Suicide in Greece leads to protests

A 77 year old man, apparently distraught over cuts to his pension, committed suicide and left a note blasting politicians for the sorry state of affairs in Greece.


Greeks paid tribute Thursday to an elderly man who took his own life in central Athens in an apparent response to the hardship caused by the austerity crisis.

Flowers, candles and handwritten sympathy notes sat by a tree in Syntagma Square, where Dimitris Christoulas committed suicide Wednesday morning.

One message left reads, "This is not suicide, this is murder." Another says, "Government of murderers."


The retiree's suicide comes as the country prepares for elections that could be held as soon as May, and amid wide public anger about the austerity measures being imposed by the coalition government.

Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos expressed his regret Wednesday in a statement issued by his office.

"It is tragic when a fellow human being takes his own life. In those difficult times for our society we must all -- state and citizens -- support those next to us who stand in despair," he said.

Evangelos Venizelos, head of the socialist Pasok Party that holds a majority in the coalition government, called on colleagues to refrain from "political commentary" and to "show solidarity and togetherness."

Antonis Samaras, head of the conservative New Democracy Party, also part of the coalition, said politicians must do more to "help Greeks escape from despair."

With unemployment at 21%, there will probably be a lot more tragedies in Greece as the country tries to climb out of its financial hole.