Thessaloniki: Violent protests in Greece after Romany boy shot by police

Roma Thessalonki

About 1,500 people participate in a protest march in Thessaloniki with a teenager in critical condition.

In Greece's second-largest city, there have been violent protests in response to the police shooting of a Romany youngster who allegedly filled up his car at a gas station and left without paying.

The 16-year-old received treatment in a hospital in Thessaloniki and was in critical condition. Police in the northern city told the officer accused of shooting the man in the head was detained and placed on administrative leave.

On Monday night, 1,500 people participated in a protest march in the centre of Thessaloniki that leftist and anarchist organisations organised. Police were attacked with Molotov cocktails and shop-breaking when some of them threw tear gas and shock grenades at them. There were no reported arrests or injuries at the march's conclusion.

Before that protest, about a hundred Romany men set up barricades blocking the main road outside the hospital where the boy was being treated and set fire to bins. Police had used stun grenades and teargas earlier to disperse protesters throwing bottles at them outside the hospital.

Several hundred people participated in a peaceful protest march in central Athens over the shooting and a past incident in which a Romany man was shot during a police chase. The demonstrators in Greece’s capital had a banner reading: “They shot them because they were Roma.”

Members of the Romany community in Greece and human rights activists frequently accuse Greek authorities of discriminating against Roma. Several Romany men have been fatally shot or injured in recent years during confrontations with police while allegedly seeking to evade arrest for breaches of the law.

The boy was not named but was identified by relatives as a member of the Romany minority.

Police said the 34-year-old officer arrested on suspicion of shooting the teenager was suspended, and an internal investigation was underway.