“These are testing times for Greece’s democracy,” said The Irish Times in an editorial. Since police shot dead a 15-year-old protester near Athens Dec. 6, there has been a “remarkably rapid spread of violence throughout Greek cities and towns,” culminating in a general strike Wednesday. The predominantly young rioters have been “egged on by left-wing and anarchist groups,” but those “tiny” groups can’t have ignited this “mass protest movement.”

The “rising tide of anger and despair” in Greece only lacked a “martyr,” said Nikos Konstandaras in Greece’s Kathimerini. Now, “anyone who has a grudge against the state” is using the shooting death as justification for their pet cause. As Greece slides into chaos, neither the government’s “groveling” nor the “spiteful inaction” of the police will help.

Well, "there is every reason for anger,” said Daniel Howden in Britain’s The Independent. Greece today is a “dysfunctional country” ruled by “the same dynasties—the Karamanlis family and the Papandreous”—who dominate a political class concerned only with its self-interest while the struggling citizens "run amok.”

The “worst civil violence in decades” might topple the corruption-tinged government of Costas Karamanlis, said The Times of London in an editorial, but the larger “Greek tragedy” won’t end with it. The only path to reconciliation lies with the “more sober majority” determined to “face down the rioters” and win them over with real reform.