Page last updated at 09:56 GMT, Monday, 8 December 2008

Greece braced for further protest


Police fire tear gas at protesters on Sunday in the city of Patras

A third day of protests is planned in Greece, following riots sparked by the fatal shooting of a 15-year-old boy by police late on Saturday.

The Communist Party has called a mass rally in Athens, while the main socialist opposition party has urged Greeks to denounce the government.

Meanwhile, a post-mortem is being carried out on the boy's body to help determine the trajectory of the bullet.

Two police officers have been arrested in connection with the boy's death.

One of them, who is accused of murder, said he fired a warning shot and that the boy was killed by a ricochet, but eyewitnesses told Greek television that the officer aimed directly.

The second officer has been charged with being an accomplice.

The family of the boy, named as Alexandros Grigoropoulos, has hired an independent pathologist to ensure there is no cover-up.

Politically motivated

Five demonstrations are planned in major cities at dusk.

Among the protests called on Monday is a rally by the Greek Communist Party and the socialist Pasok opposition, in Athens.

1973 - Brutal repression of student uprising in Athens helps bring down the military junta
1985 - Youths clash with police in Athens after rally marking 1973 uprising becomes violent and police shoot dead 15-year-old boy
1991 - Riots break out across the country after a school teacher is killed during protests in Patras
1995 - Riots erupt after protest in Athens and revolt in prison ahead of 1973 uprising's anniversary
1999 - Police clash with protesters opposing a visit by US President Bill Clinton to Athens
2003 - Youths battle police during an EU summit in Thessaloniki
2008 - Protesters battle police across country after an officer shoots dead a teenager in Athens

Pasok's youth wing has called for peaceful protests.

Most of the clashes have occurred in university cities and have involved students, says the BBC's Malcolm Brabant in Athens.

The student demonstrators have been given tacit consent to continue by their professors, our correspondent says.

University tutors said they would start a three-day walkout on Monday, rather than joining a nationwide workers' strike against pension reforms and economic policies on Wednesday.

Although the protests began as an outpouring of anger about the killing, they appear to have become more politically motivated, with opposition parties keen to discredit the struggling government, our correspondent adds.

The government has held an emergency meeting to decide how to respond, with the Interior Minister, Prokopis Pavlopoulos, saying the police would adopt a defensive stance.

'Deeply saddened'

The riots began on Saturday after Alexandros Grigoropoulos was shot dead by police in the Exarchia area of Athens.

The unrest, the worst in the country in several years, later spread to Thessaloniki, Patras, Larissa, and Volos, and the islands of Crete, Samos and Corfu.

Dozens of protesters and police have been injured during pitched battles on the streets, involving petrol bombs and tear gas.

A march by more than 1,000 people on two police stations in Thessaloniki descended into violence when protesters attacked police and shops with firebombs and rocks.

Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis has written to the boy's parents expressing his profound sorrow.

He wrote: "In these difficult moments please accept my condolences for the unfair loss of your son. Like all Greeks I am deeply saddened."

He said his government would act to stop "such a tragedy" from happening again.

Map of central Athens
Thousands of students, leftist demonstrators and anarchists on Sunday marched from the National Archaeological Museum and Polytechnic on Patission Avenue towards the police headquarters on Alexandras Avenue

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