THESSALONIKI, GREECE (AP) – Violent protests broke out in Greece’s second-largest city over the police shooting on Monday of a Roma teenager after he allegedly filled his vehicle at a gas station and drove off without paying.
The 16-year-old boy was being treated in critical condition at a Thessaloniki hospital.
The officer who allegedly shot him in the head was arrested and suspended from duty, police in the northern city said.
About 1,500 people took part in a protest march organised by left-wing and anarchist groups in central Thessaloniki on Monday night. Some smashed shops and threw Molotov cocktails at police, who responded with tear gas and stun grenades.
Police detained six people after the end of the march.
Before that protest, about a hundred Roma men set up barricades, blocking a main road outside the hospital where the boy was being treated, and set fire to trash cans.
Police had used stun grenades and tear gas earlier to disperse protesters throwing bottles at them outside the hospital. The injured youth was not named but identified by relatives as being a member of the Roma minority.
Police said the 34-year-old officer arrested on suspicion of shooting the teenager was suspended and an internal investigation was under way.
The incident occurred outside Thessaloniki before dawn on Monday. Officers from a motorcycle patrol chased the teenager’s pickup truck after authorities a gas station employee reported the unpaid bill of EUR20.
The arrested officer appeared before a public prosecutor yesterday on charges of attempted manslaughter.
Police said the officer fired two shots to try and stop the suspect from ramming the pursuing motorcycle on which the office was a passenger.
A statement said the driver of the pickup truck had “repeatedly made dangerous manoeuvres” and drove through red lights before the shots were fired, adding that the vehicle subsequently crashed.
Asked to comment on the shooting, government spokesman Giannis Oikonomou said, “The value of a human life can never be measured by any amount of money.”