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Angela Merkel's Athens visit seen as sign of support for Greece's austerity measures

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Angela Merkel's Athens visit seen as sign of support for Greece's austerity measures

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel touched down in Athens for a brief visit on Friday which is seen as sign of support for the Greek government’s austerity measures.

It is understood the German leader will give a formal pat on the back to the government now that Greece has returned to the bond markets after an absence of four years.

Merkel arrived 24 hours after a powerful car bomb exploded in the city centre. Around 5,000 police were drafted into the capital on Friday as Anton Samaras’s government banned protests.

Greek Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos said the visit is proof that his country has finally “opened a new chapter”. But many Greeks remain angry with Merkel, accusing her of forcing painful cuts in return for the bailout loans that are keeping the country afloat.

Her last visit to Athens 18 months ago was marked by demonstrations when some protesters burned the German flag.