cemetery of Palio Faliro. The policeman accused of his death is due to go on trial on January 20 charged with homicide.
  
The trial was originally scheduled to be held this month but judicial authorities postponed it and relocated the proceedings to a town northwest of Athens.

Date created : 2009-12-07

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