Peaceful rallies have been held in the Greek capital Athens and in other cities a week after the police killing of a youth which sparked violent unrest. Thousands of rioters went on the rampage nationwide, vandalising shops, burning cars and pelting police with stones. “Today, we want to carry out a peaceful protest, not like the riots of previous days,” said one young protestor. “That’s why we’ve gathered here today, to protest peacefully.”
More than 400 people have been arrested in the riots, which have been blamed on student and anarchist protestors. In Greece, the violence has now abated but there are fears it could spread to other European cities, where there has been minor unrest. The officer charged with the killing says he fired in self-defence at a group of stone-throwing youths. However, analysts believe the causes run deep and reflect growing public anxiety and anger over political scandals and a slowing economy – a situation compounded by the global financial crisis.