There has been sadness as well as anger in Greece after a hard-up pensioner shot himself dead outside parliament in protest at government cuts he blamed for pushing him over the edge.
Among the notes people left by a tree, one said “Enough is enough” and another asked “Who will be the next victim?”
The death of the 77-year-old retired chemist has triggered an outpouring of sympathy in the country.
One in five is jobless including half of young people. Pensions and salaries have been cut.
“It’s a shame, it’s a great shame. He could have been one of us, from our family. We’re all heading there, we will all commit suicide,” said a 68-year-old woman, adding that her Easter bonus had been more than halved. “How will I manage to live? There’s the rent, my children.”
“Like me, people all over the world will be saddened by what happened. Those who won’t be are the 300 up there,” said another pensioner, as he pointed towards parliament.
The dead man has been named in Greek media as
Dimitris Christoulas. In a suicide note, he said he was driven to kill himself as he preferred a dignified end to being reduced to rummage for food in the rubbish.
The prime minister issued a statement describing the man’s death as a “tragedy”.
Among thousands who gathered on Wednesday night at the spot where the man died, some chanted: “This wasn’t suicide, it was murder by the state.”
Others reacted angrily; once again there were clashes in central Athens as hundreds vented their fury on police, who responded with tear gas.
Greece is in its fifth year of recession, amid austerity measures demanded by international lenders in exchange for bailout aid.
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