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article imageAnti-Merkel protests flare in Athens

By Katerina Nikolas     Oct 9, 2012 in World
Athens - Around 40,000 protesters have gathered in Athens to demonstrate against Angela Merkel's visit to the Greek capital and crippling austerity measures.
Athens News reported on the joint press conference given by Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Samaras told reporters: "I told Merkel that the Greek people are bleeding this moment, but that I am sticking to the plan. We don't ask for favors. Merkel showed respect for the sacrifices we have made, and says that they must not go to waste. Greece has turned a page, and that her image in the international press has improved significantly. our dignity has increased, and Merkel's visit shows this. Greece will come out of the crisis stronger."
Merkel for her part thanked Samaras for her warm welcome to Greece, telling reporters: "I came here to understand the situation on the ground. Close contact leads to greater understanding. What the visit means to Greeks, I don't know." She may have been unaware of protesters holding banners demanding "Frau Merkel Get Out" and pensioners wearing signs proclaiming "Get Out of Our Country Bitch".
However, Greece's image in the international press will be marred by yet more protests and clashes between riot police and protesters. Although a steel wall has been erected to protect the Greek Parliament building, protesters tried to break it down as they set fire to the Nazi flag.
Ekatimerini reported riot police fired tear gas at protesters as mainly peaceful protests were disturbed by isolated incidents of violence. Earlier in the day tear gas was used against protesting hospital personnel.
Proto Thema reported a naked man streaked in front of thousands of cheering protesters. It was later reported the naked man was a foreigner.
Thus far almost 100 arrests have been reported and one man died of a heart attack.
Further protests are due outside the German Embassy at 6pm.
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