On Sunday, December 6, progressive sections in Greece paid tribute to Alexandros Grigoropoulos, a 15-year-old student who was killed by two special guards of the Greek police in Exarcheia in 2008. The Greek police obstructed the mobilizations and other commemorative events across Greece under the garb of COVID-19 restrictions. Braving police repression, student groups and activists of the Communist Youth of Greece (KNE) paid tributes to Alexandros Grigoropoulos, while adhering to COVID-19 safety protocols.
12 years ago in the Exarcheia neighborhood of Athens, 15-year-old school student Alexandros Grigoropoulos was shot and killed by two special guards, Epaminondas Korkoneas and Vasilis Saraliotis. That incident triggered massive protests by the youth and students across Greece which the police tried to repress violently. These protests across Greece in December 2008 received widespread international solidarity as marches were held in various cities across the world against the atrocities of the Greek police. Aside from the anger against the killing of Grigoropoulos, there was also outrage against the economic and social crisis the country was facing and the corruption and inefficiency of the Greek authorities.
In 2010, Epaminondas Korkoneas and his accomplice Vasilis Saraliotis were found guilty. The former was sentenced to lifetime along with an additional 15 months of imprisonment while the latter was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment by the trial court. But in 2019, the life sentence against Korkoneas was overturned on appeal and reduced to 13 years imprisonment and he was subsequently released from prison, courting widespread outrage across Greece.
The central committee of the Communist Youth of Greece (KNE) released a statement this year which said that “the cold-blooded murder of 15-year-old Alexis Grigoropoulos by special guard Ep. Korkoneas, on December 6, 2008, proves that the attack on the life and rights of the people and the youth has been inextricably linked to state violence and repression, police brutality.”
KNE added that “12 years after the assassination of Alexandros Grigoropoulos, new links are constantly being added to the chain of measures of state terrorism, authoritarianism and repression, promoted by all governments, in order to effectively shield the exploitative system.”
The secretary general of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), Dimitris Koutsoumpas, condemned the high handedness by the Greek police who obstructed people from attending the commemorative events for Alexandros Grigoropoulos organized in compliance with the COVID-19 safety protocols.