Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank, has been attacked by a protester during his regular press conference.
A woman jumped on the table where Mr Draghi was sat at the start of his interest rate press conference on Wednesday, yelling: “End ECB dictatorship”.
A similar phrase was written on the woman’s t-shirt.
The woman – who is thought to be named Josephine Witt, a political activist – dropped a shower of confetti and papers over the ECB president, who was taken by surprise.
The woman has been arrested, though no-one was hurt and Mr Draghi, who was escorted from the room for a brief period, was seen smiling after the incident occurred.
Mr Draghi even extended the hour-long press conference by ten minutes. “What I suggest is that we make up for the time we lost, so we can stay 10 minutes more,” he told reporters.
It came as the European Central Bank held its key interest rates steady as expected at its policy meeting on Wednesday, as signs multiply that its monetary medicine is slowly beginning to work.
The ECB’s governing council, meeting a day earlier than usual because of the meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund at the weekend, voted to hold the benchmark “refi” refinancing rate steady at its current all-time low of 0.05 percent.
The two other key rates – on the deposit and marginal lending facilities – were also unchanged at -0.2 percent and +0.3 percent, respectively.
ECB chief Mario Draghi was expected to explain the reasoning behind the decision at his usual post-meeting news conference.
Quantitative easing or QE is a massive 1.1-trillion-euro (.2 trillion) sovereign bond purchase scheme aimed at bringing area-wide inflation back up to levels consistent with healthy economic growth.
Under the programme, the ECB aims to buy 60 billion euros of bonds per month until September 2016.
The scheme has its critics, not least the head of the German central bank or Bundesbank, Jens Weidmann, who fear it will lessen pressure on governments to get their economies and finances in order.
Opponents are likely to argue for an early roll-back of the programme as the eurozone recovery picks up speed.
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