Monday, December 08, 2008
Talking to CNN about the Greek riots
in about an hour I'm expecting a phone call from CNN. They want to interview me about the riots that have been going on in Greece over the last couple of days.
Even the state run TV channels, which usually follow the government line to the letter are now talking about the murder of 15 year old in Athens on Saturday night. It seems that eye witnesses are saying that the two officers got out of their patrol car after getting into an argument with a group of thirty teens in the Exarchia district. apparently, one of the officers throw a flash bomb at the group whilst the other fired at them three times resulting in the death of Andreas Grigoropoulos.
The police have a long and inglorious history of over reaction and violence. In part encouraged by the fact that even the most outrageous breeches of the law usually get over looked or punished lightly. Case in point was the savage beating on live TV of Cypriot student, Avgoustinos Dimitriou November 17, 2008. None of the eight oifficers involved spent time in jail. Indeed, the hapless student was charged with resisting arrest and tried recently in Thessaloniki.
In addition there have been a string of deaths of immigrants involving the police. Here in Thessaloniki last year Nigerian national,Tony Onouha, who died after falling from the balcony of a cafe in Kalamaria while "being chased by officers" according to the official report.
Last year the Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) also noted in its report considerable number of allegations of abuse by police officials of foreign nationals in custody including the case of a detainee allegedly tortured with pliers while in custody in the northern Greek city of Alexandroupoli.
I, myself fell victim to these thugs last year when I was beaten by riot police during a peaceful demonstration on Tsimiski. My crime? Taking pictures of them.that cost me a broken nose, dislocated shoulder and extensive bruising.