Wednesday 28 September 2016

Greek police clear more migrant camps near border

Published 13/06/2016 | 12:06

Afghan migrants who live in the Hellenikon refugee and migrant camp (AP)
Afghan migrants who live in the Hellenikon refugee and migrant camp (AP)
Police in northern Greece are clearing makeshift migrant camps along the border with Macedonia (AP)

Police in northern Greece are clearing makeshift migrant camps along the border with Macedonia after creating more shelter space to house stranded refugees and migrants.

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Scores of riot police were deployed as more than 400 Syrians and Iraqis were moved from a camp set up around a petrol station near the Greek border with Macedonia and moved by bus to a shelter near the northern city of Thessaloniki.

Authorities said a site previously used to store grain had been modified by the army and was being used as a shelter where the migrants were being taken.

Around 3,000 refugees and migrants remain camped at the border at three sites, after authorities cleared a huge makeshift camp at Idomeni last month.

More than 50,000 migrants remain stranded in Greece follow European border closures and an agreement reached in March between the European Union and Turkey to deport newly arrived migrants travelling across the Aegean Sea.

Separately, Greece's coast guard said a distress call had been received from a suspected migrant smuggling boat carrying approximately 200 people in international waters south of the island of Crete and inside Libya's search and rescue area of responsibility.

The coast guard said a nearby Greek-flagged tanker and a Panamanian-flagged cargo ship were heading to the area to provide assistance, after Libyan authorities asked Greece for help.

Hundreds of people have died in recent weeks in shipwrecks in the southern Mediterranean, with overcrowded and unseaworthy boats sinking on their way from the shores of north Africa towards Europe, usually heading to Italy.

Press Association

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