Greeks tell Merkel she is not welcome

Last updated 12:19 09/10/2012

Relevant offers

Europe

US army chief 'very concerned' at UK defence cuts Would-be burglar's brick bounces back ... into his face Aggressive owl terrorises Dutch town 'Jihadi John' Mohammed Emwazi won't have the same impact unmasked 'I am not afraid': Russians march in memory of Boris Nemtsov As 'Jihadi John' is unmasked, radicalism rife at UK universities Boris Nemtsov: Assassination after late dinner PM welcomes news Prince Harry to visit New Zealand after quitting army Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov shot dead in Moscow Former pop star Gary Glitter sentenced to 16 years for child sex offences

About 8,000 demonstrators chanted anti-austerity slogans and hoisted banners warning Angela Merkel she was not welcome in Greece at a protest on the eve of a visit by the German chancellor.

Organised by labour unions fed up with wage and benefit cuts during three years of austerity, the demonstration was called before Merkel announced she was coming to Greece in a gesture of support for the government's fiscal reform efforts.

But protesters did not miss the opportunity to vent their anger at Merkel, whose insistence on a tough reform programme many Greeks blame for their country's plight.

The main banner in front of parliament was a large German flag emblazoned with the words "Angela, you are not welcome!".

"We want Merkel to leave Greece alone because her measures only bring poverty," said protester Antigone Beza, 48, an Athens saleswoman. "We will fight and we will resist and we will shout 'Go home!'"

Greece is preparing extensive security measures for tomorrow's six-hour visit, Merkel's first to Greece since the debt crisis erupted there in 2009.

Police have banned gatherings in most of central Athens and will deploy 6,000 police as well as anti-terrorist units and rooftop snipers.

The German leader, who has been caricatured as a Nazi in the Greek press, has softened her rhetoric in recent months, apparently having decided that Greece should stay in the euro zone for now.

The Greek government is in negotiations with international lenders on more budget cuts to secure the vital next instalment of a €130-billion bailout keeping Athens afloat. The measures are sure to prompt more protests.

Ad Feedback

- Reuters

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content