Athens lock­down as po­lice fo­cus on ter­ror con­cerns

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Po­lice have been placed on high alert in the Greek cap­i­tal in an­tic­i­pa­tion of Barack Obama’s visit. Dur­ing the two-day visit of the out­go­ing US pres­i­dent, which will start to­day, ac­cess to some parts of cen­tral Athens will be re­stricted and there will be a ban on pub­lic gath­er­ings, as au­thor­i­ties are con­cerned about the prospect of a ter­ror­ist at­tack.

About 4,000 po­lice of­fi­cers will be de­ployed as ma­jor av­enues and roads in down­town Athens will be closed to cars and in some cases pedes­trian traf­fic. In ad­di­tion to Greek se­cu­rity ser­vices, some 300 Amer­i­can agents will be de­ployed in the cap­i­tal to pro­tect the pres­i­dent.

Po­lice yes­ter­day an­nounced a ban on pub­lic gath­er­ings in cen­tral Athens as well as the wider Vou­liag­meni area, south of the cap­i­tal, where the lux­ury ho­tel that the US pres­i­dent will be stay­ing at is lo­cated.

Speak­ing to Kathimerini, a po­lice source said au­thor­i­ties had max­i­mized se­cu­rity to pre­vent a ter­ror­ist at­tack on Obama’s con­voy.

“There will be po­lice of­fi­cers, in uni­forms and plain­clothes, along the route to keep a look out for sus­pi­cious move­ments. This is be­cause we are con­cerned about the prospect of a protest or even an at­tack against the Amer­i­can pres­i­dent’s mo­tor­cade,” the source said.

Au­thor­i­ties have in­spected and sealed off the ar­eas that Obama is sched­uled to visit dur­ing his stay, in­clud­ing the Acrop­o­lis Mu­seum and the Stavros Niar­chos Cul­tural Foun­da­tion.

The Na­tional Gar­den, sev­eral univer­sity build­ings and 28 schools in the cen­ter have also been closed. Sev­eral squats are un­der close mon­i­tor­ing although po­lice stopped short of con­duct­ing pre-emp­tive ar­rests.

Com­mer­cial flights have been tem­po­rar­ily sus­pended within the Athens FIR from 4.36 a.m. to­day un­til 15.42 to­mor­row.

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