Refugees refuse to evacuate port of Piraeus

6 April 2016
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Tempers again flared at the port of Piraeus’ Gate E3 on Wednesday after Greek authorities tried to persuade Mideast refugees and other third country nationals to evacuate the port for temporary shelters.

A sit-down protest was the only result of the effort, with most third country nationals refusing to leave the makeshift camp erected in the middle of the port of Piraeus’ passenger zone.

Refugees again demanded that borders open towards Europe. Thousands of people – including families with small children – have congregated at Greece’s main port after arriving from a handful of Greek islands in the eastern Aegean. The refugee flow emanates from Turkey, where Mideast war refugees, mostly Syrians but also Iraqis, gather before sailing unimpeded to nearby Greek islands, often with the facilitation of organized smuggling rings on the Turkish side.

Passenger traffic will dramatically increase this month as Orthodox Holy Week and Easter Sunday (May 1) near, a period when tens of thousands of travelers head to dozens of Aegean islands.

The latest date given by government officials for an evacuation is Thursday.

In a related development, the general secretary of the relevant migration policy ministry, Vassilis Papadopoulos, on Wednesday requested that television crews be withdrawn during negotiations with the refugees.

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