Thousands of Greek youths rioted in several cities across the country over the death of a teenage boy who was shot by police. The young people were armed with stones, batons, and firebombs which they fired a the police as well as other forms of authority. By nightfall, several areas of Athens resembled a war zone with glass, rubble, and broken furniture in the streets. Local TV showed youth erecting barricades as police fired tear gas in their direction in an effort to restore order to Greek cities. Many rioters who were being pursued by police sought sanctuary in the universities which historically are off ground to the police. Thousands of young people marched through the streets of Athens shouting, “Down with the murderers in uniform.”
Prime Minister Costas Karemanlis publicly apologized to the father of Alexandros Grigoropoulos who was shot by police. Most probably the outburst of youth anger is deeper than the death of a single boy by police, but may reflect a feeling the government of Greece is still run by the “old boys network” and is not responsive to the need for a modern, honest government that is in tune with needs of the 21st century. According to Professor Thanos Dokos, “there are a lot of disoriented young people who feel they don’t have much to expect from the future and are very disconnected.” We can expect more such outbursts of anger as the recession continues to spread.