German chancellor Angela Merkel said Greece has covered "much of the ground" required for recovery, during her landmark visit to the financially stricken country.
Merkel, who stopped in Athens on Tuesday for five hours, said she hoped Greece would remain in the 17-country group that uses the nation eurozone and stressed the government in Athens still had to push through more key cost-cutting reforms.
And it’s no secret the Greek people are unhappy with Germany’s proposed austerity measures. So unhappy, in fact, that thousands massed in Athens ahead of the German Chancellor's visit to let her know what they think of her budget-slashing proposals:
"Some [protesters] pelted police with rocks, bottles and sticks, and tried to bust through a barricade set up to protect Merkel and her delegation," Reuters reports. "Police detained dozens of protesters in what they said was one of the biggest demonstrations in months."
Luckily for the German leader, Greek authorities didn't take any chances with her safety.
"Police ... deployed 6,000 officers, including anti-terrorist units and rooftop snipers, to provide security ... German sites in the Greek capital, including the embassy and Goethe Institute, are under special protection,” the report adds.
Greece has depended on bailouts from fellow countries in the 17-country group that uses the euro and the International Monetary Fund since May 2010. To get the loans, it implemented a series of deep income cuts and tax hikes, while increasing retirement ages and facilitating private sector layoffs.
Germany has contributed the most money to Greece's bailouts, compared to the other eurozone members, because the size of its economy means it pays the largest amount to the region's rescue funds. However it has also been Athens' strongest critic, insisting that Greeks take on more austerity measures and reforms to right their economy and remain solvent.
"Much of the ground has been covered ... There is daily progress," Merkel said after talks with conservative Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras. "This is an effort that should be seen through because otherwise it would make the circumstances even more dramatic later on."
Although Merkel damped expectations in Athens of a strong public pledge to keep Greece in the eurozone, Samaras said Merkel's visit had ended "the country's international isolation."
Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter
The Associated Press contributed to this report.