Famous Greek riot dog Loukanikos dies

Image source, EPA
Image caption,
Loukanikos earned a reputation as a fearless protester

A ginger mongrel which became a Greek folk hero during anti-austerity riots in 2011 has died aged 10.

Loukanikos - meaning "Sausage" - charged and yelped alongside protesters when they confronted police and were tear-gassed in the streets of Athens.

A leftist newspaper, Avgi, says the dog has been buried in the shade of a tree on a hill in the city centre.

Loukanikos was a stray but a man took him in and looked after him. The dog was originally called Theodor.

In 2011 Time magazine listed Loukanikos as one of its personalities of the year.

The Greek news website Ta Nea quoted the man, Achilleas, as saying the dog was lying on the sofa asleep and "then suddenly his heart stopped beating". The dog's death in May has only just been reported.

Loukanikos was "not homeless, but he prefers to wander", the man said.

Ta Nea quoted a vet as saying Loukanikos had suffered some health problems from inhaling tear gas.

Faced with a mountain of debt, Greece negotiated a rescue with the EU and International Monetary Fund, who imposed tough austerity conditions on the government in 2011.

Huge job losses and welfare cuts were pushed through, in order to slash government spending - measures which triggered days of street protests. The public anger escalated into violence on many occasions.