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On December 6, 2008 Alexis Grigoropoulos, age 15, was hanging out with his friends, when two officers approached the group of boys, allegedly trying to provoke them. Verbal assaults initiated by the police resulted in Alexis’s murder.
Demonstrations in Athens on Wednesday marked the ninth anniversary of the teenager’s death. 15-year-old Alexis was shot dead by one of the Special Guards in Exarchia, a neighborhood of central Athens known for its counter-culture vibe.
In a city often plagued by civil unrest, it is considered a hotspot for anarchists and would-be rebels; unsurprisingly, tensions between the police and local teens always run high. This has only been exacerbated by the country's youth unemployment rate, which has ebbed to just over 40 percent. At the height of the country's economic crisis in 2013, 60 percent of young Greeks were unemployed.
Every year people take to the streets to commemorate the boy's death – a ritual that invariably turns violent. Last year, masked youths clashed with fully-armed riot cops, and the police had to respond with tear gas.
Today, the protesters have vandalized properties, thrown stones and gasoline bombs and set cars on fire, but the riot police have not interfered yet.
Social media have shown that people still remember what happened that very day 9 years ago and it seems that the police will never be forgiven for that.
The guard who killed Grigoropoulos, Epaminondas Korkoneas, was found guilty of intentional homicide and sentenced to life imprisonment in 2010. The second officer was charged with complicity.
2017.12.06 / 18:44