| GEO World|
| Third day of anti-police riots across Greece|
| Updated at: 0540 PST, Tuesday, December 09, 2008|
ATHENS: Fury at the fatal police shooting of a schoolboy erupted in a third day of rioting across Greece on Monday, with youths looting stores, attacking hotels and clashing with the security forces by parliament.
Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis called a cabinet crisis meeting late Monday after having vowed to bring the unrest under control. In the streets meanwhile, riot police were pelted with stones by a group of some 300 youths outside parliament and in the northern city of Salonika a policeman was wounded in a firebomb attack.
With a general strike now planned to protest the killing of 15-year-old Alexis Grigoropoulos on Saturday, the damage to businesses and the country's reputation as a tourist destination was steadily rising. Youths attacked cars and looted dozens of stores in Salonika, Greece's second largest city, and clashes broke out in the central city of Trikala.
The unrest also spread to the popular resort islands of Rhodes where police fired tear gas at protesting pupils and Crete where police buildings were pelted with stones. There were even scuffles and two arrests outside the Greek embassies in London and the Cypriot capital Nicosia.
As despairing traders sifted through the wreckage left by weekend rioting, Caramanlis appeared on national television to denounce "the extremist elements who exploited the tragedy. "The unacceptable and dangerous events cannot and will not be tolerated," added Caramanlis.
A government spokesman denied rumours that a state of emergency would be declared. Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos late Monday defended the police response to the rioting and looting rampages. "The police are there and doing everything necessary to protect lives and property," he said after leaving a two-hour cabinet meeting.
However, when questioned by journalists about the failure of security forces to prevent a third day of rioting across the country, he added: "I'm not satisfied, and I apologise to the Greek people." The unrest has now left dozens wounded, caused widespread destruction and put new pressure on Karamanlis, already under fire over the economy and a number of scandals.
Some of the worst violence came in Trikala where three police were hurt in clashes when dozens of youths broke off from a larger student demonstration and attacked banks, shops and cars on the city's main square. About 300 students and other youths also attacked cars and stores in Salonika, where a police officer was hospitalised with a hand injury after a firebomb attack on his station.