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Society

Greek Cops Brace for Clashes With Anarchists Over Squatters, Teen’s Death Anniversary

December 5, 2019

ATHENS – Greek police could face a showdown with anarchists Dec. 6 over two flash points: the anniversary of the 2008 police shooting dead teenager Alexis Grigoropoulos and the end of a grace period for squatters to get out of buildings.

The notorious anti-establishment group Rouvikonas had dominated that area, tolerated by the former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA, before New Democracy took power in July 7 snap elections and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said he would take back control.

“We have prepared a defense and retaliation plan of pharaonic proportions,” Rouvikonas said on its Facebook page yesterday, challenging police to move on squats. Other anarchist groups are also organizing rallies “against oppression.”

Greek authorities will put 4,000 police on the streets, along with helicopters and drones, a tactic that seems to have worked to hold down violence on the Nov. 17 annual marking of a 1973 student uprising that helped bring down a military dictatorship backed by the United States.

Two rallies have been planned in the downtown of Greece’s capital, which will be blocked off to traffic as the Christmas shopping season swings into full gear. Key metro stops on the subway will also be shut down and police sentries will be posted, said Kathimerini.

Grigoropoulos was shot on the night of December 6, 2008, by police officer Epameinondas Korkoneas, who was released from prison on July under a leniency law passed by SYRIZA just before losing the election. The teen’s death sparked two weeks of riots.

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