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article imageRiots in Athens after 77-year-old pensioner commits suicide

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By Anne Sewell     Apr 5, 2012 in World
Athen - Yesterday a 77-year-old pensioner, unable to cope in the Greek financial crisis, shot himself to death in front of the Parliament building in Athens. This action provoked riots by people who have simply had enough.
On Wednesday, RT reported that a 77-year-old pensioner shot himself in front of the Parliament building in Athens. People close by when this occurred say that the man shouted: “So I won’t leave debts for my children” before turning the gun on himself.
At around 9 am Athens time, the square was filled with commuters and pedestrians. The man took his life behind a large tree, which concealed the act from most eyes.
The pensioner is believed to be Dimitris Christoulas, a retired pharmacist with a wife and a daughter, according to Greek Media. He owned a drugstore in Athens which he sold in 1994, according to Costa Lourantos, head of Attica Pharmacist's Association.
A suicide note was found on the man which said: “The Tsolakoglou government has annihilated all traces for my survival. And since I cannot find justice, I cannot find another means to react besides putting a decent end [to my life], before I start searching the garbage for food and become a burden for my child."
This refers to Georgios Tsolakoglou, who was in charge of the Greek collaborationist government in the German occupation of Greece during the Second World War.
It is thought that the note draws a parallel between the current collaborationist government of Lucas Papademos and that of Tsolakoglou's regime, because of the current economic crisis in Greece.
Many people have left handwritten messages and flowers at the tree where Christoulas killed himself. One of the notes read "Enough is enough", while another said "Who will be the next victim?"
In the late evening, violent clashes flared up in Athens, provoked by the suicide of a man sent over the edge by the draconian austerity measures.
Around 1,500 people took part in the protest in front of Parliament in Athens’s central Syntagma Square. Protesters threw firebombs and stones at the riot police.
In return, the riot police used flash grenades and tear gas against the protesters in an attempt to curb the violence.
Angry people gathered at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, holding slogans such as: “It was a murder, not a suicide” and “Austerity kills.”
With Greece relying on bailouts to cover its national debt for 2 years, the government has been adopting harsh austerity measures, which include slashing pensions and raising taxes to secure more credit.
With high unemployment, and the shrinking of social benefits in the country, mass protest is now a regular occurrence in Greece. One of the worst aspects of the situation is that people are taking their lives because they can no longer cope.
According to Reuters, suicides increased by 18% in 2010 over the previous year and the number of suicides in Athens alone rose over 25% last year.
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