Security boosted after guerrilla group’s warning
The Greek Police have redrafted a security plan ahead of a scheduled visit to Athens on November 15 and 16 by outgoing US President Barack Obama in the wake of a hand grenade attack on the French Embassy on Thursday and calls by an urban guerrilla group yesterday for attacks and protests to sabotage Obama’s visit.
A high-ranking officer of the Greek Police told Kathimerini that it was decided during a meeting that followed the attack on the French Embassy that the number of police on duty next Tuesday and Wednesday would be increased by 30 percent, to around 3,000. In addition to Greek security services, some 300 American agents will be in the capital to protect the president.
An original plan for Obama to speak on Pnyx Hill on Wednesday was canceled and authorities have instead chosen the Stavros Niarchos Cultural Center as a safer venue.
Already on alert following the embassy attack, the Greek Police’s counterterrorism department is increasingly involved in talks on security next week after the Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire posted a statement on the Internet yesterday, calling for “attacks and clashes” next week to “sabotage” Obama’s visit. “We don’t want this to be simply an occasion to let off steam until the next demonstration but the beginning of the creation of an organized anarchist movement for the destruction of state power.”
Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire has claimed responsibility for a string of bomb attacks on police, judges and politicians. The organization has been on the US State Department’s list of terrorist group since 2011 following the arrest of members who tried to mail parcel bombs to embassies and European leaders.