Monday there were big and violent protests in Thessaloniki, in northern Greece, after the same day a policeman shot a 16-year-old Roma boy in the head who had walked away from a petrol station without paying 20 euros. The boy was driving a pick-up and was being chased by a patrol of motorcycle police, warned by the employees of the petrol station. At the moment the boy is in a Thessaloniki hospital in serious condition, while the policeman suspected of having shot him has been suspended from duty and arrested on charges of attempted murder.
About a hundred people from the Roma community blocked the main road outside the hospital where the boy is being treated, setting up barricades and setting fire to bins and rubbish. Around 1,500 people took part in a protest march organized by leftist and anarchist groups in Thessaloniki on Monday night, which quickly turned violent: demonstrators smashed shops and threw Molotov cocktails at the police, who tried to repress the demonstration with tear gas and stun grenades.
In Athens, the capital, there was instead a peaceful march, in which the demonstrators accused the policeman of having shot the boy because he was Roma: the Greek authorities are often accused of racism against Roma people by members of the community and by human rights activists. In recent years there have been others cases of Roma people killed or injured in clashes with the police.