Greeks protest police killing of 16-year-old Roma youth

16-year-old Kostas Fragkoulis died eight days after being shot by a police officer allegedly because he did not pay EU 20 for gasoline. Left and progressive organizations have condemned the killing

December 17, 2022 by Peoples Dispatch
The funeral of Kostas Fragkoulis. Photo:

Progressive sections across Greece have condemned the killing of a 16-year-old Roma youth by the police. Hundreds of people participated in the funeral ceremony of the young Kostas Fragkoulis, on Thursday, December 15, at the Evosmos cemetery In Thessaloniki. Protests denouncing his death also took place in the cities of Thessaloniki and Athens. Roma groups, anti-fascist and anti-racist groups, and members of organizations such as the Communist Party of  Greece (KKE),  Communist Youth of Greece (KNE), Students’ Struggle Front (MAS), and All Workers Militant Front (PAME) took part in the protests.

Kostas Fragkoulis was chased and shot in the head by a police motorcyclist in Thessaloniki on December 5 after allegedly attempting to drive away from a service station without paying 20 Euros (21.16 USD) for fuel. He died on December 13. The police officer who shot Fragkoulis was suspended and put under house arrest. The leadership of the Roma community – one of the largest minority groups in Greece – noted that “It wasn’t the gas, it wasn’t the money, the cops shot because he was Roma.”

Members from the secretariat of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and Communist Youth of Greece (KNE) visited Fragkoulis’s family and resolved to continue the struggle for justice.

While responding to news on the police shooting, on December 14, General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Greece (KKE), Dimitris Koutsoumbas said, “The same reactionary state that bursts into the houses of the people, which represses the rights and freedoms of the people, shoots and ultimately murders a 16-year-old because he did not pay 20 euros for gasoline. We will say it again and again: No cover-up, no tolerance, for state violence and repression.”

Koutsoumbas also demanded the disbanding of special repressive forces which are arms of the state.

In its statement, the All Workers’ Militant Front (PAME) opined that “With energy poverty, poverty and inflation taking away what is left of the people’s income, with the destruction of workers’ rights and people’s freedoms, it is a given that reactions, struggles and demands will grow. That is why the forces of repression are being reinforced in every way.”

“We will not tolerate it! We demand that all those responsible be held accountable and punished,” added PAME.