(AFP) – Dec 5, 2009
ATHENS — Police in Greece detained more than 150 people in the capital Saturday in a series of raids ahead of the anniversary of the police killing of a teenage boy that sparked riots last year.
Two cars went up in flames in the Athens district of Exarchia, where 15-year-old Alexis Grigoropoulos was gunned down by a policeman on December 6 last year. His death fuelled weeks of violence across Greece.
Twelve people, including five Italians and three Albanians, were arrested over the attack on the cars, while a further 81 people were taken in from the surrounding area for questioning, a police source said.
Riot police stormed a town hall in the Keratsini district after it was briefly occupied, detaining 41 people.
In a separate raid in the western district of Keratsini, police detained a further 20 people in a suspected anarchist hideout. Officers found two petrol cannisters, sledgehammers and thirteen gas masks on the premises, police said
"The search confirmed prior information that this location was used to create explosives and launch attacks," a police statement said.
Around 500 people participated in protest marches in the northern city of Thessaloniki on Saturday night, local police said.
Greek police will be out in force to prevent trouble during this weekend's commemoration of Grigoropoulos' killing, with demonstrations planned on Sunday and Monday,
Some 6,000 police will be on duty in Athens alone, where trade unions and leftwing organisations will take to the streets.
Students have occupied dozens of universities and schools to mark the teenager's killing, according to staff unions.
Grigoropoulos was shot dead by a police officer who claimed he fired into the air whilst under attack by youths.
Thousands of people are expected to march through Athens on Sunday after a religious service at Grigoropoulos's tomb in the suburb of Palio Faliro.
Foreign demonstrators are also expected to travel to Greece for the commemoration, media reports said.
The policeman accused of the teenager's death is due to go on trial on January 20 charged with homicide.
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