German Chancellor Angela Merkel is due to arrive at 1.30 p.m. at Athens International Airport where she will be met by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras as the public plans for new demonstrations against austerity cuts. They will then travel to the Maximos Mansion, where they will hold talks. Merkel is due to meet President Karolos Papoulias at 4.45 p.m. before joining Samaras at an event organized by the Hellenic-American Chamber of Commerce at Hilton Hotel. Merkel will fly back to Berlin later this evening.
Attica police have banned all demonstrations in specific areas in downtown Athens today. Syntagma Square and Omonoia Square are not included in the ban. The police issued a statement that any public gatherings or marches would be banned between 9 a.m. and 10 p.m. today. It said the decision was being taken in the interests of public safety and the city’s ‘socioeconomic life,’ Kathimerini informs. More than 7,000 police officers are to be placed on duty, including riot police, snipers, navy seals, port officers, various speedboats and a helicopter.
Labour unions in the public and private sector GSEE and ADEDY have called a three-hour work stoppage and a rally in Athens to protest against the Merkel visit. SYRIZA has encouraged its supporters to take part in the protest and vent their dissatisfaction with the austerity measures being implemented in Greece.
At 1 pm a rally will take place in Syntagma Square by GSEE-ADEDY against “the ongoing anti-worker, anti-social and recessionary government policies and the troika.” Also, there will be a pan-Attica work stoppage from 12 pm to 3 pm in all public services. PAME will hold a protest rally against “the new barbaric measures and the blackmail by the EU, the government and the capital” in Omonoia Square at 1 pm. Municipal workers (POE-OTA) announced its participation in the pan-Attica work stoppage from 12 pm until the end of shift, and in the rally in Syntagma Square. Independent Greeks party has announced a protest rally outside the German embassy at 6 pm.
According to protothema.gr, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has a difficult ten days ahead of him where he will have try and catch up to the deadlines for the release of the tranche of EUR 31.5 billion in November.
Further to the symbolism that the German leadership supports the Greek effort, the government expects one statement that will act as stabilizer within the country but mainly abroad and in the international markets.
The government believes that a successful visit from Merkel will prepare the climate for Samaras to put the issue of the loan installment disbursement and the question of extension at the summit on October 18 in order to finalize it in an urgent meeting of the Eurogroup and implement it within November.