ATHENS -- A man shot himself dead in front of the Greek parliament building Wednesday, with witnesses saying that he shouted the words "I don't want to leave debts to my children" before committing suicide, the Greek newspaper Kathimerini reported.
The 77-year-old shot himself dead near the Syntagma metro station, about 100 yards from the parliament building on Syntagma Square. The incident occurred about 8:45am local time.
The square was full of commuters at the time of the incident. Kathimerini reported that the man shot himself while standing next to a large tree, adding that he was not in view of most of the commuters.
The man's identity was not given, and police are investigating why he committed suicide. There were conflicting reports about whether the man was heard calling out about being in debt prior to killing himself.
Skai TV reported that the man did not say anything before he shot himself in the head. The broadcaster also denied reports that a suicide note was found at the scene, in which the man criticized the government.
Depression and suicides have increased in Greece amid an economic crisis that sent unemployment soaring and salaries and pensions plummeting, though the country's suicide rate is lower than the European average, AFP reported.
Hundreds of thousands of Greeks lost their jobs over the past year, and the unemployment rate currently tops one million, a quarter of the workforce.