Evros ire at mi­grant cen­ter plans

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Gov­ern­ment plans to build sev­eral new de­ten­tion cen­ters for un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants have come up against strong re­sis­tance from lo­cal authorities in the north­ern pre­fec­ture of Evros, which al­ready has two fa­cil­i­ties for mi­grants and which ac­com­mo­dates dozens more in crammed po­lice de­ten­tion cells.

The may­ors of the four mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties of Evros and the rep­re­sen­ta­tives of lo­cal busi­ness and res­i­dent as­so­ci­a­tions first ex­pressed their op­po­si­tion to the plans when they were an­nounced by Cit­i­zens’ Pro­tec­tion Min­is­ter Chris­tos Papout­sis in mid-May. Now that the pro­ject – which fore­sees an­other three fa­cil­i­ties in Evros – is mov­ing for­ward, the authorities are ratch­et­ing up their protests. Ac­cord­ing to the gov­ern­ment’s blue­print, one of the three new fa­cil­i­ties will be opened next to an ex­ist­ing de­ten­tion cen­ter near the vil­lage of Fy­lakio, the sec­ond will be set up near the town of Ores­ti­ada and the third is to open near the vil­lage of Didy­mote­i­cho, on the Turk­ish bor­der.

The mayor of Didy­mote­i­cho, Paraskevas Pat­souridis, said lo­cal res­i­dents op­posed the plans. “The cre­ation [of the cen­ters] would sig­nal the fur­ther de­te­ri­o­ra­tion of our area,” he stated. In a writ­ten state­ment, a re­gional com­mit­tee made up of lo­cal au­thor­ity of­fi­cials and ad­vis­ers drew at­ten­tion to “a lack of in­for­ma­tion and the ab­sence of any agree­ment be­tween lo­cal authorities and cen­tral gov­ern­ment re- gard­ing plans for the cre­ation of new fa­cil­i­ties to ac­com­mo­date il­le­gal im­mi­grants.”

Mean­while there has been a mixed re­cep­tion to the planned con­struc­tion of a wire fence along a 12.5kilo­me­ter stretch of the Greek-Turk­ish bor­der be­tween the vil­lages of Kas­ta­nies and Nea Vyssa. The aim of the fence is to slow the in­flux of would-be mi­grants en­ter­ing Greece il­le­gally. The Mu­nic­i­pal­ity of Ores­ti­ada has wel­comed the pro­ject. But the re­gional gov­er­nor of Evros, Aris­tidis Gian­nakidis, said he was op­posed to the plans. “The re­gion will not be­come tainted as a de­ten­tion area for un­for­tu­nate souls,” he said. “We have an en­tirely dif­fer­ent phi­los­o­phy for the de­vel­op­ment of our re­gion.”

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