ATHENS, April 30 (Reuters) - Greece's public order minister called on police officers on Monday to drop plans for a strike on the day of next month's soccer Champions League final in Athens to avoid compromising the security of the event.
Police unions have said they are considering a strike on May 23 to support their demands for improved wages and working conditions following a series of attacks on police targets by self-styled anarchists in recent weeks.
More than 17,000 officers are expected to be asked to take part in securing the capital for the final which will have at least one English team.
Chelsea play Liverpool in a semi-final second leg on Tuesday, having won the first leg 1-0. Manchester United travel to Italy to defend a 3-2 win over AC Milan the following day.
'I directly asked them not to do it (strike). But I do not know whether they will listen to me,' Public Order Minister Byron Polidoras told reporters following a meeting with police unions.
'If you have such an important event and you are not there, then society will just not understand that,' he said. 'I told them that as an adviser and not as their minister.'
An estimated 35,000 ticket-holding fans will come to Athens while another 20-30,000 fans from both teams are expected to travel to Greece without tickets.
Greek organisers have already activated parts of the security plan used during the successful Athens 2004 Olympics to prepare for the final.