Greek Police Clash With Protesters as Merkel Visits

Athens swarming with 7K police as unions decry German chancellor
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 9, 2012 7:53 AM CDT

(Newser) – Angela Merkel is not a popular person in Greece. That's why, as she arrived in Athens today, the city had deployed roughly 7,000 police officers and even rooftop snipers in anticipation of potential protests—and unions did not disappoint, defying bans on protesting put in place for much of downtown Athens. Police have fired teargas at some crowds, the BBC reports, as some protesters threw stones, while others waved Nazi flags and held banners declaring, "No to the Fourth Reich."

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Police have said they'll resort to water cannons if things get hairy enough, the New York Times reports. Merkel's visit will last just six hours, during which time she'll meet with Greek leaders and entrepreneurs. BBC correspondents say it's mostly a symbolic gesture, indicating her support for Greece's continued eurozone membership, but protesters blame her for Germany's relentless austerity demands. The visit comes amid a new IMF forecast predicting that Greece will miss its five-year debt reduction target, CNBC reports—two former government ministers said further writedowns were "absolutely inevitable." (Read more Angela Merkel stories.)

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