Loukanikos, the riot dog, watches as riot policemen try to avoid an exploding petrol bomb thrown by protesters during a demonstration in Athens' Syntagma (Constitution) square Oct. 5, 2011. (Yannis Behrakis/Reuters)

Protests continue to break out in the country over austerity measures, and the country continues to struggle to meet budget and reform targets. But Loukanikos, or Sausage in English, has brought a bit of cheer back to the streets, tagging alongside protesters in the city. He’s shown up in news reports, both local and from around the world. Loukanikos even has his own Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr.

Reuters reports he’s also known as Kanellos, or Cinnamon.

At least 16,000 demonstrators poured into the streets of Athens last week to protest austerity measures. The city is facing a 24-hour transit strike Monday, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Loukanikos is one of the thousands of stray dogs who reside in Greece’s capital city. Officials there tag each of the dogs and care for them with food, vaccines and microchips.

“The municipality takes especial care of him because he's so lovable,” Athens deputy mayor Angelos Antonopoulos told Reuters. “And he's also a symbol — a symbol of freedom.”

As a protester throws a stone at riot police in front of the Greek parliament during minor clashes in Athens, Oct. 5, 2011, Loukanikos stands by. (Petros Giannakouris/Associated Press)

Video of Loukanikos, via Reuters.

(Thanks, Sonya!)