Latest News from Greek Riots: Unions Defiant

Clashes between youths and police are continuing on several fronts in Greece while labor unions say they will push ahead with demonstrations in Athens.

The violence, which continued for a fourth day on Tuesday, was sparked by the death of a 15-year-old shot by police on Saturday, with groups of youths raiding stores in the residential and shopping district of Nea Smyrni, south of central Athens.

Television footage showed youths throwing stones at riot police who responded with tear gas.

Locals reported hearing gunfire in the district of Palio Faliro and shop owners were warned to lock up their stores.

The local police headquarters in the northern port of Salonika and the western port of Patras were under siege by hundreds of protesters throwing projectiles at riot police.

Meanwhile, Greece's two largest labor unions - GSEE and ADEDY - announced on Tuesday that they would push ahead with demonstrations in riot-ravaged Athens as part of a 24-hour strike Wednesday to protest the government's economic policies.

The two unions together represent approximately 2.5 million workers, about half of Greece's total workforce. They are demanding more state social spending, as well as salary and pension increases.

On Tuesday, the unions ignored a plea from Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis to cease supporting the hostilities, which were triggered by the fatal shooting of teenager Alexis Grigoropoulos by a police officer who is now charged with the killing.

But despite appeals, the unions said on Wednesday that transport will grind to a halt, flights and ferry links will be cut, and train service will be severely limited.

Tue, 09 Dec 2008;sectionid=351020606