The shooting of a teenager by police has sparked a wave of violent protests across Greece. In the past couple of days hundreds of hooded and helmeted protesters have poured into the centre of Athens, hurling petrol bombs and stones at shopfronts, banks, parked cars and police.
According to media reports the trouble began when a number of young people sitting at outdoor cafés in the centre of Athens hurled insults at a passing patrol car. After a verbal exchange between the police and the youths one of the policemen drew his weapon and fired three times, once towards the ground and twice in the air, one of the shots killed Andreas Grigoropoulos. Two policemen have been arrested over the killing and the officer who fired the fatal shot has been charged with manslaughter.
The majority of protests seem to have been led by Anarchist groups which continue to plague Greece. According to CSM, anarchist groups frequently set off small bombs throughout the city – last week a bomb damaged the offices of the French news service Agence France Presse and arsonists torched a Bosnian embassy car and a bank cash machine. But there is a limit to what the police can do. Years of heavy handedness against such groups have created mistrust between the public and the police – and public sentiment seems to favour the anarchists – given this situation was created by the police they are going to have to tred very carefully.