Riots sparked by police shooting


Greek police shooting sparks riot
7th December 2008

Riots have broken out in several Greek cities after police shot dead a teenager in the capital Athens. The unrest began soon after the shooting in the central Exarchia district, a regular scene of clashes between police and leftist groups. Youths threw petrol bombs, burned cars and smashed shop windows. Riots then spread to Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city, to the northern cities of Komotini and Ioannina, and to Crete.

Two officers have been suspended, and an inquiry is under way, after the worst such violence in several years. The BBC’s Malcolm Brabant, in Athens, says that the rioters have set fire to banks and stores in the city’s main shopping district. A four-storey building has also been torched and many cars destroyed.

Greece’s anarchists regard the Bohemian quarter of Exarchia as their fortress and they frequently lure police into ambushes so they can attack them with rocks and fire bombs, our correspondent says.

As dawn broke over the city, emergency crews were damping down fires while many of the youths were understood to have retreated to Athens Polytechnic.

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