Dec 28, 2008



A riot policeman in flames runs to escape during a riot in Athens on Dec. 12: Dashed hopes and opportunities

A riot policeman in flames runs to escape during a riot in Athens on Dec. 12: Dashed hopes and opportunities

The Revolt of a Disappointed Generation

By Manfred Ertel and Daniel Steinvorth

The violent unrest that followed the shooting of a 15-year-old boy has driven Greece to the brink of a political crisis. The rioting marks an explosion of rage by the country's young people who have few prospects of carving out a place in a society where all initiative is stifled.

The mood in the jam-packed auditorium was reminiscent of the student protest movements of 1968. Hundreds of young people thronged their way into the dark room, sat on the steps or stood on tables. They shouted "murderers" and "pigs" -- and thunderously applauded calls for revenge. Cigarette smoke and the smell of sweat hung heavily in the air.

Jorgos Barutas, 29, had to struggle to make himself heard. The computer engineer, sporting a five-day beard and steel-rimmed glasses, stood at the foot of the steep rows of seats and shouted up to the audience with a throaty voice. "We have to hold out until the government steps down." Applause. "We have to transform the protests into a political movement." Applause. "We have to formulate political objectives." Followed again by thunderous applause. Barutas stepped down from the stage, feeling satisfied, and the students poured out of the hall.

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Police Squash Violent Hamburg Protest

While police and demonstraters continued to battle on the streets of Athens over the weekend, German police broke up a large sympathy protest after it grew violent.

Scores of German riot police confronted an estimated 950 protesters in Hamburg over the weekend who were expressing their sympathy for student protesters in Greece by marching under the banner of "Solidarity is a weapon."

Police reported that the protest actions -- which allegedly included numerous members of the far-left anarchist scene -- were broken up on Saturday after they escalated to rioting, with special police units and journalists being pelted with bottles, iron rods and fireworks. Four police officers were reported injured.

Photo Gallery: Rioting Continues in Athens, Hamburg:


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Protest actions, some violent, continued to bring chaos to the streets of Athens over
the weekend as police battled street-fighting sparked by the Dec. 6 police killing of
15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos.

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