Greek police evict immigrants from Athens
Saturday 4 August 2012 13:47
Greek police have announced the launch of an operation two days earlier to evict undocumented immigrants from central Athens as tensions rise over immigration in the debt-choked country.
Immigrants are being sent back either to their native countries or to special centres in northern Greece, police said.
Located in the southeastern extremity of the European Union, Greece has become a popular transit point for migrants from Asia or Africa seeking to enter the bloc.
The country is still struggling with a crippling economic crisis and sweeping austerity cuts, social tensions are on the rise and the increase in undocumented immigrants has fuelled xenophobia and racist attacks.
For the first time in Greek political history, the country recently voted into parliament a neo-Nazi party, Golden Dawn, which has promised to purge the country of illegal migrants.
On Wednesday police said they were tripling the number of guards along Greece’s border with Turkey, boosting the presence from 600 to 1 800.
Current figures show Greece has about 800,000 legally-registered immigrants, while the number of immigrants without papers is estimated at more than 350,000.
On Wednesday police said they were tripling the number of guards along Greece’s border with Turkey, boosting the presence from 600 to 1,800, to ward off any influx of Syrian refugees.
The Athens operation comes as the “troika” of creditors, the International Monetary Fund, the European Union and the European Central Bank, meet with Greek officials to discuss the budget cuts needed to unlock the next tranche of aid in September, worth 31.5 billion euros.
Four months ago, Greece’s Ministry of Public Order and Citizen Protection ran a similar eviction operation in conjunction with a number of city halls.