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(en) Media: Greece: thousand anarchists protest, clashes in Athens

Date Sat, 08 Dec 2012 14:33:06 +0200

DECEMBER 7 - A protest held in Athens to commemorate the fourth anniversary of the death of 15-year-old student Alexis Grigoropoulos at the hands of a policeman in Exarchia (anarchists' area of the Greek capital) slid into violent clashes on a day in which the country's unemployment level hit a new high. ---- The morning's demonstrations were held without incident amid tightened security and 6,000 policemen called up for the purpose. About a thousand university students took part. ---- Gathering in front of the Polytechnic Institute, they marched peacefully to the centrally-located Syntagma Square in front of the Parliament. Another march was later held under the youth section of the far-left party Syriza and other groups with the same political leanings in which about 2,000 people took part.

Meanwhile, the national statistics institute released the latest unemployment figures: in September they rose to 26% from August's 25.3%, setting a new record high, while data on purchasing power showed it had been halved over the past two years. The figures, released by Greece's main unions (ADEDY and GSEE) also show that one in every two Greek citizens have an annual income of below EUR 4,871 and are living on the threshold of poverty.

In the evening about a thousand anarchists took to the streets. Clashes broke out with police when a group of protestors in balaclavas broke off from the march in the Exarchia area and started to throw Molotov cocktails and stones at the police. Six cars were set alight. The police responded by shooting teargas to break up the crowd. At least 28 demonstrators were arrested. The violent incidents continued for a number of hours and protestors report that excessive violence was used by the police. The policeman Epaminondas Korkoneas, who was found guilty of shooting and killing Alexis, has been sentenced to life in jail and is serving his sentence at the Domokos prison, while his colleague Vassilis Saraliotis (also found guilty of homicide and sentenced to 10 years in prison) is on a work release programme in his hometown of Drama. The death of the young Grigoropoulos sparked an unprecedented series of protests in Greek that the police at the time proved unable to subdue.
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