Second day of clashes in Athens after pensioner’s suicide (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

Demonstrators have clashed with police in the Greek capital for a second day following the suicide of an elderly man, an act which has come to symbolize the desperation felt by the Greek people in the face of the prevailing conditions of austerity.

­Several dozen youths smashed paving stones with hammers in order to throw them at riot police in Syntagma Square in central Athens on Thursday. The protesters chanted “Killer! Killers!” as police used tear-gas and flash grenades against the crowd.

Earlier the same day some 1,000 protesters had gathered at the place where 77-year-old Dimitris Christoulas shot himself in the head to lay flowers, candles and messages. Teachers, students, members of leftist groups and the "indignants", who held daily sit-ins for months last year, attended the demonstration near the improvised shrine. A peaceful demonstration also took place in the city of Thessaloniki.

On Wednesday evening, following the pensioner’s suicide, hundreds of protesters rallied in central Athens chanting: "This was not a suicide, it was a state-perpetrated murder" and "Blood flows and seeks revenge.” A couple of scuffles broke out between the protesters and riot police, who used pepper-spray to repel youths throwing bottles of water at them.

The retired pharmacist, who committed suicide just outside the parliament building, said in his suicide note that he refused “to search garbage for food” and become “a burden” on his child. He has been described as a martyr as his death symbolizes the painful effect of over two years of the harsh austerity measures imposed on debt-stricken Greece to secure bailouts from international lenders.

(Reuters / Yorgos Karahalis)
(Reuters / Yorgos Karahalis)
(Reuters / Yorgos Karahalis)
(Reuters / Yorgos Karahalis)
(Reuters / Yorgos Karahalis)
(Reuters / Yorgos Karahalis)