GREECE: Thousands of protesters have marched through Thessaloniki and Athens in outrage at the death of a young boy who was shot in the head during a police chase last week. Leaders of the Roma community in Greece have pleaded for peace.
The unidentified 16-year-old youngster passed suddenly on Tuesday, eight days after being shot by a police motorcycle officer for allegedly leaving a gas station without paying for 20 euros’ worth of gasoline.
The patient passed away today despite the tremendous efforts of the intensive care unit staff, according to a statement from Thessaloniki’s Ippokratio hospital.
The youngster has been in intensive care ever since the shooting-related emergency surgery. Thursday has been set aside for his funeral.
Despite repeated requests from his families and local authorities for the protests to stay peaceful, the shooting sparked days of frequently violent protests in the two cities and other regions of Greece.
“Around 2,500 people protested in Thessaloniki, where the adolescent resided and passed away. A similar protest march took place in Athens after student and anarchist organizations demanded demonstrations in response to his passing. In numerous regions of the country, demonstrators blocked highways and set tires on fire,” according to a local media in Greece.
A riot police unit was nearby when approximately 50 people, according to Thessaloniki police, burst out of an adjacent university campus on Tuesday afternoon and tossed numerous molotov cocktails at it. There were no reported injuries.
After the youngster filled up his pickup truck at a gas station and allegedly fled without paying the 20 euros, a police officer on a motorcycle shot him during a chase.
The teenager allegedly attempted to ram the pursuing police motorcycles, according to the authorities. The 34-year-old police officer charged in the case said last week during his first court appearance that he had intended to shoot at the pickup truck’s tires rather than the driver because he feared for the lives of his comrades.
In recent years, several Roma men have allegedly tried to avoid being arrested for breaking the law by engaging in physical altercations with police, resulting in their being shot, wounded, or killed.
Greek Roma people frequently live on the outskirts of society and have long suffered persecution.
The police officer who is accused of firing the fatal shot was placed on administrative leave and has been under house arrest since Friday on charges of attempted manslaughter with possible intent and unlawful use of a weapon.
Due to the teen’s death, the felony charge may be changed to manslaughter. In the upcoming days, a court decision on whether to imprison the cop or release him on bail pending trial is anticipated.