Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras on Tuesday toured the commercial center in the Athens suburb of Nea Ionia, where he was briefed by shopowners and local residents on the problems they face, and heard the business owners' complaints over the reduction of consumers' buying power and subsequently their shops' turnover.

Samaras called on the government to "finally comprehend the problems that exist" and to proceed with a change of policy.

Consumers, he said, have stopped going to the shops. "The situation has reached the point of no return, and I wonder what needs to happen for the government to realise this and change its heartless economic policy, which is creating this deficit in social cohesion".

"The Greek society has been deeply wounded," Samaras said, and urged the people to support their local societies and local markets.

He called on consumers, given the upcoming Easter, to shop in their neighborhood stores in order to boost the local markets, and to manifest unanimity, humanity, love and solidarity for the people in need -- the ill, the poor and the elderly.

"Let us all stand by them, each and every one of us knows what we can do," the ND leader said.

Samaras plans to make similar visits both inside and outside Attica prefecture.