Ten­sions rise at city mi­grant camp

Mayor calls for clear-up, of­fers new venue as pres­sure on is­lands con­tin­ues

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

The pres­ence of hun­dreds of refugees and mi­grants in the cap­i­tal’s squares con­tin­ued to cause prob­lems yesterday, with Athens Mayor Gior­gos Kami­nis call­ing for an im­me­di­ate so­lu­tion to the sit­u­a­tion at Vic­to­ria Square, which has been turned into a makeshift refugee camp.

A brawl broke out in the square yesterday night, re­port­edly be­tween mi­grants and sus­pected peo­ple-smug­glers. A group of lo- cal res­i­dents have called on shops to stay closed to­day in protest. Sources told Kathimerini that the group in­cludes “ex­trem­ists,” ap­par­ently re­fer­ring to far-right­ists who have staged protests in the area in the past. Ac­cord­ing to wit­nesses, po­lice of­fi­cers who had been nearby dur­ing the brawl yesterday night kept a dis­tance.

Kami­nis slammed the lack of in­ter­ven­tion by author­i­ties and, in com­ments to Skai, said mu- nic­i­pal author­i­ties could pro­vide an ad­di­tional venue for host­ing mi­grants on the con­di­tion that Vic­to­ria Square is cleared. City Hall set up an open fa­cil­ity over the sum­mer in the area of Elaionas and mi­grants are also be­ing ac­com­mo­dated tem­po­rar­ily in the Tae Kwon Do Sta­dium in Faliro, while author­i­ties are con­sid­er­ing open ad­di­tional gym­na­si­ums.

As lo­cal author­i­ties scram­ble for ac­com­mo­da­tion, thou­sands of mi­grants and refugees con­tinue to pour into Greece, chiefly via its sea bor­der with Tur­key. Ac­cord­ing to the In­ter­na­tional Or­ga­ni­za­tion for Mi­gra­tion, more than 520,000 mi­grants and refugees have crossed the Mediter­ranean so far this year, 350,000 via Greece. The eastern Aegean is­lands of Lesvos and Kos have borne the brunt of the in­flux.

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