News / Europe

German Leader Receives Hostile Reception in Greece

A fire burns as riot police look on during clashes with activists protesting German Chancellor Angela Merkel's visit in Athens, Greece, Oct. 9, 2012.
A fire burns as riot police look on during clashes with activists protesting German Chancellor Angela Merkel's visit in Athens, Greece, Oct. 9, 2012.
VOA News
German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Greece the sacrifices it makes toward cutting spending will pay off, an unpopular message to tens of thousands who protested her visit to the country.

Merkel made her remarks after meeting Tuesday with conservative Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras in Athens.  Her five-hour stop in Greece was her first visit to the country since the eurozone crisis began several years ago.

Thousands of police were spread throughout the capital to control more than 25,000 protesters.  Police briefly clashed with some demonstrators and detained at least 40 people.

  • Riot police shields are splattered with paint thrown by protesters during a protest in front of the parliament in Athens, Greece, October 9, 2012.
  • A protester throws a flare towards riot police during clashes during a protest in Athens, Greece, October 9, 2012.
  • A garbage bin burns as riot police look on during clashes in front of the parliament in Athens, Greece, October 9, 2012.
  • A protester reacts after riot police use tear gas during clashes in central Athens, Greece, October 9, 2012.
  • Greek President Karolos Papoulias, right, attends a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, at the Presidential palace in Athens, Greece, October 9, 2012.

The protesters' anger stems from Greece's struggle to keep up with commitments needed to guarantee it will pay its debts and retain long-term euro membership.  The Samaras government has pursued massive new austerity measures that are deeply unpopular.

Merkel has been vilified in Greece for her role in encouraging those measures, especially as Greeks struggle with an ongoing recession.


Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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