Security tight in Athens ahead of Merkel visit

Security tight in Athens ahead of Merkel visit

A total of 2,000 police officers are to be deployed across Athens for a two-day visit of German Chancellor Angela Merkel starting on Thursday afternoon.

Security is expected to be tight in the city centre with an intensified police presence around buildings such as the German embassy, the house of the German ambassador and the Goethe Institute, while several roads are likely to be closed.

Merkel is reportedly been accompanied by 10 German officers of her personal security detail.

Officers of the Greek Police (ELAS) inspected on Wednesday venues the chancellor is expected to visit.

Authorities have banned public gatherings and marches in the city centre as of 6 p.m. The ban will not affect a planned rally by leftist groups at Propylea but protesters will not be allowed to proceed towards Syntagma square.

Neo-Nazi Golden Dawn's protest will also be affected because the rallying point is Evangelismos hospital, located within the security zone.

Members of known anarchist groups are also under surveillance to prevent any activities on their part. 

Metro services will also be disrupted with station Enavgelismos closing at 4 p.m., followed by Katehaki, Megaro Mousikis and Syntagma at 4.30 p.m., ahead of Merkel’s arrival at Athens’s international airport.

On Friday, authorities will close Syntagma station from 8.30 a.m. to 11.30 a.m. There will be no metro services from Plakendia station to the airport for the duration of her visit. 

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