A 77-year-old Greek man has committed suicide in central Athens by the nation’s parliament, shooting himself with a handgun in apparent financial desperation.
Eyewitness reports say that the man shouted “So I won’t leave debts for my children” before turning the gun on himself. Others claimed he said nothing.
Greek state media reports the man left a suicide note saying “The Tsolakoglou government has annihilated all traces for my survival. And since I cannot find justice, I cannot find another means to react besides putting a decent end [to my life], before I start searching the garbage for food and become a burden for my child.”
Georgios Tsolakoglou headed the Greek collaborationist government during the German occupation of Greece in the Second World War.
The note has been widely regarded as drawing a parallel between Lucas Papademos’ current collaborationist government and Tsolakoglou’s regime because of the economic crisis in the country.
In his note, the deceased forecasts the Greek government a fate similar to Benito Mussolini’s if they continue robbing young people of their future. The Italian dictator’s body hung in Milan for public view several days after his execution in April 1945.
“Young people without a future will one day take up arms and hang the traitors upside down in Syntagma Square, as the Italians did to Mussolini in 1945,” the message reportedly reads.
“Syntgama” is a Greek word for “constitution”. Syntagma Square, where the elderly man committed suicide, lies in front of the Greek Parliament.
Calls for ‘Syntagma afternoon’ protests
The incident occurred around 9 am (local time), just outside a metro station, when the square was filled with people and commuters. The man took his life behind a big tree, which concealed him from most eyes.
Some reports identify the man as Dimitris Christoulas. This is yet to be confirmed by the police.
The pensioner appears to have been a retired pharmacist who owned a drugstore in Athens, which he sold in 1994, Costas Lourantos, the head of the Attica Pharmacist’s Association told Skai radio.
The Greek community has issued calls for a “Syntagma afternoon.” Over 1,700 people have signed up to an event announced via Facebook: “Everyone at Syntagma. Let’s not get used to death.”
“I am truly shocked,” Athens doctor Dimitris Giannopoulos told the Associated Press, “because I see that as destroying my dignity… and the only thing they care about are bank accounts.“
Live footage shows dozens of people already flocking to Syntagma Square. Some pay tribute and leave immediately, others stay. Motorcyclists said they would stage a protest ride around the capital in the evening.
Throughout the day, people have been bringing flowers to the tree under which the desperate old man took his own life. Numerous messages have been left on the tree: “Austerity kills,” “Enough is enough,” “Not a suicide; a murder” or “Who’s gonna be next?”