Students take a stand on bullying after peer suicide

Students at the Dairy School in Ioannina, northwestern Greece, where 20-year-old Vangelis Giakoumakis took his own life last month amid reports that he suffered serious bullying on Thursday issued a statement in an apparent attempt to douse rising tensions in the small community as authorities seek to identify the alleged bullies.

“We do not want to replace the work of justice by condemning just anyone,” the statement said. “We ask for the same stance from all well-meaning and sensitive people who want to express their solidarity and do not thoughtlessly adopt every piece of ‘information’ they hear,” it added, noting that several students have been the targets of threats and slander.

The statement was issued a few hours after a crowd of about 500 people staged a protest outside the Dairy School’s premises with a smaller group subsequently breaking off and breaking the metal gate to enter the grounds. Shouting slogans including “It’s not suicide, it’s murder,” and “Justice,” the protesters tried to force their way into the student dorms but were pushed back by riot police dispatched to the scene. A police detail remained on standby late last night.

A group of people alleged to have bullied Giakoumakis are said to have received threats, but the police have yet to arrest anyone and there are appears to be a dearth of evidence pointing to the perpetrators.

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