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December 15, 2008

2008 Greek riots

On the night of Saturday, December 6th, two Special Guards of the Greek police clashed with a small group of young men. The exact details of what took place are still unclear, but it is known that one of the Guards fired three shots, and one of those bullets caused the death of 15-year-old Alexander Grigoropoulos - whether the injury was made by an accidental ricochet or deliberate shot remains to be determined. The two Guards are now in jail awaiting trial, the shooter charged with homicide. This incident sparked an immediate and widespread response in the form of angry demonstrations and riots in many Greek cities that have continued at varying levels to this day - though dimming in intensity recently. Alexander's death appears to have been a catalyst, unleashing widespread Greek anger towards many issues - police mistreatment of protesters, unwelcome education reforms, economic stagnation, government corruption and more. (37 photos total)

A policeman looks toward burning barricades during riots in Athens December 7, 2008. (REUTERS/John Kolesidis)

Protesters fight with riot police defending a police station in central Athens, late December 13, 2008. (OLIVIER LABAN-MATTEI/AFP/Getty Images) #

This undated photo made at a unknown location shows 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos. Some of the worst riots Greece has seen in years began within hours of the fatal shooting of Alexandros Grigoropoulos on Saturday night in the central Athens district of Exarchia. (AP Photo/Eurokinissi) #

Mourners carry the coffin of Alexandros Grigoropoulos, 15, during his funeral in Athens December 9, 2008. In the outskirts of Athens, more than 5,000 people dressed in black gathered at a funeral for the 15-year-old boy whose shooting by police on Saturday has triggered Greece's worst riots in decades. (REUTERS/Oleg Popov) #

The policeman (head down) who is facing murder charges for the shooting of teenager Alexandros Grigoropoulos, 15, is escorted by police as he enters a prosecutor's office in Athens, December 10, 2008. The policeman testified that he fired warning shots in self-defence when a gang of youths threw firebombs at him, court sources said. A Greek prosecutor ordered two policemen to be sent to prison pending trial for the shooting of Grigoropoulos which has sparked five days of rioting in Greece, a court official said on Wednesday. One of the policemen has been charged with murder and the other as an accomplice. "They are both ordered to be held in prison pending trial," said the official, who declined to be named. (REUTERS/Stringer) #

A protester holds a molotov coctail next to a burning barricade in athens on December 8, 2008. Fury at the fatal police shooting of a schoolboy, 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos, erupted in a third day of rioting across Greece on Monday, with youths burning banks and shops, attacking hotels and clashing with the security forces. (LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images) #

Students demonstrate in front of the police headquarters of Athens, on December 15 2008. Riot squads ringed Athens police headquarters as Greek protesters targeted state institutions, while the right-wing government faced new headaches with the re-emergence of a landswap scandal. (OLIVIER LABAN-MATTEI/AFP/Getty Images) #

A riot policeman is immersed in fire from a thrown molotov cocktail after a demonstration in central Athens on December 12, 2008. (Kostas Tsironis/AFP/Getty Images) #

A riot policeman in flames runs to escape - the flames soon extinguished - during a riot in Athens December 12, 2008. (REUTERS/John Kolesidis) #

A protester shouts at riot police in central Athens on Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2008. Athens and other Greek cities were ravaged by three successive nights of rioting after police shot teenager Alexandros Grigoropoulos dead. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias) #

Youths vandalize the inside of a bank branch during a night of riots in Athens on December 08, 2008. (Angelos Tzortzinis/AFP/Getty Images) #

At the Foreign Ministry's diplomatic school in Athens, set aflame by protesters, two women wait in a smoking window for rescue by firemen on December 8, 2008. (REUTERS/Nikolas Kominis) #

Athens' giant Christmas tree burns in front of the Greek parliament in Athens December 8, 2008. Protesters set fire to a major department store in central Athens and torched the city's giant Christmas tree outside parliament as anti-government protests worsened. (REUTERS/John Kolesidis) #

Greek riot police spray tear gas to keep protesters out of the parliament building during a demonstration in central Athens, Greece, Friday Dec. 12, 2008. (AP Photo/Bela Szandelszky) #

Protesters watch as a car is englufed in flames after a demonstration in central Athens on December 12, 2008. (Kostas Tsironis/AFP/Getty Images) #

Young students offer flowers to riot police while others blocked off Syntagma (Parliament) Square on December 13, 2008, following more than a week of clashes over the police killing of a 15-year-old. (LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images) #

A Greek protester runs from tear gas used by riot police while guarding the parliament building during a demonstration in central Athens, Greece, Friday Dec. 12, 2008. (AP Photo/Bela Szandelszky) #

Protesters clash with riot police during a demonstration in central Athens on December 12, 2008. (OLIVIER LABAN-MATTEI/AFP/Getty Images) #

A riot policeman stands outside the National Technical University of Athens Tuesday amid the thick smoke of caused by tear gas on Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2008. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris) #

A youth holds a candle and a red rose in front of the Greek Parliament during a demonstration in Athens on December 13, 2008. (ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images) #

A statue of Rigas Feraios, a Greek writer and revolutionary who died in 1798, stands vandalized with an anarchy symbol outside the Athens University on December 12, 2008. (ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images) #

A member of the riot police walks near flames outside Athens Polytechnic during riots on December 13, 2008 in Athens, Greece. Small bands of Greek rioters hurling firebombs attacked an environment ministry building, shops and banks in Athens during the eighth day of protests following the police killing of a teenager. (Milos Bicanski/Getty images) #

A riot police officer walks next a burning building in the center of Athens as riots went on for a third day in the Greek capital on Monday, Dec. 8, 2008. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris) #

Protesters, unseen, aim a green laser pointer at riot policemen during clashes between protesters and riot police in Athens, Saturday, Dec. 13, 2008. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias) #

Mannequins burn during riots in the northern Greek town of Thessaloniki December 8, 2008. (REUTERS/Grigoris Siamidis (GREECE) #

A firefighter puts out a fire started by rioters in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki. Rioters smashed, burned and looted buildings in several Greek cities, Monday, Dec. 8, 2008. (AP Photo/Nikolas Giakoumidis) #

A riot policeman is seen amidst a cloud of tear gas fired by police during riots in central Athens, Wednesday Dec. 10, 2008. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis) #

Protesters march during a demonstration in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki on December 10, 2008. Protesters hurled rocks today at security forces in Greece's second city of Thessaloniki and were fought off with tear gas, police said. The clashes occurred as around 2,000 demonstrators made their way towards a regional government ministry office protected by a police cordon. (SAKIS MITROLIDIS/AFP/Getty Images) #

A protester prepares to launch a stone with a slingshot at policemen during riots in Athens December 10, 2008. (REUTERS/Yiorgos Karahalis) #

Greek riot police go after protesters, not seen, that had thrown molotov cocktails, as fire fighters spray foam on a burning vehicle during a violent protest in central Athens, Friday Dec. 12, 2008. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)#

A woman writes the plate number on the hood of her burnt-out car parked opposite a burned store in Athens on December 11, 2008. (LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images) #

A protester clashes with police during riots at central Athens December 11, 2008. (REUTERS/Yiorgos Karahalis) #

A protester throws a stone at riot police during a demonstration outside of a regional government ministry office in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki on December 10, 2008. (DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP/Getty Images) #

Students shout at riot police outside the police headquarters during a demonstration in Athens on December 15, 2008. (LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images) #

A man's hand drips blood as he stands in front of riot policemen during a demonstration in Athens December 9, 2008. (REUTERS/John Kolesidis) #

A woman, seen through a shattered storefront, clears debris inside a riot-damaged travel agency in central Athens on Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2008. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias) #

A boy stands before a burning barricade in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki as rioters smashed, burned and looted buildings in several Greek cities on Monday, Dec. 8, 2008. (AP Photo/Nikolas Giakoumidis) #

 
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