- Nearly 2,000 members of the Greek security forces attended rally in protest at austerity measures and proposed pay cuts
- Took place on same day as ECB launched new plan to save the euro by buying the debt of troubled eurozone countries
- Bold plan triggered a row with Germany which views it as central bank funding of ‘profligate’ governments.
By HUGO DUNCAN
Members of the Greek security forces staged a symbolic hanging in front of the nation’s parliament in Athens in protest at austerity measures in place in the debt-stricken country.
Uniformed members of the police force, fire brigade and coast guard staged the emotive demonstration during a rally yesterday to protest against cuts to security forces’ pay and benefits.
On the same day the European Central Bank launched a bold plan to save the crumbling euro from collapse, but this led to a damaging rift with Germany.
ECB president Mario Draghi said the bank will buy the debt of troubled eurozone countries such as Spain to bring down their borrowing costs and prevent a break-up of the single currency.
Stock markets soared across Europe, with the FTSE 100 up 119.48 points to 5777.34.
But the launch of so-called ‘outright monetary transactions’ triggered a row with Germany which is opposed to what it sees as central bank funding of profligate governments.
Jens Weidmann, head of the Bundesbank and a member of the ECB, has threatened to quit over Mr Draghi’s plan.
Mr Draghi said the ECB will focus on buying bonds – government IOUs – due for repayment within three years.
Christine Lagarde, managing director of the IMF, welcomed the ECB plan and said the organisation stood ‘ready to co-operate’.
Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy showed no sign of rushing to seek a bailout that would come with tough conditions for his recession-gripped country.
‘When there is news I will tell you,’ he said following a meeting in Madrid with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.