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Greek voices: Protests and chaos

After days of rioting across Greece triggered by the shooting of a 15-year-old boy by police, people taking part in and affected by the protests describe how they have been forced to re-evaluate the relationship between state and society.

ALEX HADJISAVVAS, SHOP OWNER, ATHENS

Youth with flare on Athens street - 9 December 2008
The capital Athens has been the scene of violent riots
I haven't been taking part in the protests. I'm against it. All protests in Greece lead to violence. I have been the victim this time.

My shop sells ladies fashion and on the first night of the riots my window was smashed in and they destroyed the shop front. They must have taken around 150-200 coats, jackets, pullovers.

I've been told they carried them out onto the streets and started fires. I've spoken to witnesses who said they used the mannequins in my window to break other shop windows.

I've been threatened by some of the anarchists. There is a university opposite my shop and that is where they have asylum. They are always in there, the police can't go in there. They come out from time to time and cause trouble.

I wouldn't want to see the government step down. I don't think that is the cause of the violence.

I've been threatened by some of the anarchists
The shooting of the boy has nothing to do with the violence. It was the icing on the cake for all the protesters. Most of the people who are not in favour of the government are looking for a cause to rise up about.

The shooting was the final straw. It's like a chain reaction. The people causing the trouble are not involved in politics. They are vandals and rioters.

Law and order in this country is not good at the best of times. It's a grim situation.

DIMITRIOS PARASKEVAS, MUSICIAN, THESSALONIKI

Dimitrios Paraskevas
I have taken part in the peaceful protests. The reason is that we don't feel that the state works for the people.

I'm not talking about a particular government. This is about the Greek state and society. We want things to work properly. This country takes everything too far.

A boy getting shot just like that when he was definitely not causing a threat to the police officer. This shows how the Greek state works.

The state does not take into account the citizen. It has been shown that there is no civil society in Greece. We don't feel like the state belongs to us. We feel like it is sometimes an enemy.

I would like a complete re-evaluation of the relationship between the state and the citizen. Police officers, everyone who works for the state should know that they work for citizens.

SPIROS DELIMPASIS, COMPUTER ENGINEER, 32, LARISSA

Sriros Delimpasis
I am totally opposed to the rioting and protests. But I am totally for the peaceful protests. The problem is that the rioters find cover between peaceful protesters and then start to smash public and private property. As a result many people are afraid to show up and peacefully express their anger for the murder of the young student.

For over 20 years the police here have not done what they are supposed to do. When all they need to do is draw a weapon, they sometimes shoot people. That is unacceptable.

With this murder the negative feelings about the government have got to many people. For months, there has been just one scandal following another.

But I don't feel that during this situation the government should resign. Maybe later. We should get over this and restore the peace and then the government should declare elections.

I never had faith in this government or the previous one. The majority of politicians are inadequate.

VASSILIKI POLYCHRONOPOULOU, TRAVEL JOURNALIST, ATHENS

I was caught up in the chaos as was everyone who lives in the centre. I took part in the peaceful march on the first day but it lasted for only an hour. The riots got really bad and people left.

I would like this government to resign. I think it is the least they can do
The police played a major role, firing tear gas at everybody. It was the worst I have ever seen in my life. It is not the first time they have attacked peaceful citizens.

I believe that the murder of this boy was a horrible incident. But it was just a spark for a general social discomfort to say the least. People are very disappointed. They don't believe that this government or any of the other parties are able to change things.

Sometimes you just need a leader to tell you something, to give you reason to be hopeful. This is not the case in Greece. Everyone is very disappointed and angry.

I would like this government to resign. I think it is the least they can do if they have any decency left inside them.



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