A police officer shot a teenager in the head as he fled a gas station, apparently without paying, and the boy is now fighting for his life in a hospital in Greece. The 16-year-old Roma youngster was shot twice by the cop in Thessaloniki, Greece’s second-largest city.
On Monday, protesters flocked to the streets and doused police with gasoline bombs. The incident has brought attention to the persistent problem of police violence in Greek cities. In a car pursuit outside of Athens last year, an 18-year-old Roma man named Nikos Sampanis was shot and killed, and on December 6, 2008, a 15-year-old child was killed in the nation’s capital during a police night patrol.
Every year, there are significant protests in Athens and other towns in remembrance of Alexis Grigoropoulos’s death in Exarchia’s central district. On Tuesday, thousands of officers were stationed throughout the capital to quell unrest. The juvenile who carried out the most recent shooting refuelled his car with fuel costing €20 (£17) before driving off. Four cops were in the gas station at the time, according to CCTV published on Tuesday.
Police on motorcycles after the 16-year-old as he fled in his car. He allegedly turned his car at them with the intention of striking them, according to the police. After hearing of his shooting, members of the neighbourhood Roma community demonstrated in front of the Thessaloniki hospital where the youngster underwent surgery to remove the bullet from his skull. Protesters joined friends and relatives at the scene and stones were thrown at police, who responded with stun grenades.
According to local sources, in the west of the city, Roma protesters set fire to tyres and trash cans. The police officer who was shot in court was also charged with attempted homicide and other offences. A video from outside the court that later went viral shows a man who has been identified as the boy’s father being physically assaulted by police. While being flung to the ground, the individual is seen being surrounded by riot cops.
The Council of Europe estimates that there are over 270,000 Roma (Gypsies) in Greece, the majority of whom reside in squalid conditions. The boy’s lawyer told reporters that they did not want him to turn into another Alexis Grigoropoulos as the young man lay in a severe condition at a hospital in Thessaloniki.
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