Skip to main content

Reports: Suicide victim cites Greek austerity

By the CNN Wire Staff
April 5, 2012 -- Updated 0823 GMT (1623 HKT)
People lay flowers at the site where an elderly man shot himself at Syntagma square in Athens on April 4, 2012.
People lay flowers at the site where an elderly man shot himself at Syntagma square in Athens on April 4, 2012.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The man, in his 70s, took his own life in central Athens, near the parliament building
  • He left note saying government actions meant he could not survive, reports say
  • Police in Athens say a gun was found nearby
  • Greece is in the grip of an austerity crisis after years of recession

Athens, Greece (CNN) -- An elderly man took his own life near the Greek parliament building in central Athens, police said Wednesday, in what was apparently a protest over the austerity crisis gripping the nation.

The man, who was in his mid-70s, wrote in a suicide note that the government had made it impossible for him to survive, according to Greek state TV.

Athanassios Kokkalakis, head of press for the police, said a suicide note had been handed to the press by the man's daughter but did not confirm what it said.

A police spokesman said there were other protesters in the area where the man killed himself at about 9 a.m. local time and a gun was found nearby, a police spokesman said.

Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos expressed his regret 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.

Pantelis Kapsis, a Greek government spokesman, told reporters the man's death was "a human tragedy" but said the exact circumstances were still unknown, according to a government website.

"I don't have any comment and I don't think this story offers anything to the political discussion," Kapsis said.

The nation at the center of Europe's debt crisis, Greece has been struggling with an unsustainable level of debt and an economy that has been in recession for years.

Under its second bailout program, approved earlier this year, Greece has agreed to implement a series of austerity measures and undertake broader reforms to make its economy more competitive.

Those cuts come on top of measures brought in after the first bailout in 2010.

Greece had an unemployment rate of 21% as of December 2011, according to figures from Eurostat, the European Union statistics office.

CNN's Elinda Labropoulou and Christine Theodorou contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
August 27, 2013 -- Updated 1943 GMT (0343 HKT)
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble says the eurozone's problems are not solved, but "we are in a much better shape than we used to be some years ago."
September 4, 2013 -- Updated 1528 GMT (2328 HKT)
The G20 is held in Russia but, amid disagreements over Syria, can anything be done? John Defterios investigates.
July 10, 2013 -- Updated 1502 GMT (2302 HKT)
Summer could not have come soon enough for Lloret de Mar, a tourist resort north of Barcelona. Despite the country's troubles, it's partying.
June 7, 2013 -- Updated 1750 GMT (0150 HKT)
The euro club has suffered major shockwaves but its newest member has emerged as an economic star. What;s behind Estonia's success?
May 29, 2013 -- Updated 1323 GMT (2123 HKT)
The global recovery has two speeds: That of the stimulus-fed U.S. and that of the austerity-starved eurozone, according to a new report.
May 14, 2013 -- Updated 1326 GMT (2126 HKT)
The flags of the countries which make up the European Union, outside the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France.
The "rich man's club" of Europe faces economic decay as it struggles to absorb Europe's "poor people", according to economic experts.
May 27, 2013 -- Updated 0256 GMT (1056 HKT)
Europe's competitiveness is threatened as manufacturing companies scrambling to find enough skilled engineers.
July 10, 2013 -- Updated 1502 GMT (2302 HKT)
Spain's economic crisis is in its sixth straight year yet tourism, worth 11% of GDP, is holding its own, one of the few bright spots on a bleak horizon.
May 2, 2013 -- Updated 1044 GMT (1844 HKT)
As European financial markets close for the spring celebration of May Day, protesters across Europe and beyond have taken to the streets to demonstrate.
April 26, 2013 -- Updated 1210 GMT (2010 HKT)
As Croatia prepares to enter the 27-nation European Union, the country's Prime Minister says Italy must return to being the "powerhouse of Europe."
April 25, 2013 -- Updated 1656 GMT (0056 HKT)
Spain's unemployment rate rose to a record high of 27.2% in the first quarter of 2013, the Spanish National Institute of Statistics said Thursday.
March 25, 2013 -- Updated 1355 GMT (2155 HKT)
The financial uncertainty in Cyprus is generating images of long lines at ATM machines and anti-European Union protests.
March 25, 2013 -- Updated 1815 GMT (0215 HKT)
Cyprus will "step up efforts in areas of fiscal consolidation." Where have we heard that before? Oh yes. Greece.
March 23, 2013 -- Updated 0139 GMT (0939 HKT)
The Cyprus debt crisis is being felt by the banks but also by the people who work at them. Nick Paton Walsh reports.
March 22, 2013 -- Updated 0010 GMT (0810 HKT)
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh reports on a Russian hotel maid caught up in Cyprus' financial crisis.
March 18, 2013 -- Updated 1608 GMT (0008 HKT)
Never underestimate the capacity of the Eurozone to shoot itself in both feet, says CNN's Richard Quest.
February 21, 2013 -- Updated 1603 GMT (0003 HKT)
Spain has seen hundreds of protests since the "Indignados" movement erupted in 2011, marches and sit-ins are now common sights in the capital.
ADVERTISEMENT