Public gatherings and rallies will not be allowed in central Athens on Thursday due to the visit of German President Joachim Gauck, who is due to meet with Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos and SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras, whose party on Wednesday repeated calls for Germany to consider paying Second World War reparations to Greece.
Gauck arrived in Athens Wednesday afternoon, hours after SYRIZA MP and war hero Manolis Glezos insisted that Germany should pay damages to Greece and pay back a loan that the country was forced to grant the Nazi regime.
“What does moral debt mean?” Glezos told Real FM in response to Kathimerini’s interview with Gauck in which he recognized that Germany had a “moral debt” to Greece.
“Germany’s moral debt to others translated into them paying what others had assessed,” added the 91-year-old lawmaker. “There is no doubt here about the forced loan or anything else. Some talk about how big the loan was. The issue is, can we agree whether there was a forced loan or not? Then we can confirm how big it was.”
Glezos asked for Greek President Karolos Papoulias to take up the issue with Gauck during his three-day visit. The two men are due to meet in Athens on Thursday.
As a result, the police issued a decision on Wednesday banning rallies in the city center between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. Identical bans have been put in place during the visit of other dignitaries over the last few years.
Gauck is due to travel with Papoulias to Ioannina on Friday. He will visit the village of Ligiades, where Nazi occupying forces executed 81 people in October 1943.