Riots in Greece enter fourth night

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The riots in Greece that started on December 6 have entered their fourth night. These are the worst riots the Hellenic Republic has witnessed in decades.

A building in Athens after it was burned by rioters.
Image: Georgios Pazios.

The riots were triggered when Alexandros Grigoropoulos, a 15-year-old student, was shot and killed by police. The police claim that Grigoropoulos was throwing a bomb at them when they fired.

Cities throughout Greece have been hit by the unrest, not just Athens. Hundreds of shops and businesses have been destroyed.

"No one has the right to use this tragic incident as an excuse for acts of violence," said Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis, New Democracy party.

"The government cannot handle this crisis and has lost the trust of the Greek people," George Papandreou of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement said. "The best thing it can do is resign and let the people find a solution ... We will protect the public."

The rioters are organizing on the campus of National Technical University of Athens (Athens Polytechnic). A constitutional clause enacted after the overthrow of the Greek military junta of 1967–1974 prevents security forces from entering the campus.

One of the banks that were set ablaze.
Image: arpakola.

The Guardian is reporting that the University is being used by young men and women to stock up on firebombs and break up marble slabs to throw at police. From behind their makeshift barriers, they vowed the unrest would become "an uprising the likes of which Greece has never seen."

"We are experiencing moments of a great social revolution," leftist activist Panagiotis Sotiris told Reuters. Sotiris is among those occupying a university building. "The protests will last as long as necessary," he added.

"A switch has been flicked and the pressure cooker's boiled over," said David Lea, an analyst at Control Risks Group in London, to Bloomberg News. "There are certain places where anarchists are more likely to inspire violence, and that's Greece."

Two police officers have been charged in the shooting death of Grigoropoulos, who was buried on Tuesday.


Sources

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