Despite measures to avoid protests, large crowds greeted German Chancellor Angela Merkel as she visited Greece for the first time since the Eurozone crisis began in 2007.
In anticipation of Merkel’s visit, security was tight. Greek police banned demonstrations along Merkel’s route and halted some commuter trains, but that didn’t stop tens of thousands from amassing near the Parliament building. An estimated 7,000 police kept the 250,000 protesters mostly under control during Merkel’s six-hour visit, but there were some violent incidents reported. Police fired tear gas on protestors as they threw stones and attempted to storm a barricade near the Parliament. Other protesters dressed as Nazis and burned Nazi flags.
Youth unemployment remains above 50 per cent in the debt-ridden country, as it continues to struggle with austerity measures. But the measures are necessary, said Merkel, who used a joint press conference with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras to say that Greece must press on with its plans for financial reform.