Friday, December 12, 2008

Fresh violence in Athens, man hurt

Listeng Here

At least 70 people have been injured since Saturday when the rioting broke out within hours of the killing of 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos. Hundreds of stores have been damaged or destroyed.

Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis has ignored opposition calls for early elections and promised shopkeepers affected by riots generous compensation, including 10,000 (464,300 baht) handouts to cover short-term needs.

Although no major protests were planned yesterday, tension persisted in Athens and the northern city of Thessaloniki, students occupying their high schools and university faculties. They planned a demonstration in Athens today.

Authorities have renewed appeals for calm, with influential church leaders joining in attempts to ease tension.

While being generally tolerant of occasional outbreaks of violence during frequent demonstrations, Greeks have been shocked by the ferocity displayed by teenager rioters and the extent of the destruction.

‘‘Is this our youth?’’ exclaimed an elderly woman as she picked her way past the rubble of a burned out shop near the Athens Polytechnic, where some of the most severe rioting took place. ‘‘Who needs youth like this? Why don’t they go and burn the prime minister’s house? What fault was it of these people [who lost their store]?’’

Two separate opinion polls published on Wednesday, before the aid package was announced, showed 68% of Greeks disapproved of the government’s handling of the crisis, and gave a nearly 5 percentage-point lead to the opposition Socialists.

The exact circumstances of the death are disputed.

Two police officers charged in the shooting said they had come under attack by rock-throwing youths, and that one of the officers fired warning shots. Witnesses who have spoken to the media disputed that account.

A prosecutor ordered the two officers remanded in custody late on Wednesday, pending trial. No date has been set.

hurl – to throw something with a lot of force
pelt – to throw objects with force at someone or something
sporadic – not regular or frequent
scores – a large number of people or things (one score is 20)
ignore – to not consider something, or to not let it influence you
generous – more than is usual or expected
compensation – money that someone receives because something bad has happened to them
handout – an amount of money or goods given to people who need them
tension – the feeling caused by a lack of trust between people, groups, or countries who do not agree about something and may attack each other
persist – to continue to exist
demonstration – an occasion when a large group of people protest about something
appeal – an urgent request
tolerant – willing to accept
occasional – happening sometimes but not frequently or regularly
outbreak – the sudden start of war, disease, violence, etc.
ferocity – violence or extreme force
extent – the size or degree to which something happens
rubble – broken pieces of stone and brick from buildings, walls, etc. that have been destroyed
crisis – an urgent, difficult or dangerous situation
circumstances – facts or conditions that affect a situation
disputed – not in agreement
witness – someone who sees something happen
account – a written or spoken report on something that has happened ย
prosecutor – a lawyer whose job is to prove in court that someone accused of a crime is guilty
remand in custody – to keep under police control until a trial is held
pending – waiting for something to happen

Posted by Terry Fredrickson at 09:36 AM

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