Alexander Grigoropoulos, 15, is shot dead by Hellenic Police Special Guard Epameinondas Korkoneas at Exarcheia, on the 6th of December 2008. The two special guards, after originally driving away, parked their vehicle and returned to the scene of the crime on foot. Korkoneas his colleague to "find the punks who threw bottles at us in Navarinou Street". One of the guards, Vasilis Saraliotis, threw a flash-bang grenade towards the youths, while the other, Epameinondas Korkoneas, toook out his pistol and shot Alexandros Grigoropoulos. The bullet proved fatal for the 15-year-old. When the two special guards realised they had hit the boy, they fled the scene. The whole city is up in flames since that night. There are riots in every street and every other wall has graffiti with slogans like "cops, pigs, killers", "15 years old and dead" or "these nights belong to Alexis".The riots spread throughout the country and even abroad. The situation is uncontrollable. Some people take advantage of the chaos and loot shops, while policement provoke further riots and right-wing extremists also join the battle. Videos show hooded attackers collaborating with the police, and the provocations against students and regular citizens demonstrating are unprecedented. Witnesses claim that policemen were taunting demonstrators saying "Where is Alexis now?"
Meanwhile, the special guard Epameinondas Korkoneas is being represented by lawyer Alexis Kougias. During a demonstration, his office is attacked. Attacks also continue in the media, both officially and unofficially. The defense claims that the bullet was deflected, which is verified by ballistics. The young victim's family are sure it was muder. The demonstrations, sit-ins and attacks against police stations and various other state building go on for weeks. They only dwindle around Christmas time, but then extremist groups start attacking the police, someone shoots a SWAT team bus with an AK-47 and a few days later a young policeman is seriously injured in Exarcheia. The circle of violence does not stop. 37-year-old E.Korkoneas, father of three, originally claims: "I had no intention of killing. I tried to defend myself so that me and Vasilis could walk out of there alive". Later though he shocked colleagues who visited him, saying: "what would you have done, if the police car was attacked? wouldn't you have protected your life?"
"Even shots in the air are forbidden in residential areas, exactly because of the fear that a bystander could get hit while standing on a balcony" a higher police official told "NEA" newspaper. Alexander's mother, Tzina Tsalikian, has refused to speak to the media. She etched what she had to say on two black pieces of granite. The first, next to Alexis' photograph, says "Alexander Grigoropoulos, 15 years old, murdered on 6th December 2008". The other, a few of Shakespeare's timeless lines from Hamlet, speaking of all the "Alexanders" that would follow:
"Had I but time,O, I could tell you. But let it be.I am dead. Thou livest. Report me and my cause aright to the unsatisfied."
" My friends called me prince, yet I never imagined this name would capture the public. These princes die innocent, murdered in battles that were never fought."
Greeks used to see hideous crimes on TV happening in America, or generally outside Greece itself. If such an unusual crime ever took place in Greece, people would say "we've become like Chicago". Today the reality in Greece includes violence and criminality to an alarming extent. The Hellenic Police's capability of dealing with such cases is dwindling by the day. Police vehicles have no tyres or petrol, the services are underoperating and there is a lack of personell and resources. Insecurity reigns amongst citizens.
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