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Killing of Alexandros Grigoropoulos Still Haunts Greece

Alexandros GrigoropoulosAlexandros Grigoropoulos was shot and killed by a policeman on December 6, 2008. Public Domain

December 6, marks the anniversary of the killing of 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos by police officer Epaminondas Korkoneas in 2008, an act that stands as a landmark case of police brutality in Greece.

In more peaceful times, Greek society would mourn the death of a teenager and take a few minutes to think that law enforcement does not routinely include killing a boy in cold blood.

That police are here to protect and to serve, not take revenge on a minor delinquent act of a teenager.

Grecian Delight supports GreeceAlexandros GrigoropoulosA monument in memory of Alexandros Grigoropoulos. Public Domain

Anniversary of Alexandros Grigoropoulos an excuse for violent protests

Even the memory of Alexandros Grigoropoulos himself has become besmirched by the events. To the point that many of those who pretend that they mourn him on December 6 call him “Alexis,” maybe because it is easier to say than Alexandros, but more likely because they never bothered to find out what his real name was.

Students rally on December 6 supposedly in his memory. Initially, Grigoropoulos’ death symbolized the killing of young people’s dreams in a country in economic crisis. Korkoneas is the “old” who stands against anything that is young and new.

For students, however, the rallies soon became an opportunity to protest over education and school issues, the economic crisis, and what they saw as the bleak future ahead. For some, a good day to vent some teenage angst alongside their peers.

For anarchists, young and old, the murder of Grigoropoulos was just another example of authority throwing its weight against anyone who dares to question it. A state with a license to kill. A bona fide opportunity to destroy and cause havoc.

So the memory of Alexandros Grigoropoulos is slowly fading in the smoke of firebombs and the deafening sound of stun grenades. The sweetly-smiling boy in the Sex Pistols T-shirt is no longer with us in a tragic in memoriam. Now he is a convenient martyr of the church of nihilism. Or, at best, the poster boy of rebellious teenage fantasies.

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