Greek Police are bracing for expected riots on Thursday, the tenth anniversary of the killing of teenager Alexandros Grigoropoulos by a police officer. The young man was killed during a demonstration in Exarchia, in central Athens.
Five thousand police officers, including riot police and officers in plain clothes, will be employed in hopes of preventing the violent clashes that have taken place on December 6 of every year since 2008.
The authorities are afraid that Greek anarchist groups will try to imitate the French rioters who wreaked havoc this week along the Champs-Elysees in the center of the French capital.
Another cause of concern for law enforcement is the recent rivalry between high school students who have been divided into two political camps. One group opposes the Prespa agreement on the FYROM name change; the other follows the government line and favors the deal.
Since most of the protesters who mark the anniversary of the Grigoropoulos death are students, there is additional concern that students might end up clashing with each other.
Police are also concerned that December 6 will become a symbolic day for attacks against police stations. There have been several such attacks in recent months, and authorities expect more on Thursday in “retaliation” for the murder of Grigoropoulos.
There will be additional security measures to prevent such attacks, with all Hellenic Police agencies on high alert. There is also fear that anarchist groups may launch police station attacks on the eve of the Grigoropoulos anniversary as a precursor to the expected Thursday demonstrations.
Police helicopters will be flying over the center of Athens during the day of December 6 to monitor any suspicious activity.
On Thursday there will also be a scheduled demonstration organized by political parties of the Left and allied political groups.