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Greek pensioner's suicide sparks protests

Greece,Business/Economy,Politics, Fri, 06 Apr 2012 IANS

Athens, April 6 (IANS) Greek citizens staged a fresh anti-austerity protest in front of parliament in central Athens where a senior pensioner committed suicide over austerity measures.


Protesters engaged in minor clashes with police as youths pelted rocks at anti-riot police forces who used tear gas to disperse the group, reported Xinhua.


The suicide of 77-year-old Dimitris Christoulas, who shot himself in the head after chanting slogans against government prescribed salaries cuts as well as wages and tax hikes Wednesday, came as an agonizing reminder of the pain brought by years of austerity measures aimed at avoiding a Greek disorderly default.


The incident had inevitable political reverberations in a country gearing up for parliamentary elections expected in late April or early May.


Hundreds stopped by Syntagma square Thursday to leave flowers and light candles under the tree where the retired pharmacist committed suicide.


According to local media, Christoulas left a suicide note saying he preferred to die than scavenge for food.


Greece has been kept afloat with multi-billion bailout packages from European counterparts and the IMF since May 2010, in exchange for tough austerity and reform programmes that have caused public discontent.


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