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In Greece, Retiree's Suicide Sparks Protests And Clashes With Police

Demonstrators clashed with riot police in Athens overnight.
Aris Messinis
AFP/Getty Images
Demonstrators clashed with riot police in Athens overnight.

The human toll from the financial crisis in Greece now has a human face.

After 77-year-old retired pharmacist Dimitris Christoulas killed himself Wednesday outside the parliament building in Athens, a suicide note he left was reported to say that he felt he must take a "dignified end to my life" because austerity measures and "annihilated all traces for my survival," particularly his pension.

The news drew Greeks to Athens' Syntagma Square, and last night "protesters clashed with riot police," the BBC reports. It adds that:

"Violence erupted, with petrol bombs hurled at police, who fired tear gas in response."

The Guardian has posted video of the unrest.

The Guardian adds that today, markets are down in Europe because of the tensions in Greece, and that people have been gathering again in Syntagma Square.

On All Things Considered Wednesday, Joanna Kakissis reported about the suicide and the reaction to it.

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.