IMF chief sparks Facebook war by Greeks

Greek web users waged Facebook war against IMF head Christine Lagarde on Sunday after she accused their countrymen of dodging taxes.

The French managing director of the International Monetary Fund received more than 10,000 messages, many of them obscene, on her page on the online social network -- where her postings typically draw a couple of hundred comments.

By late Sunday afternoon a separate Facebook page had sprung up titled "Greeks are against Lagarde".

Its creators described it as "the page through which to show displeasure as a nation towards Lagarde!", with a picture of the IMF chief.

Greeks accused Lagarde on her page of belittling their suffering in an economic crisis that has seen salaries and pensions cut, in a recession now in its fifth year.

Lagarde told Britain's Guardian newspaper in an interview published Friday that Greeks must "help themselves" by all paying taxes, saying she was more concerned about Africans in poverty than Greeks in the economic crisis.

"You should say that to the relatives of the 3,000 Greeks that have committed suicide, to the one million unemployed," wrote a Facebook user under the nickname Ntavos Paok.

"You should tell your countrymen, who were many years in colonial Africa enriching themselves by stealing from the grandparents of the children you so hypocritically think of by comparing them with Greeks."

Retired civil servant Christina Tsekoura wrote of the hardship of her and husband whose pensions have been cut and who pay housing tax as well as supporting their unemployed daughter.

"My family does not owe one euro to the tax office, to a public agency or a bank in Greece or abroad," she wrote.

"We believe in honesty, hard work and merit. I forbid you from equating me with thieves and taunting my family."

Greece made a deal in 2010 to receive hundreds of billions of euros (dollars) from the IMF and the EFSF, a European Union bailout fund, to rescue it from financial collapse, in return for tough reforms.

One Facebook user, Litsa Sterp, resorted to ancient Greek wisdom, quoting the first-century scholar Plutarch: "Flee the hostile and tyrannous money-lender who interferes in your freedom and attaches conditions."

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