Tue, Dec 16, 2008 - Page 6 News List

Athens police guard courts for protesters’ appearances

AFP AND AP , ATHENS

People kneel in front of riot police during a peaceful protest on Saturday outside the Greek parliament in Athens over the fatal police shooting of a teen on Dec. 6.

PHOTO: EPA

Athens police were out in force yesterday ahead of a rash of protests and court appearances relating to the police shooting of a teenager, and as Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis flew to Cyprus.

The release of a parliamentary inquiry into a land scandal, which has generated widespread anti-government sentiment, also threatened to increase the pressure on Karamanlis’ government.

Police were guarding the capital’s courts, where six of the 86 people arrested throughout the unrest overnight on Saturday were appearing before magistrates.

Around 100 youths were camped outside with a banner showing solidarity with “state hostages.”

Violent protests triggered by the schoolboy’s death quickly spread from Athens to more than a dozen other cities last week. At least 70 people have been injured, hundreds of stores have been damaged and looted, and more than 200 people have been arrested.

The policeman accused of shooting Alexandros Grigoropoulos has been charged with murder.

Police said no violence was reported in Athens overnight, after an uneventful day on Sunday. However, left-wing student groups have vowed to keep up the protests until their concerns are addressed. A rally has been scheduled for parliament square on Thursday.

A poll on Sunday suggested most Greeks see the protests as a “popular uprising,” not driven by “minority activists.” Seventy-six percent of those questioned were “dissatisfied” with the police response. Just 20 percent approved of the prime minister’s handling of the unrest.

Karamanlis was going ahead with the visit to Cyprus for the funeral of former Cypriot president Tassos Papadopoulos, who died of cancer on Friday.

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