Greece deploys 400 cops to evict 8,400 refugees peacefully

Inception
The camp, which sprung up on what began as an informal pedestrian border crossing for refugees heading north to Europe, is home to an estimated 8,400 people. More than 54,000 refugees and migrants have been trapped in financially struggling Greece since Balkan and European countries shut their land borders to a massive flow of people escaping war and poverty at home. The vast majority are from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

A migrant family carries their belongings during the evacuation operation by police forces of a makeshift migrant camp at the Greek-Macedonian border near Idomeni yesterday. Pic/AFPA migrant family carries their belongings during the evacuation operation by police forces of a makeshift migrant camp at the Greek-Macedonian border near Idomeni yesterday. Pic/AFP

Earlier efforts
The government has been trying to persuade people staying in Idomeni, which include hundreds of families, to leave the area and head to the organised camps. This week it said its campaign of voluntary evacuations was already working, with police reporting that eight buses carrying about 400 people left Idomeni on Sunday. Others took taxis heading to the country’s main northern city of Thessaloniki or a nearby town of Polycastro.

Now, is the time
Greek authorities began an operation at dawn yesterday to evacuate the country’s largest informal refugee camp, blocking access to the area and sending in over 400 riot police. The government’s spokesman for the refugee crisis, Giorgos Kyritsis, said on Monday that police would not use force. Greek police and government authorities have said the residents will be moved gradually to newly completed and organised
camps.

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