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Angela Merkel’s visit turns Athens into a 'fortress'

09 October 2012 / 12:10:37  GRReporter
3736 reads

The centre of Athens woke up to draconian security measures. Hours before the arrival of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the police have activated their security plan.
Angela Merkel will land at Athens airport "Eleftherios Venizelos" at 1:30 pm, where the Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras will meet her. The programme of the official visit is as follows:
- The talks between Angela Merkel and Antonis Samaras will begin at 2:15 pm at the Prime Minister's Maximou residence. After the meeting, the two leaders will make statements to the media.
- At 4:45 pm, the German Chancellor will meet with Greek President Carols Papoulias at the presidency.
- At 5:30 pm, Angela Merkel and Antonis Samaras will meet with representatives of Greek and German business circles.
Immediately afterwards, the German delegation will fly back to Berlin.

The streets are full of officers to ensure strict compliance with the ban on meetings and protest processions in the area between the parliament, the prime minister's residence, the presidency and the Hilton hotel where the German delegation will stay. In particular:

Stopping and parking of vehicles in the area around the German Embassy in Kolonaki has been banned since last night.
Iron barriers were installed in front of the parliament early in the morning. An iron fence was stretched across Vassilis Sofias Avenue to protect the side entrance.
Snipers are deployed around the Hilton hotel. Navy ships and teams of divers are in a state of complete readiness in the event that the security of Angela Merkel decides that the convoy of cars should move along the coastal avenue.
Police officers will be deployed along the route of the convoy. Their counterparts from the traffic police will stop the traffic flow shortly before the arrival of the delegation’s cars. Traffic police have warned that the traffic flow in many streets in the centre will be interrupted at intervals between 1 pm and 7 pm.
Prosecutors will be present at the two main operating centres at the police department and the Ministry of Public Order and Citizen Protection. Police will carry out preventive checks of citizens’ documents and will detain any suspects when deemed necessary.

The underground stations at Panepistimio, Syntagma, Evangelismos, Megaro Mousikis, Ambelokipi and Katehaki closed at 10 am. They will be opened only upon police order. Meanwhile, drivers of buses and trolleys have announced that they will hold a strike between 11 am and 4 pm.
The trade unions have stated that they will organize their meeting despite the ban on protests.
The members of the main opposition party SYRIZA will gather outside parliament on the corner of Othonos and Amalias streets at 12:30 pm. The meeting of the trade unions of public sector workers ADEDY and private sector employees GSEE will begin in Syntagma Square at 1 pm. The protest of the Communist Party’s trade union PAME will start in Omonia Square at the same time.


Tags: PoliticsSocietyAngela MerkelAntonis SamarasVisitSecurity measuresTrade unionsProtests
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