Shoe thrown at Greek prime minister in cuts protests
A man threw a shoe at Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou on Saturday in protest at the socialist government's austerity measures, as thousands demonstrated against the proposed swathe of spending cuts and tax rises, dpa reported.
The shoe missed its intended target and the man was arrested along with two accomplices, radio reports said.
Several thousand angry protestors rallied late Saturday in the northern city of Thessaloniki where the prime minister was attending the opening of an international exhibition.
As the crowd chanted for the austerity package, aimed at rescuing the flailing Greek economy, be targeted at the wealthy, Papandreou repeated vowed to press ahead with the cuts, saying: "Yes, it must happen."
The 49-year-old assailant told reporters he was a radiologist and member of an ultra conservative organization. He said he threw the shoe in protest at government fiscal and labour reforms.
The austerity measures were introduced in a bid to get the budget deficit down from around 14 per cent of gross domestic product to under the European Union-mandated limit of 3 per cent by 2014.
Greece was saved from default in May by fellow euro area members, which agreed to lend it 80 billion euros over three years in return. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) added 30 billion euros.