Greek Youths Continue Riot Spree བོད་སྐད།

In continuation of the riots that have gripped Greece in the past two weeks, Greek police say about 20 youths firebombed the French Cultural Institute in Athens.

The violence in Athens shows no sign of calming, as the city's French Institute was the target for rioters and students vowed to continue their public protests nearly two weeks after police shot and killed a teenager.

The group forced their way into the courtyard of the French Institute and smashed property and threw a small petrol bomb at the entrance to the complex.

The mob also smashed an ATM banking machine.

The motives for the attack were not clear but graffiti that was spray-painted on nearby walls suggested it was an attempt to link unrest in Greece with student protests in France.

Generally, Athens has been quieter over the past few days, despite protests by unionists and hundreds of students attending a free concert in front of Athens University.

The clashes began after the death of 15-year-old who was shot by police on December 6.

More than 1,500 people protested peacefully yesterday following the mysterious shooting of a 16-year-old on Wednesday night. The teenager was struck in the hand by a bullet fired by an unidentified assailant while sitting in a park with friends.

In recent days both Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and opposition leader George Papandreou have repeatedly called for calm.

In an interview with VOA last week, Papandreou said Greek youths feel a deepening sense of social inequality and injustice that is driving them to riot.

For it's part, the government accused Papandreou of using the recent unrest as an excuse to drag Greece's name through the mud for its own gain.

Reacting to several interviews given by Papandreou to foreign media, government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros hit out at claims that the incumbent government was solely responsible for the riots.

Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis says the protests have damaged the country's economy. Retailers have reported more than a billion dollars in damages and lost sales.