Protests at Nigerian’s ‘murder’

Human rights groups and members of Thessaloniki’s Nigerian community yesterday attributed to «murder» the death of a 27-year-old Nigerian bootleg CD seller who fell out of the first-floor window of a cafeteria in the northern city on Saturday night in an apparent attempt to elude arrest. Later yesterday, police clashed with youths during a protest by African immigrants and leftist sympathizers outside a police station in the suburb of Kalamaria where the man died. Protesters threw stones at the police station, smashing windows, and police responded by firing tear gas. There were no reports of arrests or injuries. The victim, whom authorities identified yesterday as Tony Onouha, aged 27 (not 25, as originally reported), «was murdered when, during an altercation with two policemen, he fell from the balcony of a cafe and was fatally wounded,» protesters claimed in a statement. Police countered that no officers had been in the cafe at the time. An autopsy is to be conducted today. Representatives of immigrant groups, who attended yesterday’s press conference with the victim’s brother Jim Onouha, protested that police measures cannot be used to tackle social phenomena. The president of Thessaloniki’s Nigerian community, Femi Akintayo, said his organization discouraged Nigerians from the illegal sale of counterfeit CDs but said it was up to police to break up the rings channeling these products onto the market. These rings operate in small groups, as the equipment necessary to manufacture counterfeit CDs is relatively cheap, a senior police official told Kathimerini. Thessaloniki Prefect Panayiotis Psomiadis made a statement expressing solidarity with the city’s Nigerian community. «The tragic death of the young man from Nigeria reminds us all of the difficult days we Greeks experienced a few decades ago when we emigrated to make a living,» Psomiadis said. «It is the duty of the Greek state, whose development was influenced by emigration, to show sensitivity and attribute blame where necessary,» he added. Prefectural counselor Michalis Tremopoulos said the police’s role in Onouha’s death must be clarified.