Refugees head for the north de­spite bor­der crack­down

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Around 2,500 refugees who ar­rived at the port of Pi­raeus yesterday by ferry from the eastern Aegean is­lands of Lesvos, Kos and Leros con­tin­ued their jour­neys to­ward Western and North­ern Europe, with most said to be head­ing for Greece’s north­ern borders.

KTEL in­ter­city bus ser­vices link­ing the cap­i­tal to the north­ern port of Thes­sa­loniki were in­ad­e­quate so ad­di­tional ve­hi­cles were added to the route. In­stead of the 11 usual daily con­nec­tions link­ing Athens and Thes­sa­loniki, there are now 42, with a bus leav­ing the cap­i­tal for the north­ern port city ev­ery half-hour.

Train ser­vices were also boosted to deal with in­creased de­mand. An es­ti­mated 450 mi­grants crowded the cap­i­tal’s Laris­sis rail­way sta­tion early yesterday, vir­tu­ally all of whom were seek­ing a ticket to Thes­sa­loniki, Kathimerini un­der­stands, but most of the seats were taken. Af­ter an emer­gency meet­ing, rail­way of­fi­cials ar­ranged for ad­di­tional ser­vices.

It re­mains un­clear how the mi­grants will con­tinue their jour­neys be­yond Greece. The For­mer Yu­goslav Re­pub­lic of Mace­do­nia has de­clared a state of emer­gency due to the mi­grant cri­sis, vir­tu­ally clos­ing its borders. Train ser­vices link­ing FYROM and Ser­bia were also sus­pended as large num­bers of mi­grants camped out in the no-man’s land be­tween the two coun­tries.

Fener­bahce’s Robin van Per­sie cel­e­brates af­ter scor­ing in Athens to give the Turk­ish team a 1-0 win against Atro­mi­tos in the first leg of the UEFA Europa League play­offs. In Thes­sa­loniki, PAOK beat Brondby of Den­mark 5-0 in the same com­pe­ti­tion. Panathi­naikos drew 0-0 away from home with FK Qa­bala of Azer­bai­jan.

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