Merkel Visits Greece in Show of 'EU Solidarity' Amid Protests

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has arrived in Greece amid tight security on Thursday, looking to turn the page on the biting austerity measures that sparked major protests during her last official visit to Athens in 2014, reported Al Jazeera. 

Nearly 2,000 police have been deployed to supervise Merkel's visit and authorities have banned demonstrations around the home of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, where the two leaders met.

Relations between Greece and Germany have calmed since her previous visits in 2012 and 2014, which were overshadowed by angry anti-austerity rallies.

Merkel's latest visit is seen as a chance to leave behind a fraught period caused by tough German demands for Greek austerity accompanying bailouts from the European Union during the eurozone sovereign debt crisis. 

Greece, which left eight years of bailout programmes behind last year, has also been deeply affected by the European refugee and migrant crisis in recent years. 

Some political forces still view Merkel's visit as rubbing salt into the wounds caused by austerity.

Yanis Varoufakis, a Greek economist and politician who served as finance minister under Tsipras for the first half of 2015, said Merkel was "in Greece to inspect the desert she made and to call it ... recovery", referring to Berlin-supp

Small protests organised by the left and the far right took place in the Greek capital. Police fired tear gas at demonstrators, who chanted slogans blaming Merkel for the hardship of the Greek people during eight years of austerity, as dictated by the three bailout programmes Greece was forced to take.

'European solidarity'

Greek daily Kathimerini quoted Merkel as saying Greece had Germany's full support,...

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