Greek police fired teargas on Wednesday at youths marching in Athens to mark the ninth anniversary of the killing of a teenager by police, an incident that sparked Greece’s worst riots for decades.
A few hundred students, among them dozens of black-clad youths, marched through central Athens chanting “Resist!”, waving red and black flags in a tribute to 15-year old Alexandros Grigoropoulos who was shot dead in 2008.
Greece has a history of street violence. Before the march, young people wearing hoods were seen smashing paving stones to use as projectiles and traffic street poles to break window displays.
Some of the protesters set garbage containers on fire and hurled stones at police outside parliament during the march. Police fired teargas to disperse them and formed protective cordons outside parliament and hotels in central Athens.
More than 2,000 police were deployed for the demonstrations, a day before a visit by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a police official said.
Another march is scheduled in the evening.
On the night of December 6, 2008, hours after Grigoropoulos was shot dead, thousands took to the streets of Athens, torching cars and smashing shop windows.
The riots, further fueled by anger over unemployment and economic hardship in the prelude to Greece’s debt crisis, lasted for weeks, turning Athens into a battle zone.