Greek nationalists protest meeting of Bilderberg Group in Greece

ATHENS, Greece - A luxury resort south of Athens, Greece, was under heavy security on the weekend amid reports that it was playing host to a secretive annual meeting of the world's top politicians and business leaders.

Several dozen Greek demonstrators gathered outside the Astir Palace hotel in the coastal town of Vouliagmeni to criticize the gathering of the Bilderberg Group.

The international club founded half a century ago in the Netherlands has no widely known headquarters, meets secretly at luxury hotels and resorts throughout the world by invitation only, and generally makes no public announcements afterward.

The demonstrators, from Greece's right-wing Popular Orthodox Rally party, shouted slogans and held a large banner saying "Bilderberg Unwelcome" outside the hotel, 40 kilometres south of Athens on the Aegean Sea.

One demonstrator was arrested when the group tried to break through a police cordon.

The three-day meeting apparently ended Saturday.

"We came here to protest this anti-Greek meeting," Argyris Sideris, a regional party secretary, told The Associated Press. "We need to do something to protect our country."

The popular hotel was closed to the public and a police officer told The AP that the resort was being protected by hundreds of police, navy commandos, coast guard speedboats and two F-16 fighter planes.

The officer spoke on condition of anonymity, in keeping with his department's regulations.

Outside the hotel on Friday, Greek Communist party members conducted a peaceful demonstration against the Bilderberg Group.

Greek newspapers said the secret meeting of the politicians and managers of world capitalism included Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis.

The papers said this year's invitees also included U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner; Larry Summers, the director of the U.S. National Economic Council; the Obama administration's special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke; World Bank President Robert Zoellick; European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso. (Metro News, 5.16.2009, Demetris Nellas) .

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