The unprededented wave of protests and discontent that has hit Greece since Saturday shows no sign of abating. Although the country enjoyed relative calm last night after days of rioting, high school and university students are planning to block roads in Athens today. In addition at least 100 high schools are under occupation, as well as the universities in many cities in protest against the shooting of 15 year old Alexandros Grigoropoulos by a police officer in central Athens.
Yesterday students some as young as twelve clashed with riot police in the northern port city of Thessaloniki. The central police station in Aristotelous square came under repeated attack from stone throwing teenagers who also set fire to rubbish bins and smashed shop windows.
The Greek government has announced a series of measures to help the hundreds of businesses damaged during the riots. Estimates over the cost of disturbances rangge from a three hundred to one billion euros. However, the opposition PASOK party has expressed skepticism over the government's plans to help pointing out that similar promises were made to those who lost homes in last year's devastating forest fires yet not kept.
The two policemen accused of killing the teenager claim that the fatal shot was a ricochet and that the officer who fired had shot into the air in order to scare off a gang of thirty youths who previously attacked them with rocks and bottles.
The defendents also said in their testimony that the dead student had been expelled from several schools and involved in incidents of football hooliganism.
However, several eye witnesses interviewed on Greek TV argue that there were no more than ten youths at the time of the incident and just one bottle was thrown at the defendent's patrol car. They also claim that the officer aimed his pistol directly at the group and fired and after Grigoropoulos fell to the ground walked away.
Friends and family of the teenager also denied categorically the accusations concerning the child's supposedly troubled academic career and alleged involvement in football violence.
The Greek police federation condemned the the actions of the two officers, calling the death a "horrific criminal act".
On the other hand defence lawyer Alexis Kougias, who took on the case other two other lawyers withdrew, claimed that there had been a "misunderstanding" and that foresenic evidence bore out his client's claim that the death was the result of bullet ricocheting. The results of the ballistics analysis of the bullets fired have, however, not been released yet.