Greek protestors greet German Chancellor Angela Merkel
Many blame Merkel for stringent austerity measures
German Chancellor Angela Merkel was given the red-carpet treatment when she arrived in Greece this week to discuss new economic strategies for the ailing European nation. However, voices of dissent were also heard, as Greek protestors marched through central Athens. Demonstrators were met with teargas and stun grenades. Many blame Merkel for the round of stringent austerity measures Greece has had to endure during the ongoing European economic crisis.
On the central square next to parliament, four people dressed in German military uniforms from the National Socilialist era, rode through the street on a small jeep, waved black-white-and-red swastika flags and stuck their hands out in the Nazi salute.
Some pelted police with rocks, bottles and sticks. Other tired to bust through a barricade set up to protect Merkel and her delegation, who met with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras at his nearby office. Police say that it was one of the biggest demonstrations in months.
Merkel is visiting Greece for the first time since Europe's debt crisis erupted here three years ago. She's expected to deliver a message of support -- but no new funds to a nation hammered by recession and fighting to stay in the euro.
Merkel was met with full military honors when she arrived at the Athens airport. Samaras greeted her with a handshake as she exited the German air force jet while a band played the German and Greek national anthems.
The tone was markedly different in central Athens. On the central square next to parliament, four people dressed in German military uniforms and rode on a small jeep, waved black-white-and-red swastika flags and stuck their hands out in the Nazi salute.
"Merkel out, Greece is not your colony" and "This is not a European Union, it's slavery" several banners declared.
Police have deployed 6,000 officers, including anti-terrorist units and rooftop snipers, to provide security during the six-hour visit. German sites in the Greek capital, including the embassy and Goethe Institute, are under special protection.
Merkel has decided to visit Greece after a space of several years for several reasons.
She wants to show support for Samaras, a fellow conservative, as he struggles to impose more cuts on a society fraying at the edges after five years of recession.
Merkel is also expected to confirm her desire to keep Greece in the euro zone, after members of her government flirted with the idea of an exit earlier this year.
With a year to go until Germany holds an election, Merkel also hopes to neutralize opposition criticism that she has neglected Greece and contributed to its woes by insisting on crushing budget cuts.
"Her visit to Athens is primarily about political positioning, and the opportunity to clarify her position on Greece," Alex White, an analyst at J.P. Morgan says.
© 2012, Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
- - -
Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Greece, protests, Angela Merkel, eurozone, economic crisis
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Europe News
- Historic Meeting between Pope Francis and Coptic Patriarch, Tawadros II, Fosters Christian Unity
- Pope Francis Shakes up the Ambassadors Meeting and Addresses Economic Issues
- AU CONTRAIRE! Economic crisis has been 'pulling European public opinion apart'
- Pope Calls Whole Church to Encounter Jesus Christ Personally Through the Holy Spirit
- France ponder one percent 'Internet tax' to fund domestic computer production
- Pope Francis Canonizes 802 Saints: 800 Martyrs of Otranto and Two Latin American Foundresses
- Growth in Number of Catholics Worldwide, Along with Priests and Deacons
- Scientists confirm that Roman Empire was destroyed by plague
- Unemployed youth in Greece now above 60 percent
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?