Greece protesters riot on anniversary of teen's shooting

Published 12-06-2018

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ATHENS, Greece (AP) - Protesters in Athens set up a massive burning barricade and pelted riot police with firebombs and rocks Thursday on the 10th anniversary of the fatal police shooting of a teenager that sparked the worst riots Greece had seen in decades.

The violence broke out in the Exarchia district of the Greek capital, where 15-year-old Alexis Grigoropoulos was shot dead on Dec. 6, 2008, and which anarchists have adopted as a stronghold.

Protesters set a car alight and hurled rocks, Molotov cocktails and fireworks at lines of Greek riot police, who responded with tear gas and a water cannon.

The clashes broke out after a peaceful march by about 1,700 people through central Athens. Another gathering was planned later Thursday night at the spot where Grigoropoulos died.

An earlier midday Athens march by about 700 people also degenerated into violence, with police firing tear gas at hooded youths who were throwing objects and smashing bus stops. At least 28 people were detained.

Authorities deployed about 2,500 police and a helicopter Thursday for the Athens marches and shut down the main subway station at the central Syntagma Square.

In the northern city of Thessaloniki, protesters set up barricades in the streets and hurled Molotov cocktails at police, who responded with stun grenades and tear gas. The running clashes went on for hours, and vandals also set fires at a subway construction site.

There was a lull in the violence during a peaceful evening protest in the northern city, but riots continued later.

Grigoropoulos had been on a night out with friends in Exarchia when he was killed as a policeman fired his gun following an altercation. The policeman later said he had not aimed at the teen but he was killed by a ricochet.

The ensuing two-week outburst of violence in 2008 spread to cities across Greece as youths smashed and looted stores, burned buildings and cars and set up flaming street barricades.

In the northern city of Thessaloniki, protesters set up barricades in the streets and hurled Molotov cocktails at police, who responded with stun grenades and tear gas. The running clashes went on for hours, and vandals also set fires at a subway construction site.

There was a lull in the violence during a peaceful evening protest in the northern city, but riots continued later.

Grigoropoulos had been on a night out with friends in Exarchia when he was killed as a policeman fired his gun following an altercation. The policeman later said he had not aimed at the teen but he was killed by a ricochet.

The ensuing two-week outburst of violence in 2008 spread to cities across Greece as youths smashed and looted stores, burned buildings and cars and set up flaming street barricades.

The policeman, Epaminondas Korkoneas, was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. His appeals trial is ongoing. The second policeman present was sentenced to 10 years in prison and was granted conditional release several years ago.

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Kantouris reported from Thessaloniki, Greece. Nicholas Paphitis in Athens contributed.

Grigoropoulos had been on a night out with friends in Exarchia when he was killed as a policeman fired his gun following an altercation. The policeman later said he had not aimed at the teen but he was killed by a ricochet.

The ensuing two-week outburst of violence in 2008 spread to cities across Greece as youths smashed and looted stores, burned buildings and cars and set up flaming street barricades.

The policeman, Epaminondas Korkoneas, was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. His appeals trial is ongoing. The second policeman present was sentenced to 10 years in prison and was granted conditional release several years ago.

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Kantouris reported from Thessaloniki, Greece. Nicholas Paphitis in Athens contributed.

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Riot police try to avoid petrol bombs in the Athens neighborhood of Exarchia, a haven for extreme leftists and anarchists, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018 after a rally commemorating the killing of a 15-year old student back in 2008. Demonstrators in Greece threw firebombs and pelted police with rocks Thursday as marches on the 10th anniversary of the fatal police shooting of a teenager degenerated into violence. (AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis) - The Associated Press


Hooded youths throw fireworks against riot police during clashes in the Athens neighborhood of Exarchia, a haven for extreme leftists and anarchists, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018. New protest marches were underway in Greece Thursday evening on the 10th anniversary of the fatal police shooting of a teenager, hours after violent initial demonstrations where masked youths attacked police with firebombs and stones.(AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis) - The Associated Press


Hooded youths use laser sticks against riot police as a car is on fire in the Athens neighborhood of Exarchia, a haven for extreme leftists and anarchists, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018 after a rally commemorating the killing of a 15-year old student back in 2008. Demonstrators in Greece threw firebombs and pelted police with rocks Thursday as marches on the 10th anniversary of the fatal police shooting of a teenager degenerated into violence. (AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis) - The Associated Press


A hooded youth prepares to throw a petrol bomb at riot police in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki, on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018 during a rally commemorating the killing of a 15-year old student back in 2008. School and university students marched in various towns of the country to mark the tenth anniversary of a fatal police shooting of a teenager in Athens that sparked the worst rioting Greece had seen in decades. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos) - The Associated Press


Riot police try to avoid petrol bombs in the Athens neighborhood of Exarchia, a haven for extreme leftists and anarchists, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018 after a rally commemorating the killing of a 15-year old student back in 2008. Demonstrators in Greece threw firebombs and pelted police with rocks Thursday as marches on the 10th anniversary of the fatal police shooting of a teenager degenerated into violence. (AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis) - The Associated Press


A hooded youth kicks a tear gas canister in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki, on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018 during a rally commemorating the killing of a 15-year old student back in 2008. School and university students marched in various towns of the country to mark the tenth anniversary of a fatal police shooting of a teenager in Athens that sparked the worst rioting Greece had seen in decades. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos) - The Associated Press


Police in riot gear stand guard as it rains in central Syntagma square near a tree being prepared for Christmas during a rally marking ten years since the killing of a 15-year old student, in Athens, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018. Demonstrators clashed with riot police in Athens and the country's second largest city of Thessaloniki on Thursday during the first of a series of events to mark the 10th anniversary of the fatal police shooting of a teenager that sparked Greece's most extensive riots in decades. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris) - The Associated Press


Riot police detain a protester in Athens, on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018 during a rally commemorating the killing of a 15-year old student back in 2008. Hundreds of school and university students march through the streets of the Greek capital to mark the tenth anniversary of a fatal police shooting of a teenager in Athens that sparked the worst rioting Greece had seen in decades. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris) - The Associated Press


Hooded youths throw petrol bombs at riot police in the Athens neighborhood of Exarchia, a haven for extreme leftists and anarchists, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018 after a rally commemorating the killing of a 15-year old student back in 2008. Demonstrators in Greece threw firebombs and pelted police with rocks Thursday as marches on the 10th anniversary of the fatal police shooting of a teenager degenerated into violence. (AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis) - The Associated Press


Hooded youths gesture at riot police in Athens, on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018 during a rally commemorating the killing of a 15-year old student back in 2008. Hundreds of school and university students march through the streets of the Greek capital to mark the tenth anniversary of a fatal police shooting of a teenager in Athens that sparked the worst rioting Greece had seen in decades. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris) - The Associated Press


Riot police guard in Athens, on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018 during a rally commemorating the killing of a 15-year old student back in 2008. Hundreds of school and university students march through the streets of the Greek capital to mark the tenth anniversary of a fatal police shooting of a teenager in Athens that sparked the worst rioting Greece had seen in decades. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris) - The Associated Press


Riot police guard the Greek parliament in Athens, on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018 during a rally commemorating the killing of a 15-year old student back in 2008. Hundreds of protesters march through the streets of the Greek capital to mark the tenth anniversary of a fatal police shooting of a teenager in Athens that sparked the worst rioting Greece had seen in decades. (AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis) - The Associated Press