Minister appeals for calm in Athens during tense weekend

Greek Public Order Minister Vassilis Kikilias (photo) on Thursday called on political parties and citizens to show self-restraint over the next few days as Athens enters a particularly tense period.

Kikilias made his appeal as the police announced that protests and marches would be banned in central Athens on Friday due to the arrival of Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu for the latest meeting of the Greek-Turkish High-Level Cooperation Council.

The ban, similar to ones that have been put in place for visits by other foreign leaders, such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel, will be in place from 6 a.m. on Friday to 3 p.m. on Saturday.

However, Davutoglu’s visit is only the first of three major events this weekend.

The second is the anniversary on Saturday of the 2008 murder of teenager Alexis Grigoropoulos by a police officer, while Parliament votes on the 2015 budget on Sunday, when unions are planning to hold protests.

“Taking into account the responsibilities we all have, I call on political parties, social groups and above all citizens, regardless of their political positions and views, to understand the seriousness and importance of these moments,” said Kikilias.