Angry demonstrations featuring activists dressed as Hitler and Nazis are being held on the streets of Athens, as German Chancellor Angela Merkel visits the Greek prime minister.
Authorities have staged a huge security operation, involving nearly 7,000 police and snipers positioned on the rooftops, amid fears anger over austerity measures could spill into violence.
There is simmering resentment in Greece over Germany forcing through a financial deal that saw austerity measures imposed on the country in return for multi-billion dollar bailout packages.
Mina Botsi, 50, an unemployed mother of two, told news agency Reuters: “Merkel should go home. Why is she here? She’s hurt us enough. The only thing she wants is more and more austerity. We can’t take it anymore.”
The Greek economy is in the direst of straits. It has shrunk by 23% in the past five years and debt stands at 346bn euros, or 179% of GDP.
By comparison, the UK’s stands at 66% of GDP.
But Greece has still managed to find enough cash to build a Formula One circuit in Xalandritsa near the western port of Patras.
It's thought that Merkel is dropping in partly as a show of support for Conservative Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, who is having a tough time convincing the population of the need for big budget cuts.
She is also expected to voice continued support for Greece’s continued membership of the eurozone.Suggest a correction