Protests in Greece after the police shot a teenager

Violent protests erupted in the Greek city of Thessaloniki late Monday after police shot a 16-year-old boy who allegedly filled his car at a petrol station and drove off without paying.

The teen remains in critical condition in the hospital. The officer who allegedly shot him in the head was arrested and suspended. Authorities say an internal investigation is underway. The officer is scheduled to appear before the Public Prosecutor on Tuesday on charges of attempted premeditated murder.

About 1,500 people participated in the protest and six were arrested.

Prior to this protest, about a hundred Roma men set up barricades, blocked a main road outside the hospital where the boy was being treated, and set rubbish bins on fire. Police used stun grenades and tear gas earlier to disperse protesters who threw bottles at them outside the hospital.

Several hundred also participated in a peaceful protest march in central Athens to protest the shooting of a teenager as well as an earlier incident in which a Roma man was killed during a police chase. And the demonstrators in the Greek capital held a banner that read, “They were shot because they are Roma.”

Roma in Greece and human rights activists often accuse the Greek authorities of discriminating against Roma. Several Roma men have been shot dead or injured in recent years during confrontations with police while allegedly trying to evade arrest for breaking the law.

The name of the injured youth was not released but he was identified by his relatives as belonging to the Roma minority.

The incident occurred outside Thessaloniki before dawn on Monday. Officers from motorcycle patrol chased the teen’s pickup truck after authorities reported an unpaid €20 bill to a gas station employee.

Police say the officer fired two shots to try to prevent the suspect from crashing into the motorcycle he was riding. The truck driver “repeatedly performed dangerous maneuvers” and ran red lights before the shots were fired, a statement said, adding that the vehicle subsequently crashed.

Asked to comment on the shooting, government spokesman Giannis Okonomo said: “The value of human life cannot be measured by any amount of money.”

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