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Protests and clashes with police after death of Roma boy

Carrying banners and shouting “Murderers” thousands of Greeks protest in Athens, Thessaloniki and other cities for the death of 16-year-old Kostas Fragoulis, an unarmed Roma boy shot in the head by a police officer.

 

At the time, angry members of Roma communities across the country have started fires and set barricades in protest.

After nine days intubated in ICU in a hospital in Thessaloniki Kostas Fragloulis died on Tuesday morning.

In Athens, Thessaloniki, Chania and Patras, people took to the streets with slogans such as “16-year-old dead for 20 euros of petrol”.

At some point the otherwise peaceful protests turned into clashes with riot police, stones, sticks, molotov cocktail bombs, flash-bangs and teargas.

Θάνατος 16χρονου Ρομά: 23 προσαγωγές στα επεισόδια στην Αθήνα

At least 26 people were detained in Athens, so far, reports newsit.gr.

 

Roma protest in several parts of the country

A fire broke out in a Roma camp in Aspropyrgos, West Attica, when protesters started to burn tires. Two trains of Proastiakos were forced to return to previous stations as the flames spread to the rail tracks.

Roma in Kamares area, Evia, started fires and gathered in order to plan a march towards Halkida and the Evia police headquarters.

The ring road outside the Roma camp in the “Karakonero” area, in the city of Rhodes, was closed this evening by dozens of Roma, mainly young people. They started fires and set up barricades. They shout slogans and demand justice.

Strong police forces and two vehicles of the Rhodes Fire Service rushed to the scene.

Charges against police officer to be upgraded

The charges against the 34-year-old police officer, who shot 16-year-old Roma boy, are being upgraded.

Citing judicial sources, state-run news agency amna reports that following the victim’s death, the investigator handling the case file will request that a new criminal prosecution be instituted, a more correct legal characterization of the act attributed to the police officer.

The officer was initially charged with “attempted murder with possible intention”, which is a felony.

Within the next 24 hours, the Criminal Court of Thessaloniki will decide on the criminal treatment of the 34-year-old police officer. The court’s Judicial Council will decide whether the accused officer will be remanded or set free on bail pending trial.

After the death of Kostas Fragoulis, the Greek Police have been set on general alert  reportedly “until further notice for reasons of public order and security”.
This essentially means that all scheduled vacations are “frozen”, days off are cut and working hours are abolished if deemed necessary. It also means there may be more police forces deployment.

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One comment

  1. I am in Greece now, visiting from the UK and Cyprus and, very saddened to know this has happened. The Roma people are very close to my heart and have often spent time with them on my visits to Athens, while in the past, staing in their welcoming community while on a long visit to Thrace.
    I have asked, read and understood the wealth of their ancient culture, language and difficult recent history. Also experiencing their rich creative culture, their visual and photographic ways of seeing the world, their musical excellence, their unique ways of communication and expansive intelligence, unsurpassed by the limits of set western ways of thinking.
    I have often been accepted, with mutual love and respect, into their lives and community. My visits to Athens are never complete, without visiting Roma friends, to share stories and snacks, to create art, chat or share music while walking together or sitting for hot chocolate at coffee shop of Monastiraki…

    However the racism towards them in Athens, and in Thrace for that matter, is nothing more than despicable where I have personally witnessed this often.

    In Athens, we where heavily surrounded by batton armed police officers, who made sure we saw what they where holding ,as we sat together talking, smiling and sharing potato crisps. The kids where so afraid but I reassured them all is OK. After. as a foreign visitor, I had words with the police.

    I was also threatened by a lawyer I knew, after he chose to racially attack them in his speech to me, once he found out I tend to spend valuable time with them on my visits to Athens. Time which is so beautiful and loving to me…

    In Thrace, events happened that saddened me beyond human understanding. While being given a warm welcome by a Roma family, the local Greek community began to threaten them, without my awareness. They had sent the police to violate their peace for accepting me into their lives to the point of where I took the initiative to go to the police station to defuse the unjust condemnation and violation of their rights.

    The police officers laughed and confessed to their actions ” Oh, we did it on purpose to threaten them. W e always do this like this. Don’t worry, we are not after you. You don’t need to give your ID details. Our actions are not against you but them. You know what we mean!”. Thinking that I would agree and support their illegal actions. I mentioned that they have been nothing but pleasant, generous and kind and they should be left to live in peace.

    In the region I have also seen an elderly gentleman of perhaps 80 years old, left hanging off the local bus as he was boarding, by a driver who sped away while closing the doors as the very pleasant man was holding onto the railing with one foot on the bus, while the abusive driver further hurled verbal abuse on him.

    I am not Roma but my dark hair has instigated racist abuse on me too while in Greece. While on an overnight train from Thrace to Arta, I and a friend where refused to sit by other travelers sharing the same cubicle. They deliberately stretched their bodies and limbs over our numbered seats, while in anger shouting, get out, you have no space here, go and find another place. As my companion went to find out of the cubicle to find a peaceful solution to this harsh dilemma, a man within, raised his hand to hit and punch me as he has stopped in mid air with a timely grasp by my companion and the conductor who had just walked in through the door.
    The conductor told them that this is where they will sit, only for the next hour to sit at the edge of the seat because they gave us no more space.
    Once they understood we where not Roma through our speech, they appologised and mentioned, “Why did you not say that you’re not?! We thought you where Roma.” Their attitude changed, and they withdrew to the edges of the bench, giving us not only our seats, but most of theirs too. “You know what we mean” They said… And as mentioned these are just a few of such unjust experiences. Saddened and distressed at what I had experienced, I knew, I would be leaving soon but was deeply saddened at the unjust fate and continuous abuse of the Roma and other Greek citizens of minority cultures of the region.

    Not to mention the times I was accused of theft, threatened and unlawfully violated and emotionally abused while shopping in Athens due to my dark hair and Mediterranean complexion and asked to illegally empty my bags over a theft of tahini paste which was never witnessed as it was never taken, or closely followed by members of staff while warning other visitors in the shop to hide their valuables from my presence with hard accusing glances in my direction…

    I happen to be a British citizen with Cypriot ancestry, well educated, well travelled, well read and I know happen to know my legal and international human rights to dignity. From all my international travels, the worst racism, I have ever felt is in Athens and Trace. And believe me, I have travelled to many far and beautiful locations, welcoming places, communities and landscapes of the world, with warm, heartfelt humanity and rich creative cultural diversity. The Roma is one such unique, nomadic, warm, creative and beautiful community with so much wisdom and history to share. Knowledge and wisdom that has positively impacted the world with their creativity through music, dance, from the guitar, the drum, to belly dance and flamenco, the arts, culture and so much more, wherever they have nomadically, spiritually, intrinsically and eternally travelled.

    With respect, I write these words, dedicated to the boy who has so unjustly, through lost his life through the lack of social education and intelligence by some in the Greek community and the Police. I also dedicate these words to the beautiful Roma, Tsingan, Kiligir, Gyptic, and all nomadic tribes from the Middle east, to India, Pakistan, China and Central Asia and along the silk road, who connected the wisdom of east and west, and have so kindly accepted me into their most ancient nomadic communities and lives.

    A cultural treasure to be marveled and valued for their gift to the world.

    May humanity find the heart to embrace each and every race, as we are part of our one human community…

    With respect,

    Lazaro

    PS I have had my phone stolen for the first time ever, on my visit now to Greece. Please understand that I now do not have access to my email due to this.