Waiting for US President Obama to land in Athens
Emergency traffic measures have taken effect in and around Athens in the wake of the arrival of US President Barack Obama, Wednesday, November 15. Police have not announced the specific hours that roads and streets will be cordoned off to allow for the unhindered movement of the US entourage, but the routes the motorcade will be passing through are expected to close half an hour before the vehicles reach each designated point. Police announced that parking is prohibited on the coastal route of Varis and Koropiou, Vouliagmenis and Syngrou avenues, as well as Vassilis Sofias, while traffic will be diverted around the Stavros Niarchos foundation, the Asteras resort on Vouliagmenis and the Presidential Palace, the Maximos Mansion and Zappeion. Traffic diversion will be implemented gradually. A work stoppage by the Tram and Metro employees will exacerbate the traffic till 10am for commuters. The trains will operate normally as the scheduled work stoppage was suspended by the union.
Draconian security measures
Meanwhile, security measures have been ramped up with nearly 5,000 police officers and 500 special US agents taking their positions. Two surveillance satellites will be “locked” on Athens during the visit of the US President, assisting the Presidential helicopter hovering over the city, while 10 jeeps fitted with special electronic surveillance equipment will be on alert. At least 12 airplanes carrying weapons and special surveillance equipment have landed in Athens over the past days. Mobile phone devices will be jammed wherever the US President passes through, while any drones will be automatically detected and shot down. According to the security plan, Barack Obama will be in one of the three armoured limousines used, the 7 ton cadillac, known as the “Beast”. The command centre will be located at the US Embassy in Athens. The Greek coast guard have deployed frigates and tens of vessels to monitor the coasts around Athens with special commandos and divers monitoring the coast around the Asteras resort in Vouliagmenis. The Greek police will be responsible for guarding the areas the US motorcade passes through and where Barack Obama speaks, while 50 members of the US secret services will be in charge of the President’s personal safety. Even though the exact time of the US President’s arrival is not known, Airforce One is expected to land a little before 11am at the Athens International Airport, which is why all landings and take offs have been cancelled during that time.
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