Athenians told to stay put for EU

Athenians were told yesterday to avoid unnecessary trips through the city center for three days next week due to security for a top European Union meeting for the signing of 10 new member states’ accession treaties. A police statement said security would be «particularly strong» on the route from the airport to the central Athens hotels where the 15 EU heads of government will be staying along with the new members’ leaders, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and senior officials from Russia and other observers. The same will apply to the routes officials’ motorcades will follow from the hotels to the Zappeion Hall and the Ancient Agora, where most of the summit events will be held. Up to 10,000 officers will be on duty. «We ask citizens to show understanding,» the statement said, «and restrict their movements to what is absolutely necessary, from the afternoon of April 15 to the afternoon of April 17.» The accession treaties will be signed on April 16 and an informal EU summit will be held on April 17. Two Syntagma Sq. anti-war protests are planned for April 16, which will be a public sector holiday.