Rallies banned as part of security plan for Merkel's visit

A major security operation will be in place on Friday in central Athens for the visit of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

As was the case when she visited in October 2012, public gatherings and protest marches have been banned in a large part of downtown Athens.

Nevertheless, a number of unions have organized a protest rally to be held at Klafthmonos Square, which is outside the police exclusion zone, at 5 p.m.

SYRIZA has called on its supporters to protest peacefully.

Megaro Mousikis and Evangelismos stations are due to close at 1.30 p.m., while Syntagma and Acropolis stations will close at 6 p.m.

Merkel is expected to arrive at Athens International Airport at 2.30 p.m.

From there she will travel to the Hilton Hotel, where she will take part in a young entrepreneurs’ forum with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.

The two leaders are then due to hold talks at the Maximos Mansion at 5.30 p.m.

The German chancellor is due to leave Athens at around 8 p.m.