European Central Bank President Mario Draghi got a bit of a surprise during an otherwise bland press conference in Frankfurt on Wednesday.
A woman leapt onto Draghi's desk and showered him with papers and what appeared to be confetti as she shouted “end the ECB dictatorship.”
Draghi was unhurt and quickly resumed discussing the bank’s plan to monitor inflation of the euro over the next two years. The ECB said the protester falsely enrolled at the conference as a reporter.
"Initial findings suggest that the activist registered as journalist for a news organization she does not represent," the ECB said in a statement. "Like all visitors to the ECB, she went through an identity check, metal detector and x-ray of her bag, before entering the building."
The protester may have been referring to Draghi’s plan to stimulate the European economy with a $1.3 trillion bond-buying program, which some are worried will lead to high inflation. The plan mirrors the quantitative easing measures taken by the U.S. Federal Reserve, which have helped buoy the U.S. economy even as Europe struggles on the brink of recession and China’s growth slows.
Financial Times’ reporter Peter Spiegel said on Twitter that his followers thought the woman's accent sounded German, though her identity has not been confirmed. Germany -- a country with strong concerns about inflation dating back to its post-World War I economic devastation -- has sharply criticized the bond-buying plan. Long the powerhouse of the eurozone, Germany remains reluctant to shell out more money to bolster weaker economies in the European Union.
“ECB takes on the billion-euro debts of weak EU states,” wrote Bild, the country’s best-selling tabloid, in a headline on its website in January. “What will happen now with my money?”
This story was updated with a statement from the ECB.