Journalist loses hearing from stun grenade

An Athens journalist covering clashes between protesters at Syntagma Square and police on June 15 has lost hearing in both his ears after a stun grenade launched by riot police exploded beside him, it was announced on Wednesday.

According to a statement by the Athens Journalists? Union (ESIA), Manolis Kypraios was also allegedly beaten by police officers belonging to the DIAS rapid-response squad as he tried to make his way to a hospital on foot to receive treatment.

The unnecessary use of force by police is the subject of a parliamentary investigation into the riot that broke out on Wednesday, June 29, during an otherwise peaceful mass rally on Syntagma Square in protest at a Parliamentary vote on the medium-term austerity program.

Footage that made its way around the world showed riot police using large amounts of tear gas and physical force against protesters, among which were groups of hooded youths throwing chunks of masonry stripped from sidewalks, steps and balconies and firebombs at officers.

The use of tear gas prompted the evacuation of the luxury King George Hotel on Syntagma Square and caused hundreds of protesters to experience breathing problems.

Amnesty International had issued a press release in the wake of the violence condemning ?excessive force? by police and overuse of tear gas. ?Video footage and witness testimony points to the repeated use of excessive force by police in recent demonstrations, including the disproportionate and indiscriminate use of tear gas and other chemicals against largely peaceful protesters,? the statement said.

Meanwhile, a prosecutor in central Athens on Tuesday brought charges against the police for failure to arrest armed protesters, excessive use of chemicals, causing bodily harm to citizens and violating a law banning the presence of police on university grounds.

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