- 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
PUBLISHED:18:51 EST, 6 September 2012| UPDATED:01:54 EST, 7 September 2012
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.
But he insisted there would be strings attached for any government that wants to tap the scheme, with the conditions overseen by Europe and the International Monetary Fund.
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.