Hundreds mark anniversary of fatal police shooting

AP News
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Posted: Dec 06, 2013 10:59 AM
Hundreds mark anniversary of fatal police shooting

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Riot police fired small amounts of tear gas Friday during a march attended by 2,500 high school students to mark the fifth anniversary of a fatal police shooting of a teenager — a killing that triggered major riots in Greek cities for three weeks.

More than 30 protesters were detained after police used tear gas and hurled stun grenades at a small group of stone-throwing youths who appeared at the end of the peaceful central Athens march.

Alexis Grigoropoulos, 15, was killed on the night of Dec. 6, 2008, when a policeman fired his gun following an argument in the center of the capital.

Within hours of the boy's death, thousands of youths took to the streets across the country in protest. The riots that ensued were Greece's worst in decades and buildings and shops on major streets were burned and looted in the capital.

The riots occurred a year before Greece was plunged in financial crisis, and protesters at anniversary events have often demonstrated against the government and the "troika" of bailout inspectors from The European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund.

Another protest and concert was planned later Friday in Athens, while police remained on alert in several cities across Greece where rallies were also held.

In Thessaloniki, Greece's second largest city, protests coincided with the funeral service for a 13-year-old Serbian girl — known only by her first name, Sara — who was found dead over the weekend, after her unemployed mother used a barbecue grill to try and heat their home which had its electricity supply disconnected. A coroner said the girl had died of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Protesters gathered outside the church where the service was held, and chanted: "They killed little Sara. This is what the troika means."

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AP writer Derek Gatopoulos and photographer Kostas Tsironis in Athens contributed.