Greek police hit media again during austerity protest

Agence France-Presse / Hurriyet

A Greek photographer suffered a serious head injury from a police truncheon during an anti-austerity protest in another case of police brutality against media this week, a police source said Friday.

Workers at a shop look at riot policemen passing by during a demonstration in Athens on April 5, 2012, held in reaction to the suicide of a debt-ridden elderly Greek man. AFP photo

Marios Lolos, a 46-year-old photographer working for the Chinese news agency Xinhua, is to undergo surgery later in the day, the police source and the association of Greek journalist unions Poesy said.

Lolos, who is also the head of the Greek photographers’ union, “sustained a cranial injury from a truncheon blow,” Poesy said.

The incident occurred on Thursday night as a few hundred people gathered in Athens to protest against government austerity measures in the name of a 77-year-old pensioner who committed suicide on Wednesday apparently over debt despair.

Another two journalists had been shoved to the ground by police on Wednesday at another protest held a few hours after the pensioner shot himself dead.

The retired pharmacist killed himself under a cypress tree in Syntagma Square on Wednesday, about hundred metres (yards) from parliament, saying government austerity cuts had “wiped out” his pension and left him in penury.

Hundreds of thousands of Greeks have lost their jobs in the last year, and unemployment currently tops one million, a quarter of the workforce.

Debt-wracked Greece has been forced to drastically cut state spending, and has slashed civil servant salaries and pensions by up to 40 percent to secure bailout loan payments from the European Union and International Monetary Fund.