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Police ban on protests while Merkel is in Athens

08 October 2012 / 16:10:31  GRReporter
3288 reads

Athens will become a fortress during tomorrow's visit of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The security plan will be activated immediately after her landing at "Eleftherios Venizelos" airport.
Then, the escort of cars will head to the Hilton hotel in the centre of Athens and along the route will be uniformed guards as well as plainclothes police officers. Indicative is the fact that all the streets along the route of the cars with the German delegation will be empty. The police have banned all public meetings and processions in the streets around the airport, along the way to the hotel and in a broad area around the Prime Minister's residence, the presidency and parliament from 9 am to 10 pm in order to "ensure public safety and the normal flow of socioeconomic activities in Athens."
Angela Merkel’s meeting with Antonis Samaras will take place at the Maximou residence at 2 pm. At 4:45 pm, she will cross the presidency’s threshold to meet with Carlos Papoulias.
The security measures will involve over 7,000 police officers. Colleagues from the country are expected to support them. For security reasons, the members of security forces will be notified of their deployment at the last minute.
The decisions and the plan for the deployment of security forces were taken at last night’s meeting of the ministers of interior, public order and citizen protection, defence and foreign affairs.
Police officers will be instructed to ensure strict compliance with the order. They will be allowed to make preventive arrests of suspicious persons and to take immediate measures to prevent the slightest tension. The aim is to not allow individuals or groups to provoke clashes.
The main task of the police is to prevent them at all costs in order to avoid scenes discrediting Greece on a day when all eyes will be focused upon it.

photo: tovima.gr

The security plan is divided into two parts: the first one is related to Angela Merkel’s arrival, meetings and departure whereas the second part is connected with guarding the planned protests mainly in Syntagma Square.
According to some commentators, security measures would be even more stringent than those undertaken during the visit of the U.S. President at the time Bill Clinton in November 1999.
The command post, which will guide all the actions, is now installed at the headquarters of the Greek police at the Ministry of Public Order. It will follow the developments in the centre of Athens from there and will give orders for the implementation of the security plan in accordance with them.
Two police helicopters will be patrolling over Athens, which will not land before the end of the German Chancellor’s one-day visit. The area around the German embassy, ​​the cultural and educational institute "Goethe" and all German companies will be closely guarded.
The police press office has announced that the underground stations "Syntagma" and "Evangelismos," which is close to the Hilton hotel will close today at 3 pm for security reasons, because of the trade union protests at 6 pm. The message states that they will reopen after the procession and following the express orders of the police. The same measure will be implemented tomorrow, during the visit of Angela Merkel.
At the same time, trade unions and political parties are preparing a "warm" welcome for her. The protests will begin with today's big meeting of the unions GSEE and ADEDY in Syntagma Square at 6 pm.  
They have announced a three-hour work stoppage from 12 o’clock to 3 pm tomorrow and will organize a new protest on Syntagma at 1 pm. The meeting of the Communist trade union PAME is also planned for 1 pm in Omonia Square.
At 6 pm, the Independent Greeks party will hold a protest in front of the German Embassy. The party has indicated that it wants to show its disagreement with "making Greece a German protectorate." Independent Greeks intend to submit to the German Ambassador, "a manifesto of protest to require the German reparations and the repayment of the occupation loan as well as the submission of the list of names drawn up by the former head of Siemens in Greece, Michalis Christoforakos, to the Greek authorities."
The main opposition party - the radical left SYRIZA has asked the Greek citizens "to send a peaceful and determined message" on the occasion of the German Chancellor’s visit.
For its part, Communist Party leader Aleka Papariga has urged the Greeks to go out on mass meetings against Antonis Samaras’ government and Angela Merkel’s visit.
According to the latest information, the police have not yet decided whether they will still allow the protest processions to reach the bottom of Syntagma Square. During the meetings and demonstrations, the underground stations "Evangelismos", "Syntagma", "Panepistimio" and "Omonia" will remain closed.
The police ban on protests in the centre has caused a new "war" in the social media. Some of the Greek users, who support the protests, defined the measure as a "junta".
Others openly mock the revolutionary spirit of their fellow citizens and posted pictures like this:

or this, which reads:

"Greek patriot, if you own a BMW, a Mercedes or a Volkswagen, break your car in front of Merkel’s eyes to show her how distasteful she is to you."

Tags: PoliticsSocietyAngela MerkelVisitSecurity measuresTrade unionsProtests
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