Greek Police Evict Over 260 Migrants From Athens Squats

News Update
Evicted migrants board a bus during a police operation in the center of Athens on September 19, 2019. /AFP


Police in Athens on Thursday removed over 260 migrants, including dozens of children, from two squats in the city centre as part of a law-and-order drive by the new conservative government.

Overall 269 people, including nearly 100 minors, were removed and taken to the police headquarters for identification, the police said in a statement.

State TV ERT showed the migrants boarding buses, some of them clutching plastic bags with their belongings.

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The two abandoned buildings had been occupied since 2016, the police said.

The crackdown has been opposed by anti-establishment and rights groups who say the operations unfairly target migrant families, who would otherwise be homeless, and the solidarity groups that support them.

Thousands of anti-establishment protesters marched in Athens on Saturday in a demonstration against the squat evacuations.

New Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, elected in July, has vowed to combat “lawlessness”. The new Athens Mayor Kostas Bakoyannis — who is the prime minister’s nephew — was similarly elected on a public safety ticket in June.

Bakoyannis argues that order must be restored before sidelined landmarks such as the National Archaeological Museum and the Athens Polytechnic — in the middle of drug-trading areas — can become tourist draws.

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