At least 15 people have been arrested after a peaceful support rally for jailed hunger strike anarchist turned into violent confrontation with police. Authorities used tear gas and stun grenades to quell rioters carrying Molotov cocktails.
As an estimated between 8,000 and 10,000 protesters marched through the central Athens shouting slogans in support of Nikos Romanos, the imprisoned anarchist who is staging a hunger strike as he demands the right to be able to attend university, anarchists’ march got violent on the streets of Exarchia, downtown Athens.
The focus of the riots became the gate of the Athens University, on Stournari road, where some 80 rioters entered the premises.
Tuesday’s violence followed a large, up to 10,000 people strong rally in support of a jailed Romanos, who has been on hunger strike since November 10 to protest prison authorities’ refusal to let him leave the prison to attend university.
Doctors have earlier voiced concern about his health.
On Tuesday, Nikos Romanos’s father Giorgos told reporters that his son’s life is in mortal danger.
“The life of my child is in great danger and the Minister of Justice, with his hypocritical and calm and sober style has been dealing with [electric] bracelets for two years,” Giorgos Romanos said Thetoc online quotes.
Nikos Romanos was good friends with Alexandros Grigoropoulos, the unarmed pupil who was shot dead by a policeman during the anti-austerity riots in the Greek capital in 2008. Fifteen years old at the time, he witnessed his friend die. Romanos then became one of the symbols of public rage against authorities that has triggered rioting against police violence.