'We don't deserve that': German press slams Greek protests
BERLIN - Agence France-Presse
A protester clashes with riot police outside a barrier errected to protect the Greek parliament in Athens during a demonstration against the vist of the German Chancellor Angela Merkel on October 9, 2012. AFP PhotoThe German press was united in its disgust on Wednesday after some Greek demonstrators dressed in Nazi uniforms and flew swastikas to protest Chancellor Angela Merkel's visit to Athens.
"Germany does not deserve THAT," screamed mass-circulation daily Bild, the country's most read paper, on its front page, under a picture of protesters in Nazi garb performing the Hitler salute and waving a swastika flag.
"Nauseating protests against Merkel in Athens. And we're still paying more," cried the daily.
"Greece, that's enough. You could scarcely think of something more ungrateful ... the Greece that showed itself in central Athens yesterday does not belong in the euro," wrote the paper in an editorial.
Merkel's visit on Tuesday, her first since the eurozone debt crisis erupted three years ago, was marked by a softer tone as she praised the efforts Greece has already made and encouraged it to continue the "hard road" of reform.
But most of the German media seemed to judge the trip as a failure in terms of bringing the two countries together after years of deteriorating relations, as many Greeks blame Merkel for the austerity imposed in return for aid.
"Merkel's visit was intended as a goodwill gesture, but it is doubtful that her quiet expressions of sympathy were heard by the demonstrators," said the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung daily.
"Only when they realise that the 'Fourth Reich' is not to blame for their misery will Greeks see the light at the end of the tunnel which the chancellor evoked," added the paper.
Berlin-based daily Tagesspiegel also feared that the message was lost amid the protests. "Merkel came to praise Greece, but hardly anyone is so hated there as she is," said the daily.
And Merkel herself came under fire in Bild for what the paper believed was a political miscalculation.
"The chancellor's visit was well-meaning. But it was politically wrong. She now has her hands tied," wrote the paper, referring to her determination to keep Greece in the eurozone.