Riots In Greece

About a year ago, a teenager was killed by police during a demonstration and his death led to an outbreak of violence in cities throughout the nation. The death of Alexis Grigoriopoulis, was recalled yesterday in many cities as young people respoded to the anniversary by smashing stores, wrecking cars, burning and, most probably, doing a little looting in the process. There is no question that police in Greece resort all too often and too quickly to the baton or the gun. The result is oppression of young people and it embitters students who simply do not believe the police are a force for peace. Another orgy of burning and destruction will not result in improved conditions that end police brutality.

We believe there is need for systematic changes in the manner of police work that leads to less resort to weapons and greater resort to dialogue, peace, and working to avoid destructive conflict. If each year there is an outbreak of violence to remember the death of an innocent young man, nothing is accomplished except more broken heads. The issue resides in changing police, changing their attitudes, and changing the manner in which they confront demonstrations.