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Clashes and tear gas in Exarcheia

07 December 2012 / 00:12:28  GRReporter
3372 reads

Anastasia Balezdrova 

The commemoration of the fourth anniversary of the murder of Alexandros Grigoropoulos, aged 15, by a policeman in the Athens neighbourhood of Exarcheia passed without serious clashes and damage.

It was marked by two protest marches, although initially three had been planned. In the late afternoon, representatives of youth organizations of the main coalition party SYRIZA, the ANTARSIA party and other non-parliamentary leftist formations gathered at the University of Athens. Their procession did not start at 5 pm as planned as they waited and merged later with the participants in the procession of anarchist organizations scheduled for 7 pm.

At about 6.20 pm, the protesters began forming a procession on Panepistimiou Street. Explosions of Molotov petrol bombs were heard from the upper part of the main university building about ten minutes later. Young men in black clothes and covered faces ran in front of the entrance of the building and the police response was swift. According to police sources, a group of youths tried to block a traffic policeman, who was nearby and so, the police were forced to react.

A teargas cloud covered the protesters who withdrew and in minutes, they reached in an organized manner the bottom of Korai Square on Stadiou Street.

Under strict police presence, they set off on a procession to the parliament. The participants were shouting slogans against the police, calling them "members of Golden Dawn in uniforms." Among the few slogans for Alexandros Grigoropoulos, calls for a revolt against the government policy were frequently heard. "Our future is not capitalism, but revolution and socialism," was bneing shouted by young men with red flags in their hands.

While the procession was advancing, members of riot forces were deployed on the sidewalks. When the protesters reached the square, hundreds of policemen were awaiting them, who had cordoned off in three solid lines the street in front of the Ministry of Finance, Syntagma Square, Amalias Avenue and Vassilis Sofias Avenue to prevent the protesters from reaching them.

The procession went along, reached again Panepistimiou Street and continued to Omonia Square. Some of the participants left the ranks and headed to the Exarcheia neighbourhood. On Emmanuel Benaki Street, they set fire to a bin and started throwing bombs, stones and pieces of marble at the policemen. They responded with light bombs and tear gas.

The clashes spread and reached Exarcheia Square and the streets around it. At 9 pm, the protesters gathered at the place of Alexandros Grigoropoulos’ death and commemorated him. The police claim that the protests involved around one thousand people.

Earlier today, another procession took place, in which pupils traditionally participate. Around 1,500 of them came to Syntagma Square, which was under strict police control and then, they immediately returned to the sidewalk in front of Athens University. After the end of the procession that took place at noon, there were short clashes near Exarcheia again.

The underground stations at Syntagma Square were closed in the morning by police order. There was a strong police presence on all streets in the centre as well as at the Monastiraki and Omonia underground stations.

During the evening clashes, fifty people were captured and six were arrested whereas thirty-five were captured and three were arrested during the day. The clashes in the lanes around Exarcheia continued until late into the night.


Tags: SocietyProtest processionsAnniversaryAlexandros GrigoropoulosMurderPoliceAnarchists
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