Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Germany's Merkel reassures Greece (Al Jazeera video)


Oct. 9 - Police disperse protesters trying to storm barricade as the chancellor holds talks with Greek PM in Athens.

REPORTER: She arrived in a plane bearing the flags of two countries that are uncomfortably bound together by the crisis in the Eurozone. Angela Merkel's visit shows solidarity from the economic powerhouse of Europe to its weakest link and her host Antonis Samaras and his Greek government are desperately grateful for it.
From the streets a different mood. These hospital workers tried to block her convoy but were forced back by police. And in central Athens outside parliament many thousands came to protest despite police restrictions. Amongst them the leader of the Greek Left, Alexis Tsipras, who says austerity policies have been dictated to Greece by Mrs Merkel and have ruined this country. They came from all parts of society including reserves from the army who chanted that Nazis should leave the country.
PROTESTER: Mrs Merkel, hear the people of Greece. We are here. We are fighting for our rights and not for our country but for the whole Europe, for the people of Europe.
REPORTER: Many of the people who have come here to protest have seen their living standards fall dramatically in recent years but it's important to remember that Greek society is now very divided and there are others who are not protesting, who will welcome a visit, they will see it as a gesture of support from the most poerful politician in Europe.
MRS MERKEL: Much success has been achieved by the Greek government between 2009 and 2011. The deficit went down. Many other factors say a lot of work was done. It was not easy for the people but I am convinced these difficult ways are worth trying and Germany wants to be a good partner and friend for Greece at these difficult times.
REPORTER: On the streets things turned ugly. Eventually the police made a determined effort to disperse the crowds. Germans watching these scenes will wonder whether Greece is worth saving just as Greeks will wonder if they can take more pain. Mrs Merkel belatedly has acknowledged Greek sacrifices but the economy here will continue to shrink. Barnaby Phillips, Al Jazeera, Athens  

-If a crowd of people disperses, or if someone disperses it, the people separate and go in different directions.
-When a group of people storms something, they attack it suddenly with a lot of force.
-A barricade is a temporary wall, fence, or similar structure that is built to prevent people from entering a place or area.
-If you show solidarity with someone, you support them because you have the same opinions, aims, etc.
-A powerhouse is a group of people or an organization that has a lot of power.
-Austerity is an economic policy by which a government reduces the amount of money it spends by a large amount.
-A deficit is the total amount by which money spent is more than money received.
-When something happens belatedly, it happens very late or too late.
-When you acknowledge something, you accept that it is true.

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