Death of pensioner sparks protests in Greece: Video

From the Guardian:

Until 1994 Christoulas was a local chemist in the central Athens neighbourhood of Ambelokipoi. A committed leftist, he was active in citizens’ groups such as "I won’t pay", which started as a one-off protest against toll fees but quickly turned into an anti-austerity movement.

Neighbours say the pensioner had placed a protest banner on the balcony of the first-floor flat where he had lived alone.

Only days before his death, Christoulas had insisted on paying his share of the "communal expenses" contributed by residents in the building, although payment was not due for several weeks. This was part of the meticulousness that appears to have defined a man who for 35 years had contributed to his pension fund without, as he also made clear in his note, any "state support".

But like so many of Greece’s older generation, the retired pharmacist had instead found himself paying for his debt-stricken country’s monumental crisis, saying in his note that his pension had been cut to the point where it had "nullified any chance of my survival".

The anger that prompted Christoulas to take his own life in Syntagma Square in view of the Greek parliament is shared by much of the middle-class and low-income Greeks who have carried a disproportionate burden of the stringent tax increases, and pay and pension cuts meted out in the name of putting Greece on an economically sustainable path.


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