Greece: Police officer appears in court over teen shooting

Dec 5, 2022, 11:58 AM | Updated: Dec 6, 2022, 12:35 pm
Students protest on the 14th anniversary of 15-year old Alexis Grigoropoulos' fatal shooting by the...

Students protest on the 14th anniversary of 15-year old Alexis Grigoropoulos' fatal shooting by the police, in Athens, on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. A police officer appeared before a court in northern Greece on Tuesday over the shooting of a teenager who allegedly failed to pay a gas station bill. The 16-year-old, a member of the Roma minority, is in critical condition in a hospital in Thessaloniki. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)

(AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)

              Students protest on the 14th anniversary of 15-year old Alexis Grigoropoulos' fatal shooting by the police, in Athens, on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. A police officer appeared before a court in northern Greece on Tuesday over the shooting of a teenager who allegedly failed to pay a gas station bill. The 16-year-old, a member of the Roma minority, is in critical condition in a hospital in Thessaloniki. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
            
              Protesters take part in a rally during the 14th anniversary of 15-year old Alexis Grigoropoulos' fatal shooting by the police, in Athens, on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. A police officer appeared before a court in northern Greece on Tuesday over the shooting of a teenager who allegedly failed to pay a gas station bill. The 16-year-old, a member of the Roma minority, is in critical condition in a hospital in Thessaloniki.(AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
            
              Protesters hold a banner which reads in Greek "they shot them because they were Roma" as they protest the shooting in the head of a 16-year-old youth, outside the Greek parliament , in central Athens, Monday Dec 5, 2022. A police officer has been arrested in northern Greece after a 16-year-old boy was shot in the head and seriously injured during a car chase after he allegedly failed to pay the bill at a gas station(AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
            
              Protesters march during the 14th anniversary of the 2008 fatal police shooting of teenager Alexis Grigoropoulos, in Athens, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. A police officer appeared before a court in northern Greece on Tuesday over the shooting a teenager who allegedly failed to pay a gas station bill. The 16-year-old, a member of the Roma minority, is in critical condition in a hospital, in Thessaloniki, Greece. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
            
              A riot police officers stand guard in front of a Christmas tree in Syntagma square during the 14th anniversary of the fatal shooting by the police of 15-year old Alexis Grigoropoulos, in Athens, on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. A 34-year-old police officer appeared in court over the shooting early Monday of a 16-year-old Roma boy who allegedly drove off from a gas station without paying the bill. Before Monday's incident, protest marches already were planned to mark the anniversary of the 2008 fatal police shooting of a teenager in Athens that sparked Greece’s worst riots in decades. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
            
              A riot policeman stands guard in front of a Christmas tree in Syntagma square during the 14th anniversary of the fatal shooting by the police of 15-year old Alexis Grigoropoulos, in Athens, on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. A 34-year-old police officer appeared in court over the shooting early Monday of a 16-year-old Roma boy who allegedly drove off from a gas station without paying the bill. Before Monday's incident, protest marches already were planned to mark the anniversary of the 2008 fatal police shooting of a teenager in Athens that sparked Greece’s worst riots in decades. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
            
              Protesters hold a banner which reads in Greek "they shot them because they were Roma" as they protest the shooting in the head of a 16-year-old youth, in central Athens Monday Dec 5, 2022. A police officer has been arrested in northern Greece after a 16-year-old boy was shot in the head and seriously injured during a car chase after he allegedly failed to pay the bill at a gas station(AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
            
              Protesters hold Molotov cocktails during the 14th anniversary of the fatal shooting by the police of 15-year old Alexis Grigoropoulos, in Athens, on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. About 6,000 people marched Tuesday night in Thessaloniki to remember the 2008 shooting, and after the protest was over some set fire to trash cans and threw Molotov cocktails at police — who responded with a water cannon and tear gas. No injuries or major damage to property were reported. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)
            
              A protestor wearing a gas mask during the 14th anniversary of the fatal shooting by the police of 15-year old Alexis Grigoropoulos, in Athens, on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. About 6,000 people marched Tuesday night in Thessaloniki to remember the 2008 shooting, and after the protest was over some set fire to trash cans and threw Molotov cocktails at police — who responded with a water cannon and tear gas. No injuries or major damage to property were reported. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)
            
              A riot policeman walks behind fire during the 14th anniversary of the fatal shooting by the police of 15-year old Alexis Grigoropoulos, in Athens, on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. About 6,000 people marched Tuesday night in Thessaloniki to remember the 2008 shooting, and after the protest was over some set fire to trash cans and threw Molotov cocktails at police — who responded with a water cannon and tear gas. No injuries or major damage to property were reported. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)
            
              Riot policemen walk by a fire at a street during the 14th anniversary of the 15-year old Alexis Grigoropoulos' fatal shooting by the police, the northern port city of Thessaloniki, Greece, on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. About 6,000 people marched Tuesday night in Thessaloniki to remember the 2008 shooting, and after the protest was over some set fire to trash cans and threw Molotov cocktails at police — who responded with a water cannon and tear gas. No injuries or major damage to property were reported. Ten suspected rioters were detained. Similar rioting occurred in Athens after the end of the anniversary march in which an estimated 5,000 people took part. Police detained at least one person. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)
            
              Riot police arrest a protestor during the 14th anniversary of the fatal shooting by the police of 15-year old Alexis Grigoropoulos, in Athens, on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. A 34-year-old police officer appeared in court over the shooting early Monday of a 16-year-old Roma boy who allegedly drove off from a gas station without paying the bill. Before Monday's incident, protest marches already were planned to mark the anniversary of the 2008 fatal police shooting of a teenager in Athens that sparked Greece’s worst riots in decades. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
            
              Riot policemen run during clashes with protesters during the 14th anniversary of the fatal shooting by the police of 15-year old Alexis Grigoropoulos, in Athens, on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. A 34-year-old police officer appeared in court over the shooting early Monday of a 16-year-old Roma boy who allegedly drove off from a gas station without paying the bill. Before Monday's incident, protest marches already were planned to mark the anniversary of the 2008 fatal police shooting of a teenager in Athens that sparked Greece’s worst riots in decades. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
            
              Riot policemen walk by fires at a street during the 14th anniversary of the fatal shooting by the police of 15-year old Alexis Grigoropoulos, in Athens, on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. About 6,000 people marched Tuesday night in Thessaloniki to remember the 2008 shooting, and after the protest was over some set fire to trash cans and threw Molotov cocktails at police — who responded with a water cannon and tear gas. No injuries or major damage to property were reported. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)
            
              Protesters demonstrate during the 14th anniversary of the fatal shooting by the police of 15-year old Alexis Grigoropoulos, in Athens, on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. A 34-year-old police officer appeared in court over the shooting early Monday of a 16-year-old Roma boy who allegedly drove off from a gas station without paying the bill. Before Monday's incident, protest marches already were planned to mark the anniversary of the 2008 fatal police shooting of a teenager in Athens that sparked Greece’s worst riots in decades. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
            
              Students protest for the 14th anniversary of the 15-year old Alexis Grigoropoulos' fatal shooting by the police, in Athens, on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. A police officer appeared before a court in northern Greece on Tuesday over the shooting of a teenager who allegedly failed to pay a gas station bill. The 16-year-old, a member of the Roma minority, is in critical condition in a hospital in Thessaloniki.(AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
            
              Students protest on the 14th anniversary of 15-year old Alexis Grigoropoulos' fatal shooting by the police, in Athens, on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. A police officer appeared before a court in northern Greece on Tuesday over the shooting of a teenager who allegedly failed to pay a gas station bill. The 16-year-old, a member of the Roma minority, is in critical condition in a hospital in Thessaloniki. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
            
              Protesters take part in a rally during the 14th anniversary of 15-year old Alexis Grigoropoulos' fatal shooting by the police, in Athens, on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. A police officer appeared before a court in northern Greece on Tuesday over the shooting of a teenager who allegedly failed to pay a gas station bill. The 16-year-old, a member of the Roma minority, is in critical condition in a hospital in Thessaloniki.(AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
            
              Protesters hold a banner which reads in Greek "they shot them because they were Roma" as they protest the shooting in the head of a 16-year-old youth, outside the Greek parliament , in central Athens, Monday Dec 5, 2022. A police officer has been arrested in northern Greece after a 16-year-old boy was shot in the head and seriously injured during a car chase after he allegedly failed to pay the bill at a gas station(AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
            
              Protesters march during the 14th anniversary of the 2008 fatal police shooting of teenager Alexis Grigoropoulos, in Athens, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. A police officer appeared before a court in northern Greece on Tuesday over the shooting a teenager who allegedly failed to pay a gas station bill. The 16-year-old, a member of the Roma minority, is in critical condition in a hospital, in Thessaloniki, Greece. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
            
              Protesters march during the 14th anniversary of the 2008 fatal police shooting of teenager Alexis Grigoropoulos, in Athens, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. A police officer appeared before a court in northern Greece on Tuesday over the shooting a teenager who allegedly failed to pay a gas station bill. The 16-year-old, a member of the Roma minority, is in critical condition in a hospital, in Thessaloniki, Greece. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
            
              Protesters march during the 14th anniversary of the 2008 fatal police shooting of teenager Alexis Grigoropoulos, in Athens, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. A police officer appeared before a court in northern Greece on Tuesday over the shooting a teenager who allegedly failed to pay a gas station bill. The 16-year-old, a member of the Roma minority, is in critical condition in a hospital, in Thessaloniki, Greece. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
            
              A riot police officers stand guard in front of a Christmas tree in Syntagma square during the 14th anniversary of the fatal shooting by the police of 15-year old Alexis Grigoropoulos, in Athens, on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. A 34-year-old police officer appeared in court over the shooting early Monday of a 16-year-old Roma boy who allegedly drove off from a gas station without paying the bill. Before Monday's incident, protest marches already were planned to mark the anniversary of the 2008 fatal police shooting of a teenager in Athens that sparked Greece’s worst riots in decades. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
            
              A riot policeman stands guard in front of a Christmas tree in Syntagma square during the 14th anniversary of the fatal shooting by the police of 15-year old Alexis Grigoropoulos, in Athens, on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. A 34-year-old police officer appeared in court over the shooting early Monday of a 16-year-old Roma boy who allegedly drove off from a gas station without paying the bill. Before Monday's incident, protest marches already were planned to mark the anniversary of the 2008 fatal police shooting of a teenager in Athens that sparked Greece’s worst riots in decades. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
            
              Protesters hold a banner which reads in Greek "they shot them because they were Roma" as they protest the shooting in the head of a 16-year-old youth, in central Athens Monday Dec 5, 2022. A police officer has been arrested in northern Greece after a 16-year-old boy was shot in the head and seriously injured during a car chase after he allegedly failed to pay the bill at a gas station(AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
            
              Protesters demonstrate during the 14th anniversary of the fatal shooting by the police of 15-year old Alexis Grigoropoulos, in Athens, on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. A 34-year-old police officer appeared in court over the shooting early Monday of a 16-year-old Roma boy who allegedly drove off from a gas station without paying the bill. Before Monday's incident, protest marches already were planned to mark the anniversary of the 2008 fatal police shooting of a teenager in Athens that sparked Greece’s worst riots in decades. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
            
              Students protest for the 14th anniversary of the 15-year old Alexis Grigoropoulos' fatal shooting by the police, in Athens, on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. A police officer appeared before a court in northern Greece on Tuesday over the shooting of a teenager who allegedly failed to pay a gas station bill. The 16-year-old, a member of the Roma minority, is in critical condition in a hospital in Thessaloniki.(AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
            
              Students protest on the 14th anniversary of 15-year old Alexis Grigoropoulos' fatal shooting by the police, in Athens, on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. A police officer appeared before a court in northern Greece on Tuesday over the shooting of a teenager who allegedly failed to pay a gas station bill. The 16-year-old, a member of the Roma minority, is in critical condition in a hospital in Thessaloniki. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
            
              Protesters take part in a rally during the 14th anniversary of 15-year old Alexis Grigoropoulos' fatal shooting by the police, in Athens, on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. A police officer appeared before a court in northern Greece on Tuesday over the shooting of a teenager who allegedly failed to pay a gas station bill. The 16-year-old, a member of the Roma minority, is in critical condition in a hospital in Thessaloniki.(AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
            
              Protesters hold a banner which reads in Greek "they shot them because they were Roma" as they protest the shooting in the head of a 16-year-old youth, outside the Greek parliament , in central Athens, Monday Dec 5, 2022. A police officer has been arrested in northern Greece after a 16-year-old boy was shot in the head and seriously injured during a car chase after he allegedly failed to pay the bill at a gas station(AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
            
              Protesters march during the 14th anniversary of the 2008 fatal police shooting of teenager Alexis Grigoropoulos, in Athens, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. A police officer appeared before a court in northern Greece on Tuesday over the shooting a teenager who allegedly failed to pay a gas station bill. The 16-year-old, a member of the Roma minority, is in critical condition in a hospital, in Thessaloniki, Greece. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
            
              Protesters march during the 14th anniversary of the 2008 fatal police shooting of teenager Alexis Grigoropoulos, in Athens, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. A police officer appeared before a court in northern Greece on Tuesday over the shooting a teenager who allegedly failed to pay a gas station bill. The 16-year-old, a member of the Roma minority, is in critical condition in a hospital, in Thessaloniki, Greece. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
            
              Protesters march during the 14th anniversary of the 2008 fatal police shooting of teenager Alexis Grigoropoulos, in Athens, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. A police officer appeared before a court in northern Greece on Tuesday over the shooting a teenager who allegedly failed to pay a gas station bill. The 16-year-old, a member of the Roma minority, is in critical condition in a hospital, in Thessaloniki, Greece. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
            
              Protesters hold a banner which reads in Greek "they shot them because they were Roma" as they protest the shooting in the head of a 16-year-old youth, in central Athens Monday Dec 5, 2022. A police officer has been arrested in northern Greece after a 16-year-old boy was shot in the head and seriously injured during a car chase after he allegedly failed to pay the bill at a gas station(AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
            
              Students protest for the 14th anniversary of the 15-year old Alexis Grigoropoulos' fatal shooting by the police, in Athens, on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. A police officer appeared before a court in northern Greece on Tuesday over the shooting of a teenager who allegedly failed to pay a gas station bill. The 16-year-old, a member of the Roma minority, is in critical condition in a hospital in Thessaloniki.(AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
            
              Students protest on the 14th anniversary of 15-year old Alexis Grigoropoulos' fatal shooting by the police, in Athens, on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. A police officer appeared before a court in northern Greece on Tuesday over the shooting of a teenager who allegedly failed to pay a gas station bill. The 16-year-old, a member of the Roma minority, is in critical condition in a hospital in Thessaloniki. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
            
              Protesters take part in a rally during the 14th anniversary of 15-year old Alexis Grigoropoulos' fatal shooting by the police, in Athens, on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. A police officer appeared before a court in northern Greece on Tuesday over the shooting of a teenager who allegedly failed to pay a gas station bill. The 16-year-old, a member of the Roma minority, is in critical condition in a hospital in Thessaloniki.(AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
            
              Protesters hold a banner which reads in Greek "they shot them because they were Roma" as they protest the shooting in the head of a 16-year-old youth, outside the Greek parliament , in central Athens, Monday Dec 5, 2022. A police officer has been arrested in northern Greece after a 16-year-old boy was shot in the head and seriously injured during a car chase after he allegedly failed to pay the bill at a gas station(AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
            
              Protesters march during the 14th anniversary of the 2008 fatal police shooting of teenager Alexis Grigoropoulos, in Athens, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. A police officer appeared before a court in northern Greece on Tuesday over the shooting a teenager who allegedly failed to pay a gas station bill. The 16-year-old, a member of the Roma minority, is in critical condition in a hospital, in Thessaloniki, Greece. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
            
              Protesters march during the 14th anniversary of the 2008 fatal police shooting of teenager Alexis Grigoropoulos, in Athens, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. A police officer appeared before a court in northern Greece on Tuesday over the shooting a teenager who allegedly failed to pay a gas station bill. The 16-year-old, a member of the Roma minority, is in critical condition in a hospital, in Thessaloniki, Greece. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
            
              Protesters march during the 14th anniversary of the 2008 fatal police shooting of teenager Alexis Grigoropoulos, in Athens, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. A police officer appeared before a court in northern Greece on Tuesday over the shooting a teenager who allegedly failed to pay a gas station bill. The 16-year-old, a member of the Roma minority, is in critical condition in a hospital, in Thessaloniki, Greece. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
            
              Protesters hold a banner which reads in Greek "they shot them because they were Roma" as they protest the shooting in the head of a 16-year-old youth, outside the Greek parliament , in central Athens, Monday Dec 5, 2022. A police officer has been arrested in northern Greece after a 16-year-old boy was shot in the head and seriously injured during a car chase after he allegedly failed to pay the bill at a gas station(AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
            
              Protesters hold a banner which reads in Greek "they shot them because they were Roma" as they protest the shooting in the head of a 16-year-old youth, in central Athens Monday Dec 5, 2022. A police officer has been arrested in northern Greece after a 16-year-old boy was shot in the head and seriously injured during a car chase after he allegedly failed to pay the bill at a gas station(AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
            
              Protesters march during the 14th anniversary of the 2008 fatal police shooting of teenager Alexis Grigoropoulos, in Athens, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. A police officer appeared before a court in northern Greece on Tuesday over the shooting a teenager who allegedly failed to pay a gas station bill. The 16-year-old, a member of the Roma minority, is in critical condition in a hospital, in Thessaloniki, Greece. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
            
              Protesters march during the 14th anniversary of the 2008 fatal police shooting of teenager Alexis Grigoropoulos, in Athens, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. A police officer appeared before a court in northern Greece on Tuesday over the shooting a teenager who allegedly failed to pay a gas station bill. The 16-year-old, a member of the Roma minority, is in critical condition in a hospital, in Thessaloniki, Greece. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
            
              Protesters march during the 14th anniversary of the 2008 fatal police shooting of teenager Alexis Grigoropoulos, in Athens, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. A police officer appeared before a court in northern Greece on Tuesday over the shooting a teenager who allegedly failed to pay a gas station bill. The 16-year-old, a member of the Roma minority, is in critical condition in a hospital, in Thessaloniki, Greece. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
            
              Women protest the shooting in the head of a 16-year-old youth, outside the Greek parliament , in central Athens Monday, Dec 5, 2022. A police officer has been arrested in northern Greece after a 16-year-old boy was shot in the head and seriously injured during a car chase after he allegedly failed to pay the bill at a gas station(AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
            
              People blocking a main road set fire to rubbish bins outside the Ippokrateio General Hospital, in Greece's second largest city of Thessaloniki, on Monday, Dec. 5, 2022. Dozens of Roma men protested Monday outside a hospital in northern Greece where a Roma teenager was being treated in critical condition, having been shot by police in a road chase after he allegedly drove off from a gas station without paying. (AP Photo/Dimitris Tosidis)
            
              People blocking a main road set fire to rubbish bins outside the Ippokrateio General Hospital, in Greece's second largest city of Thessaloniki, on Monday, Dec 5, 2022. Dozens of Roma men protested Monday outside a hospital in northern Greece where a Roma teenager was being treated in critical condition, having been shot by police in a road chase after he allegedly drove off from a gas station without paying. (AP Photo/Dimitris Tosidis)
            
              Protesters hold a banner which reads in Greek "confrontation" as they protest the shooting in the head of a 16-year-old youth, outside the Greek parliament , in central Athens Monday Dec 5, 2022. A police officer has been arrested in northern Greece after a 16-year-old boy was shot in the head and seriously injured during a car chase after he allegedly failed to pay the bill at a gas station(AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
            
              Protesters hold a banner which reads in Greek "they shot them because they were Roma" as they protest the shooting in the head of a 16-year-old youth, in central Athens Monday Dec 5, 2022. A police officer has been arrested in northern Greece after a 16-year-old boy was shot in the head and seriously injured during a car chase after he allegedly failed to pay the bill at a gas station(AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)

THESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) — Clashes broke out Tuesday at a police station outside Greece’s second-largest city of Thessaloniki as residents of a nearby Roma settlement protested the police shooting of a teenage driver during a chase over an unpaid gas station bill.

Protesters smashed a riot police bus and set fire to tires and an excavator vehicle on a nearby road, while riot police responded with volleys of tear gas. Shots could be heard, and police asked journalists in the area to move farther, saying protesters were firing from shotguns.

The clashes came after a 34-year-old police officer appeared in court over the shooting early Monday of a 16-year-old Roma youth who allegedly drove off from a gas station without paying the bill.

The teen, whose identity has not been officially released but was identified by relatives as a member of the Roma community, was hit in the head and hospitalized in critical condition in Thessaloniki.

Before the incident, demonstrations already were planned Tuesday to mark the anniversary of the 2008 fatal police shooting of a teenager in Athens that sparked Greece’s worst riots in decades. These annual commemorations often turn violent.

About 6,000 people marched Tuesday night in Thessaloniki to remember the 2008 shooting, and after the protest was over some set fire to trash cans and threw Molotov cocktails at police — who responded with a water cannon and tear gas. No injuries or major damage to property were reported. Police said 16 suspected rioters were detained.

Similar rioting occurred in Athens after the end of the anniversary march in which an estimated 5,000 people took part. Police detained 19 people.

The police officer who appeared in court Tuesday on a felony charge of attempted manslaughter with possible intent and a misdemeanor count of illegally firing his weapon has been suspended.

He said he opened fire because the pickup truck the teenager was driving tried to ram one of the pursuing police motorcycles. The police officer told the prosecutor he had fired “because the lives of my colleagues were in danger.”

He was given until Friday to prepare his defense before appearing before an investigating magistrate.

During the preliminary hearing, scuffles broke out outside the courthouse between police and protesters who held up a banner reading: “It wasn’t the gas, it wasn’t the money, the cops shot because he was Roma.” Protesters threw rocks and other objects at police, who responded with tear gas.

Some protesters set dumpsters on fire, while others attempted to put out the smoldering trash with water bottles.

Elsewhere in Greece, groups of Roma briefly blocking off major highways at two points in the country’s south. State ERT TV said in one case, protesters threw stones at passing motorists and lit fires, forcing police to temporarily stop traffic.

The 16-year-old’s shooting occurred outside Thessaloniki at around 1 a.m. Monday. Officers from a motorcycle patrol chased the teenager’s pickup truck after a gas station employee reported an allegedly unpaid bill of 20 euros ($21).

In a statement Monday, police said the driver ignored orders to stop and repeatedly ran red lights. The police statement said the driver attempted to ram one of the police motorcycles, “placing the lives of the police officers in immediate danger.” It said two shots were fired in an attempt to stop the vehicle.

Panagiotis Ramos, who was protesting outside the courthouse and identified himself as a family friend of the wounded teenager, dismissed the police version.

“It was a racist shot. It wasn’t one, but two,” Ramos said. “The shot was straight. He was trying to finish him off.”

On Monday night, about 1,500 people took part in a protest march organized by left-wing and anarchist groups in central Thessaloniki. Some smashed shops and threw Molotov cocktails at police, who detained six people.

Several hundred people also took part in a mostly peaceful demonstration Monday in central Athens over the teen’s shooting as well as a past incident in which a Roma man also was shot during a police chase.

Members of the Roma community in Greece and human rights activists frequently accuse Greek authorities of discriminating against Roma. Several Roma men have been fatally shot or injured in recent years during confrontations with police while allegedly seeking to evade arrest for breaches of the law.

____

Vassilis Kommatas in Thessaloniki contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

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Greece: Police officer appears in court over teen shooting