Police in Athens detained around 100 people during protests on the occasion of the 12th anniversary of a teen’s death, which has attracted a lot of controversies.
On Sunday, authorities in Greece announced a ban on public gathering of more than 4 people as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of the corona virus.
Around 4000 police officers were deployed to prevent the gatherings on Sunday and the city center metro stations were also closed.
Scores of students carrying flowers, trade unionists and leftist politicians tried to flout the COVID-19 measures. They were paying tribute to a 15 year old, Alexandros Grigoropoulos who was shot dead by a police officer in Exarcheia in 2008.
Epaminondas Korkoneas, the officer responsible for the shooting, was convicted for the murder and sentenced to life imprisonment, but then released in 2019.
At the time of his murder, the country flared up, with students, left-wing activists and others increasingly participating in large protests, which turned violent at times. Every year since then, there have been protests and small-scale clashes with the police on 6th December.
Most of the arrests took place in Exarcheia(neighborhood in central Athens), where 60 people were detained for defying the ban.
A viral video highlighted riot police breaking into an apartment building in Exarcheia on Sunday afternoon to drive out would-be protesters.
One clip showed police tossing stun-grenades into the buildings. Another video highlighted officers pushing photojournalists and other members of the media.
Authorities in Greece have extended the COVID-19 restrictions to December 14 in response to increasing infection rates.
Political opponents have criticized the use of COVID-19 measures as a pretext for imposing increasingly heavy-handed security measures.
A November 17 demonstration commemorating the 1973 Athens Polytechnic uprising against the Greek military dictatorship, was violently broken up.
Police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the protesters and clashes with police were reported.