SÜDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG, DPA, DAPD, HGN, WOJA (Germany)
ATHENS - Some 7,000 police, including reinforcements brought in from across Greece, will be ensuring extra-tight security during German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s first visit to Athens since the breakout of the financial crisis.
The government fears the visit on Tuesday could unleash hostility from citizens who hold the Chancellor responsible for the harsh austerity measures their country faces.
In addition to the parliament building and Syntagma Square in central Athens, the German Embassy and Goethe Institute will receive special protection, as will the airport and the hotel where Merkel is based for the six-hour visit.
Greece’s two largest unions have announced a three-hour strike and large demonstration in downtown Athens. The Communists and largest opposition party Syriza have also called for demonstrations. The right-wing, anti-austerity party Independent Greeks intends to demonstrate in front of the Germany Embassy.
Chancellor Merkel’s visit takes place as Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’s government negotiates 31.5 billion euros worth of further aid for Greece -- which is on the brink of bankruptcy -- with the EU, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank.