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Greek protests over Merkel visit

Stones are being thrown at Greek riot police who are firing teargas in return at protesters on the streets of Athens demonstrating against the visit of the German Chancellor Angela Merkel - her first since the euro crisis began.

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  1. James Mates

German Chancellor Merkel to visit Greece

I think Chancellor Merkel is here in Athens for two reasons. She has been convinced over the summer that Greece must be kept in the euro - the consequences of it leaving would be too serious - and she's here to show her commitment to that.

She'd also like to show her support for the new Conservative leader Mr Samaras here who she likes, who she seems to consider the "least bad" if you like of the Greek leaders that she's had to deal with.

What she won't be doing is coming here bearing gifts.

There's going to be no new money, there's going to be no relaxation of the conditions she's demanding from the Greeks, and that's where the danger lies.

Because if ordinary Greeks see this as purely a PR visit - if they spend tomorrow fighting running battles here in Athens' main square with the Greek police - it could turn into a PR disaster.

Especially if Germans back home have to see pictures of their flag being burnt and them being equated to the Nazis, it is not going to make them keener on sending more money to Greece.

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