Riots in Athens

This item appears on page 21 of the February 2009 issue.

In Athens, Greece, a teenage boy was shot by a policeman on Dec. 6. Demonstrators threw rocks and petrol bombs at the police, who responded with tear gas, and riots spread that lasted for weeks, involving thousands of people in more than 10 cities.

Hundreds of businesses were damaged, burned or looted and many injuries were reported as youths fought running battles with police.

Students claimed to be protesting not only the unwarranted death of the boy but high youth unemployment, the widening economic gap between rich and poor, unpopular government reforms and corruption. Labor unions staged work stoppages to protest the shooting, and on one day air traffic controllers walked off the job.

From the original shooting, one officer has been charged with murder and another as an accomplice.