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Protests in Greece on the anniversary of the killing of a boy by a policeman

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — Demonstrations in Athens and other Greek cities on Friday marked the anniversary of the killing of a boy by a policeman in 2008, an incident that sparked weeks of protests.

About 1,000 people demonstrated in the Greek capital behind a banner reading “Break the boundaries of surrender with the fire of revolution”, in the first of two rallies to remember Alexandros Grigoropoulos, who was killed by a policeman on December 6, 2008.

“These days for Alexis,” the protesters chanted.

Authorities deployed about 3,500 police in Athens, backed by drones, helicopters and water cannons, a police source said.

The policeman who killed the boy, Epaminondas Kourkonias, said that he fired three bullets during a patrol in the Athens Exarchia neighborhood at the time in self-defense to remove youths who were throwing patrol elements with various things.

Grigoropoulos was shot in the chest that day and died before being taken to hospital.

For more than a month, hundreds of shops in Athens and other cities have been vandalized on the sidelines of demonstrations by school students, universities, unionists and leftist parties.

This week, Gina Tsalikian, Grigoropolos’ mother, urged the demonstrators to stay peaceful.

She told Channel “Open TV” “Alexandros was kind and peaceful and against violence.”

“The unrest and vandalism are alien to nature and insulting to his memory.”

There have been demonstrations almost every year since the killing of Gregoropoulos and often caused the outbreak of violent confrontations between the security forces and demonstrators.

“The sixth of December has become the symbol of the uprising against police violence in Greece,” said social science professor at Aegean University, Sotoris Khatoris.

In July this year, Corconias, who spent a decade in jail after his sentence was reduced to life imprisonment, was released.

The decision stirred controversy and the Supreme Court last month called for a review of his early release.

In recent weeks, the government of Prime Minister Kiriakos Mitsotakis has drawn criticism after police ordered the evacuation of illegal housing in Athens.

The authorities noted that many of these places are used as bases for chaotic provocates who frequently launch attacks against the police, but a number of them live in refugee families.

There is also tension over a new amendment to the law that facilitates police searches at universities, sparking several student protests.

A poll released in conjunction with the 2008 unrest said 60 percent of the respondents considered the youth protests, which came about a year before the debt crisis began in Greece, was a spontaneous “social uprising”.

“In fact, nothing has changed since 2008. The relationship between the state and the youth and their status has not changed,” Khatores told AFP.

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