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Pensioner's suicide over 'occupation govt' sparks riots in Greece (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

Published time: April 05, 2012 08:23
Edited time: April 05, 2012 18:34

A protester throws a stone at policemen during riots at central Syntagma square in Athens April 4, 2012 (Reuters / Yorgos Karahalis)

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Violent clashes took place in Athens as Greek police used tear gas and flash grenades to disperse an angry crowd of protesters. The demonstration was provoked by the suicide of a retired pharmacist sent over the edge by national austerity measures.

­Some 1,500 people took part in the late evening protest on Wednesday in Athens’s central Syntagma Square in front of the parliament.

Angry people were throwing stones and firebombs at riot police officers.

Security forces used tear gas and flash grenades against the demonstrators to curb the violent attacks.

On Wednesday a 77-year-old man committed suicide in the same square. According to a note published by local media, the man said it was the only dignified path he could take.

He also compared the current Greek government to the one the country had under the Nazi Germany occupation and warned that the cabinet would eventually face the same fate as Italian Fascist leader Benito Mussolini.

Angry protesters put up slogans “It was a murder, not a suicide” and “Austerity kills” as they gathered at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier to raise their voices against the government’s policies.

Greece has been relying on foreign bailout loans to cover its national debt for almost two years now. It had to adopt harsh austerity measures, including slashing down pensions and raising taxes to secure more credit.

The rampaging unemployment and shrinking of social benefits are causing mass protest in the country on a regular basis.

The “occupational” Greek government is more of a caretaker government that does not implement any structural reforms or sensible privatizations to clamp down on corruption and make “the very rich pay their share,” say an economic analyst and international lawyer, Nick Skrekas.

“I think the more austerity cuts and horizontal cuts to pensions, public sector wages and tax increases are an absolute nightmare,” Skrekas told RT. “It’s like putting an anorexic on a very strict diet. It’s going to backfire.”

Riot police stand during clashes with demonstrators (AFP Photo / Aris Messinis)
Riot police stand during clashes with demonstrators (AFP Photo / Aris Messinis)
AFP Photo / Aris Messinis
AFP Photo / Aris Messinis
Reuters / Yorgos Karahalis
Reuters / Yorgos Karahalis
AFP Photo / Aris Messinis
AFP Photo / Aris Messinis
AFP Photo / Aris Messinis
AFP Photo / Aris Messinis
AFP Photo / Aris Messinis
AFP Photo / Aris Messinis
A protester throws a Molotov cocktail at riots police (AFP Photo / Aris Messinis)
A protester throws a Molotov cocktail at riots police (AFP Photo / Aris Messinis)