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Society

Heavy Fines if Protesters Defy Ban to Mark Greek Teen’s 2008 Killing

December 6, 2020

ATHENS – Anticipating there could be protests – despite a COVID-19 ban on public gatherings – to note the 2008 slaying of 15-year-old Alexander Grigoropoulos by a special police guard, Greek police warned they would face heavy fines.

Individuals who violate the second lockdown measure could be penalized 300 euros ($363.69) while organizers could face fines of 3,000 euros ($3636.91) and as much as 5,000 euros ($6061.52) if they are legal entities, said Kathimerini.

Police also closed a number of metro stations downtown to try to prevent people from getting the area, especially site in the anarchist enclave of Exarchia where Grigropoulos was struck by a bullet.

As people congregated then at the site, shots were fired by two special police guards with one of them, Epaminondas Korkoneas, convicted but released from jail in July, 2019.

The teen's death sparked angry confrontations on the street between anarchists and riot police and a spate of arson attacks against buildings and cars that tore through the center of the Greek capital.

Protests since then haven't been as violent but the New Democracy government has put in a place a law requiring leaders of demonstrations to notify police and public gatherings of any kind have been banned during a second COVID-19 lockdown.

Police said the ban on demonstrating would be in place from 5 p.m. until midnight as people are allowed to leave their homes for permissible missions such as going to supermarkets, pharmacies, exercise and walking a bet but a curfew begins at 9 p.m.

The government cited public health as the reason for banning any marches although it was unable to do so for the Nov. 17 day that marked a 1973 student uprising that helped bring down a ruling junta of Colonels.

Some 4,000 police were expected to enforce the ban, said the state-run Athens-Macedonia News Agency (ANA-MPA) and be concentrated in Exarchia and other spots where anti-establishment groups marked.

That is despite many lawyers, journalists, teachers, artists and other people who have signed a text calling on people to pay tribute at the site of Grigoropoulos' murder while observing health protocols to wear masks and stay a safe social distance.

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