Amid growing tension over the ongoing hunger strike by anarchist and convicted bank robber Nikos Romanos, a demonstration Saturday marking the sixth anniversary of the fatal police shooting of teenager Alexandros Grigoropoulos in central Athens was expected to be held under a heavy police presence.
More than 18,5000 officers will be on stand-by Saturday, authorities said, while additional security was deemed necessary as Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu is visiting the Greek capital.
Meanwhile Friday, Yiannis Michailidis, a fellow convict of Romanos, issued a warning against Justice Minister Haralambos Athanasiou for snubbing the 21-year-old’s request for an education furlough.
“I am very hungry. If you kill Nikos, only your throat would sate my hunger,” Michailidis, who is also on hunger strike, said in a letter from prison. Romanos has refused food since November 10.
During a visit to the hospital where Romanos is under observation, his father called for mass participation in Saturday’s demonstrations. Leftist SYRIZA opposition issued a similar call and slammed the government’s “attack on democracy and rights.”
A group of 30 protesters, mostly students, were detained by police Friday as they staged a rally outside the Justice Ministry in solidarity with Romanos.
Also, arsonists and vandals targeted banks and public buildings in a string of overnight attacks that caused no injuries, police said Friday.