Several hundred protesters gathered Wednesday in Athens to express anger over the Greek government's debt-fighting austerity measures after a 77-year-old retiree committed suicide in a downtown square. Their anger is expected to reflect in upcoming elections. REUTERS

An elderly Greek man in his 70s committed suicide near the parliament building in Athens in in protest against the tough financial measures taken by the government.

The 77- year-old pensioner blamed the government in his suicide note stating that he was unable to survive because of the government's austerity measures.

According to the police, the retired pharmacist shot himself in the head with a handgun near a crowded subway on central Syntagma Square.

"I find no other solution than a dignified end before I start searching through the trash for food," read the suicide note handed over to the police by his daughter. The police did not confirm on the authenticity of the suicide note.

The news of his suicide triggered violence in Athens later in the day with protesters clashing with riot police.

Nearly 1,500 people clashed with police hurling stones and petrol bombs outside parliament, according to an Associated Press report.

"It is tragic when a fellow human being takes his own life. In those difficult times for our society we must all - state and citizens - support those next to us who stand in despair," said Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos in a statement.

"A pharmacist ought to be able to live comfortably on his pension. So for him to reach the point of suicide out of economic hardship means a lot. It shows how the social fabric is unravelling," AP quoted Vassilis Papadopoulos, a spokesman for the "I won't pay" group, as saying.

Greece has agreed to the European Union to implement strict austerity measures including cuts in salaries and pensions and raise in taxes to secure its second bailout programme.

These measures are on top of the first austerity cuts brought in by the government in 2010.