New wave of riots expected as 100,000 face sack in Greece

08:08 by Editor · 0 Post a comment on AAWR

Police get tough as cost of demonstrations soars

Students at mass demonstrations have been handing out timetables scheduling another week of the civil unrest that has brought violence to Athens and other parts of Greece.

Rallies outside police stations and courthouses and blockading areas of main cities are among the plans as a leading union official said that anger among disenchanted youths would only get worse in the months ahead, with as many as 100,000 jobs under threat after the Christmas period.

“A massive wave of redundancies will kick in come the new year when, according to our estimates, 100,000 jobs will be lost, which represents an additional 5 per cent on the unemployment rate,” said Stathis Anestis, of the General Confederation of Greek Workers.

An opinion poll at the weekend showed that about half of Greeks considered the violence to be a “popular uprising”, while almost 70 per cent thought that the Government – the main focus of the rioters’ ire – had responded to the crisis inadequately.

The violence began after Alexandros Grigoropoulos, 15, was shot dead on December 6.

There were signs that the police were taking a more robust attitude towards the rioters at the weekend. Police in Athens charged at protesters who were trying to smash their way into banks and shops after a vigil to mark the first week since the death of the schoolboy.

Riots flared again on Saturday night after hundreds of youths gathered at the shrine marking the spot where the boy was killed. Many of the young people, who were carrying backpacks full of petrol bombs and had their faces hidden by scarves or gas masks, went straight from the peaceful vigil to attack riot police who had gathered in nearby side streets in the Exarchia neighbourhood. A police station was petrol-bombed and clashes quickly spread across the neighbourhood.

When a group of young men tried to bludgeon their way into a bank, police finally fired teargas canisters and charged. The anarchists fled to their base at the polytechnic campus, which is off limits to security forces.

Inside the campus students smashed the marble façades of the building to find items to throw at the police. Others prepared crates of petrol bombs and patrolled the gates with fire extinguishers to disperse the teargas. Students also tried to shine laser torches in the eyes of the officers.

The more aggressive police stance, after a week of trying to absorb the students’ rage without causing further casualties, came after hundreds of Greek shops and banks were wrecked. There were similar riots in France, Germany, Spain, Denmark and Italy. continues here

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