Berlin: Activists Interrupt Greek PM’s Speech

Student activists interrupted a speech by Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou in Berlin on Monday, chanting Greek slogans and throwing fliers into the air as Papandreou attempted to deliver a lecture on the lessons of the financial crisis.

“As I was saying, democracy is not easy,” Papandreou said after many of the demonstrators were removed from a lecture hall at Berlin’s Humboldt University, only to be interrupted by a second wave of protesters who stood up in the audience of more than a hundred people, unfurling banners challenging his leadership and the deep cuts his government has introduced as a trade-off for aid from its euro-zone partners and the International Monetary Fund.

“I do represent the democratically elected government of Greece,” he said, chastising the protesters for disrupting a public forum as he also offered an open dialogue about their concerns.

“No one says this is an easy thing to do, the changes we are making in Greece,” Papandreou said. “But we are ready to take this pain and make these changes for the betterment of our country.”

One of the demostrators, a 20-year-old art history student who was filming the proceedings with a digital camera and gave only her first name, Joanna, said the loosely organized Greek students studying around Berlin had come together in the last few days to protest “unending corruption, in this government and before.”