Riots after death of young Roma

Riots broke out again in several regions of Greece on Friday. On Monday, a young Roma boy was shot dead by police during a chase after he failed to pay for a gas tank.

Riot police walk through a Roma settlement in Aspropyrgos on Thursday.

John Liakos/AP

(dpa) A police officer was slightly injured in riots by Roma in many regions of Greece on Friday night. According to media reports, around 30 rioters in the Athens suburb of Aspropyrgos shot the officers with shotguns. Elsewhere stones flew; Garbage cans, tires and cars were set on fire.

The authorities fear an escalation of the riots, because on Friday the 34-year-old police officer who is said to have shot a 16-year-old Roma in the head during a chase in Thessaloniki is to testify for the first time on Friday. The youth remains in critical condition. Since then, Roma have taken to the streets across the country. However, many also used the protest against police violence for massive riots.

The President of the Greek Roma Association Ellan Passe, Vassilis Pantzos, called on people to stop it. “Together with the leaders of the respective communities, we are trying to calm the charged mood across the country,” he told state broadcaster ERT on Friday morning. Condemn the riots, there is no justification for it. At the same time, Pantzos criticized the fact that police violence against the Roma had increased in recent years. The state must take action against this.

On Monday, a police officer in Thessaloniki shot a 16-year-old Roma in the head, seriously injuring him. According to previous knowledge, the teenager had driven his car from a gas station without paying 20 euros for the fuel. During the ensuing chase, the police officer is said to have shot him in the head. The officer was arrested and charged with manslaughter. He is due to appear before the magistrate for the first time on Friday.

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