Greek police investigate officer who opened fire after being attacked by protesters
A police officer pulled out his gun and shot four rounds in the air after being attacked by a group of people in the center of Athens.
On Wednesday afternoon, scuffles occurred outside the University of Economics (ASOEE), on Patission Street in central Athens. A group of about 35 people placed bins in the street as barricades and set fire to some of them.
It all started when a passing police car was attacked with what an eye witness told CGTN were stones. Then one of the police officers on board pulled out a gun and fired four times in the air.
This incident created an intense confrontation between the police, the government, and the opposition. It provoked a heated political debate between members of the New Democracy and Syrizia parties.
New Democracy candidate Dimitris Venieris said that "when we say that when a policeman is in defense, he can do things, he can do things." Meanwhile, Syrzia MP Alexandros Triantaphyllides said "you don't pull out a gun on Patission (street)," as there were unarmed civilians around.
Two questions have arisen, firstly, why did the authorities fail to enforce "a clear order that had been given by the Direct Action Centre not to allow patrol cars to pass by the site"? According to the official statement of the National Police states that order had been given prior to the shooting.
And secondly, why did a trained police officer choose to fire his weapon? Dozens of civilians in cars were in the vicinity and students were standing next to him in the courtyard of the school at the time.
Hellenic Police have opened an investigation into the police officers actions.
Not the first incident
Last December, a police officer shot and killed a 16-year-old boy from the Roma community after he fled a gas station without paying. In 2020, at the same university as this week's incident, another officer pulled out his gun and threatened to shoot protesters after being attacked.
A number of videos and images have been circulating of riot officers pointing their guns at protesters during anti-austerity demonstrations.
However, the most significant of such incidents was in 2008 when an officer shot and killed a 15-year-old boy in the Exarcheia neighborhood in the center of Athens. This sparked weeks of riots.