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2008 Greek Riots

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Please consider that the riots in Greece are a current event and this article may be not up-to-date

The 2008 Greek riots started on 6 December 2008, when 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos (Greek:Αλέξανδρος Γρηγορόπουλος) died from a gunshot wound inflicted by Greek Police special guard Epaminondas Korkoneas (Greek:Επαμεινώνδας Κορκονέας), following a small altercation between police and a group of youths in the Exarcheia district of Athens.[1] An amateur video showed no clash between the youths and the police officers.[2] According to eye-witnesses, the special guard shot the 15-year-old directly on the left side of his chest. The guard asserts, however, that the boy was killed by a ricochet. The forensic autopsy was inconclusive, and the results of the ballistics are still expected.[3] According to the police, Grigoropoulos was shot as he attempted to throw a Molotov cocktail at the policemen.[4] The confrontation resulted in widespread rioting and demonstrations across the city, with hundreds of youths engaging riot police with Molotov cocktails and damaging property. Demonstrations and rioting later spread to several other cities, including Thessaloniki, Greece's second-largest city. Outside Greece, demonstrations, riots, and clashes, also took place in Cyprus, in the capital Nicosia and the western city of Paphos on December 8.[5] Newspaper Kathimerini called the rioting "the worst Greece has seen since the restoration of democracy in 1974".[6]

Contents

[edit] Background

Alexandros Grigoropoulos

According to bystanders, interviewed by a journalist, the killing was carried out without provocation. [7][8] An amateur video showed no clash between the youths and the police officers.[9] The police officials stated that the teenager was killed while trying to throw a bomb at a police vehicle which was under siege by approximately 30 anarchists.[4] The rioting spread to other Greek cities such as Thessaloniki, Ioannina, Komotini, Kastoria, Patras,[10] Tripoli, Volos, Trikala, Mytilene, Agrinio, Kavala, Corfu, Piraeus, Chania, Heraklion, Rhodes, Karditsa, Lamia, [[Stylida, Drama, Xanthi,[11] Lagkadas,[12] Kozani, Alexandroupoli, Larisa, Corinth, subsiding for a few hours, and then resuming after midnight in Athens. The Saturday riots left 24 police officers injured, one seriously, and 31 shops, nine banks, and 25 cars damaged or burned.[13]

[edit] Rioting

The Tzavella street where Alexandros was shot.

After a lull in the rioting in the morning of December 7, rioters left the National Technical University of Athens to march to the police headquarters on Alexandras Avenue. The march quickly turned violent, with demonstrators throwing Molotov cocktails at riot police, and the police responding with tear gas in an effort to disperse them. Several banks and shops were attacked, while a supermarket and at least one car dealership were set alight, according to police and witnesses. Clashes also broke out near the Hellenic Parliament. Meanwhile, rioting continued in the cities of Thessaloniki, Ioannina, Komotini, Patras, Volos, Mytilene, Agrinio, Kavala, Corfu, Chania, and Heraklion; rioters in Thessaloniki had previously attempted to storm a police precinct.[14] Protesters then took refuge on the grounds of a university, due to the police being barred from entering the premises.[4]

In Thessaloniki, a march of more than 1,000 people on two police stations also turned violent when protesters threw petrol bombs at police and attacked nearby shops and banks. Vehicles belonging to Greek television stations were also damaged. An apartment building had to be evacuated as fires consumed the first floor.[4]

[edit] Aftermath

On December 8, police assessed damage as daily schedules resumed and rioting subsided.[15] All over Greece, several thousands of high-school students marched against local police stations, throwing eggs, colour bombs, and bottles of water. Protesters still occupied university campuses around the nation, while organizations such as the Communist Party of Greece announced plans for protests later that day.[16] The massive demonstrations of that evening were confronted by a lot of tear gas canisters. Some 11 public buildings around the central plaza of Athens, Syntagma Square, were set on fire. The two counsels for the defence of the two police officers resigned and declined to defend them in court.[17] Students around Greece in protest have proceeded to occupy their school buildings. Scores of schools have been occupied by their students in Serres, Imathia, Chalkidiki, Pieria, Thessaloniki.[18] Under occupation remain the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki as well as the Athens University of Economics and Business.[12] By 7 December, 38 vehicles were damaged, 13 police officers have been injured, while 7 rioters were arrested, and another 15 were arrested.[19] On 8 December, the rioters set fire on the Kostis Palamas building, situated at the corner of Akadimias and Sina street, resulting in the total destruction of the Athens Law School's Library of European Law. After the fire, the rector of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Christos Kittas, resigned.[20] In Thessaloniki 63 people that do not have Greek nationality were arrested for theft and illegal entry in the country.[21] By Tuesday morning, 12 police officers were injured, another 87 rioters were arrested, and 176 were also arrested.[22] In Thessaloniki, 16 rioters were arrested for theft, 3 of which are under 18 years old.[23]

Alexis Kougias, the attorney for the defence of the two officers has stated that the two officers will only appear before the interrogator after the preliminary examination will have been completed and after they will be informed of the results of the scientific, forensic, toxicological and ballistic examinations.[24]

After four days of rioting, the citizens have started acting against the rioters, while some of the latter have fired on police officers. Citizens have attacked people that were found looting and have been seen throwing stones and attacking rioters to protect their belongings.[25]

[edit] Reactions

[edit] Domestic response

The Greek government condemned the shooting, charging 37-year-old officer Epaminondas Korkoneas, subsequently suspended and arrested, with homicide by intent.[26] His partner, 31-year-old Vassilis Saraliotis, was suspended and charged with complicity to homicide.[16][27][28]


Prime Minister of Greece Kostas Karamanlis wrote a letter to the student's family, stating that "In these difficult moments please accept my condolences for the unfair loss of your son. Like all Greeks I am deeply saddened. I know that nothing can relieve your pain." He continued on to write that "the state will see to it that such a tragedy does not happen again." On a nationally broadcast statement, he also vowed to end the "dangerous" extremist-inspired riots that have hit the country: "The unacceptable and dangerous events cannot and will not be tolerated, the extremist elements who exploited the tragedy...by showing that their only goal was to spread violence. The state will protect its citizens and society...It is the least of the tributes we owe Alexis." he said, adding that he had ordered the finance ministry to offer "quick and full compensation" to Greek people whose buildings have been damaged in the riots.[29]

President of Greece Karolos Papoulias sent condolences in a telegram,[30] while Interior minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos expressed "deep sorrow". The police, who claimed that an investigation was underway into the "isolated" incident, also apologized.[16]

Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis has expressed his condolences for the death of the 15-year-old boy, adding that festive events for Christmas in Syntagma Square will be suspended until further notice. Moreover, he assured the owners of damaged shops that they will be aided in restoring their damages, adding that he will propose the Municipal Committee be acquitted of municipal duties for 2009.[27]

The Communist Party of Greece held the government responsible, while Coalition of the Radical Left spoke of a cruel murder. The Panhellenic Socialist Movement issued an announcement holding the police responsible for the incident[27] and stated that people "must answer the government's policies en masse and peacefully,"[13] while the Hellenic Federation of University Teachers' Associations (POSDEP) called a three-day strike, condemning the killing of the teenager.[31]


After meeting with Kostas Karamanlis on Tuesday morning, Aleka Papariga, Secretary General of the Communist Party of Greece, dissociated "the justified wrath for the victims of state suppression" from the rioters, and also called the leadership of the Coalition of the Radical Left to "stop fondling the hooded rioters' ears".[32]

Georgios Karatzaferis, president of the Popular Orthodox Rally, also stated that "there are some political powers that are serious, and some that fondle ears...". When asked to identify the rioters, he said, pointing out left-wing extremists, "We all know them, but it is not the time to name them for we will only spill oil on the fire".[33]

[edit] International reactions

  • Australia: Australia warned tourists of possibly violent demonstrations.[30]
  • Cyprus: Apart from Greece, riots and clashes took place also in Cyprus, in the capital Nicosia and the western city of Paphos on midday Monday 8.[5]
  • France: Protesters entered the Greek consulate in Paris, France. The symbolic occupation was peaceful.[34]
  • Germany: On the night of 7 December 2008, spontaneous demonstrations of solidarity took place in several German cities such as Berlin and Hamburg by radical lefts. In Hamburg, about 200 people gathered on a march to protest the killing.[35] On 8 December 2008, a group of demonstrators occupied the Greek consulate in Berlin: 30 people pushed their way into the lobby of the consulate at Wittenbergplatz in western Berlin at around 9:40 a.m. local time. One of the demonstrators told the Deutsche Presse-Agentur that the demonstration was in protest against a Greek state that was responsible for the death of the teenager, identified as Alexandros Andreas Grigoropoulos. The Greek embassy in Berlin, located in the east of the city, has not been occupied.[36]
  • Italy: Related Graffiti have been found in Turin near the Greek consulate, many activists have demonstrated in front of the Greek consulate in Bologna.[37]
  • United Kingdom: Britain warned tourists of possibly violent demonstrations.[30] On 8 December 2008 in London, up to a hundred protesters clashed with police after trying to storm the Greek embassy in London. A group of anarchist demonstrators tore down the Greek flag from the building in Holland Park and set it on fire.[38] The police have been called to deal with "about 30" young protesters that seem to be mostly students. Currently the embassy is again working normally and the situation is calm.[39]
  • Zagreb:(must be added)

[edit] References

  1. "More riots in Greece over fatal police shooting of teen". USA today. http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2008-12-07-greece-protests_N.htm. Retrieved 2008-12-09.</li>
  2. Τον είδαμε να ρίχνει εν ψυχρώ. Eleftherotypia. URL accessed on 2008-12-09.</li>
  3. "The Forensic Autopsy Gave no Answers – The Results of the Ballistics are still Expected" (in Greek). Ta Nea. 8 December 2008. http://www.tanea.gr/default.asp?pid=2&ct=1&artid=4491166. Retrieved 2008-12-09.</li>
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 "Riots continue across Greece after teen killed by police". CNN. 2008-12-07. http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/europe/12/07/greece.riots/index.html?eref=rss_topstories. Retrieved 2008-12-08.</li>
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Συμπλοκές νεαρών με αστυνομικούς σε Λευκωσία και Πάφο" (in Greek). Phileleftheros. 2008-12-08. http://www.phileleftheros.com/main/main.asp?gid=334&id=594952. Retrieved 2008-12-08.</li>
  6. "Athenian democracy in ruins". The Guardian. 2008-12-08. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/dec/08/greece. Retrieved 2008-12-08.</li>
  7. Νέες μαρτυρίες. Mega Channel. URL accessed on 2008-12-09.</li>
  8. Σοκάρουν οι μαρτυρίες. Mega Channel. URL accessed on 2008-12-08.</li>
  9. Τον είδαμε να ρίχνει εν ψυχρώ. Eleftherotypia. URL accessed on 2008-12-09.</li>
  10. "Grecia, battaglia a Patrasso" (in Italian). Repubblica Radio TV. 2008-12-08. http://tv.repubblica.it/copertina/grecia-battaglia-a-patrasso/27052?video. Retrieved 2008-12-08.</li>
  11. "Χιονοστιβάδα διαμαρτυριών για το θάνατο του 16χρονου μαθητή" (in Greek). In.gr. 2008-12-08. http://www.in.gr/news/article.asp?lngEntityID=965558&lngDtrID=244. Retrieved 2008-12-08.</li>
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Καζάνι που βράζει" η Αθήνα Οργή και οδύνη σε Ελλάδα, Κύπρο και Βερολίνο" (in Greek). iKypros. 2008-12-08. http://www.ikypros.com/cgibin/hweb?-A=46634&-V=news&w=. Retrieved 2008-12-08.</li>
  13. 13.0 13.1 "Greece braced for further protest". BBC. 2008-12-08. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7770522.stm. Retrieved 2008-12-08.</li>
  14. "Greek police shooting sparks riot". BBC. 2008-12-07. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7769710.stm. Retrieved 2008-12-08.</li>
  15. "Greece braces for third day of riots, counts cost". Reuters. 2008-12-08. http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSTRE4B601720081208. Retrieved 2008-12-08.</li>
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 "Fragile calm returns to Greece following riots". Agence France-Presse. 2008-12-08. http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5h7u9SGXrj3uDbBeRH1XqraTfpa0w. Retrieved 2008-12-08.</li>
  17. "Χωρίς απαντήσεις η νεκροψία" (in Greek). Eleftheros Typos. 2008-12-08. http://www.e-tipos.com/newsitem?id=64782. Retrieved 2008-12-08.</li>
  18. "Συλλαλητήρια και ένταση στην περιφέρεια" (in Greek). Eleftheros Typos. 2008-12-08. http://www.e-tipos.com/newsitem?id=64786. Retrieved 2008-12-08.</li>
  19. "Δελτίο Τύπου ΓΑΔΑ για πραγματοποίηση προγραμματισμένης συγκέντρωσης και πορείας ατόμων με αφορμή το περιστατικό στα Εξάρχεια" (in Greek). Minister for the Interior and Public Order. 2008-12-07. http://www.ekato.gr/index.php?option=ozo_content&lang='..'&perform=view&id=1669&Itemid=326&lang=. Retrieved 2008-12-09.</li>
  20. "Complete Destruction" (in Greek). Skai TV. 9 December 2008. http://www.skai.gr/master_story.php?id=103312&95=vote1. Retrieved 2008-12-09.</li>
  21. "Δακρυγόνα και πετροπόλεμος για τέταρτη συνεχή βραδιά-Στη Θεσσαλονίκη" (in Greek). In.gr. 2008-12-09. http://www.in.gr/news/article.asp?lngEntityID=966210&lngDtrID=244. Retrieved 2008-12-09.</li>
  22. "Δελτίο Τύπου της ΓΑΔΑ σχετικά με γεγονότα που έλαβαν χώρα χθες στην Αθήνα." (in Greek). Minister for the Interior and Public Order. 2008-12-09. http://www.ekato.gr/index.php?option=ozo_content&lang='..'&perform=view&id=1669&Itemid=326&lang=. Retrieved 2008-12-09.</li>
  23. "Στο Αυτόφωρο οι συλληφθέντες για το πλιάτσικο στη Θεσσαλονίκη" (in Greek). Kathimerini. 2008-12-09. http://www.kathimerini.gr/4dcgi/_w_articles_kathremote_1_09/12/2008_259683. Retrieved 2008-12-09.</li>
  24. "Ο Α. Κούγιας συνήγορος των ειδικών φρουρών" (in Greek). lawnet.gr. 2008-12-09. http://www.lawnet.gr/news.asp?cat=1&article=17523&ref=RSS. Retrieved 2008-12-09.</li>
  25. "Επιχείρησαν να λιντσάρουν πλιατσικολόγο" (in Greek). In.gr. 2008-12-09. http://www.in.gr/news/article.asp?lngEntityID=966383&lngDtrID=244. Retrieved 2008-12-09.</li>
  26. The Greek charge is "ανθρωποκτονία εκ προθέσεως" which is ambiguous in translation as "ανθρωποκτονία" is used for both the English concepts of "homicide" and "manslaughter", and the charge has been frequently translated in English media as "premeditated manslaughter", however the phrase "εκ προθέσεως" meaning "by intent" suggests that "homicide" or even "murder" is a more accurate description of the charge rather than "manslaughter", which is usually distinguished in English legal systems by a lack of intent.</li>
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 "Criminal Action against the two Policemen". Ellinikí Radiofonía Tileórasi. 2008-12-07. http://news.ert.gr/en/greece/society/16417-investigation-on-15yo-boys-death-continues.htm. Retrieved 2008-12-08.</li>
  28. "Youth Riots in Greece Enter a Second Day". The New York Times. 2008-12-07. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/08/world/europe/08greece.html?_r=2&hp. Retrieved 2008-12-08.</li>
  29. "UPDATE: Greek PM Caramanlis Says Government Will End Riots". Agence France-Presse. 2008-12-08. http://www.nasdaq.com/aspxcontent/NewsStory.aspx?cpath=20081208\ACQDJON200812081014DOWJONESDJONLINE000321.htm&selected=9999&selecteddisplaysymbol=9999&StoryTargetFrame=_top&mkt=WORLD&chk=unchecked&lang=&link=&headlinereturnpage=http://www.international.na. Retrieved 2008-12-08.</li>
  30. 30.0 30.1 30.2 "More protests planned in Greece in wake of riots". Associated Press. 2008-12-08. http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hBFlGGEp5P_Xn83Bw3PLwJ020A-QD94UE3JO0. Retrieved 2008-12-08.</li>
  31. "Students Take to the Streets". Ellinikí Radiofonía Tileórasi. 2008-12-08. http://news.ert.gr/en/greece/society/16433-nea-syllalitiria-diamartyrias.htm. Retrieved 2008-12-08.</li>
  32. "Να μην χαϊδεύει τα αυτιά των κουκουλοφόρων ο ΣΥΡΙΖΑ, δήλωσε η Αλ.Παπαρήγα" (in Greek). In.gr. 2008-12-09. http://www.in.gr/news/article.asp?lngEntityID=966084&lngDtrID=244. Retrieved 2008-12-09.</li>
  33. "Ηρεμία ζητά ο Γ.Καρατζαφέρης, αφήνοντας αιχμές για τα επεισόδια" (in Greek). In.gr. 2008-12-09. http://www.in.gr/news/article.asp?lngEntityID=966224&lngDtrID=244. Retrieved 2008-12-09.</li>
  34. Protesters enter Greek consulate in Paris</li>
  35. "200 Demonstranten ziehen durch Innenstadt" (in German). Hamburger Abendblatt. 2008-12-08. http://www.abendblatt.de/daten/2008/12/08/986788.html. Retrieved 2008-12-08.</li>
  36. "Demonstrators Occupy Greek Consulate in Berlin". Der Spiegel. 2008-12-08. http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,595033,00.html. Retrieved 2008-12-08.</li>
  37. "Atene, migliaia ai funerali di Alexis Scontri davanti al cimitero" (in Italian). la Repubblica. 2008-12-09. http://www.repubblica.it/2008/12/sezioni/esteri/grecia-scontri/scontri-riprendono/scontri-riprendono.html?ref=rephpnews. Retrieved 2008-12-09.</li>
  38. "Gang Storms London Embassy". Sky News. 2008-12-08. http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/UK-News/London-Greek-Embassy-Stormed-By-Protesters/Article/200812215174658?lpos=UK_News_News_Your_Way_Region_7&lid=NewsYourWay_ARTICLE_15174658_London_Greek_Embassy_Stormed_By_Protesters. Retrieved 2008-12-08.</li>
  39. "Protesters target Greek Embassy in London after riots spread in Greece". Associated Press. 2008-12-08. http://news.uk.msn.com/article.aspx?cp-documentid=11685716. Retrieved 2008-12-08.</li></ol>

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