Greece: Clampdown on illegal immigrants
6 August 2012
The Greek authorities have dubbed the initiative "Zeus Xenios" (Zeus, the protector of hosts). For Ta Nea, it will amount to a “massive drive to reduce illegal immigration”. On August 4, more than 4,500 police were mobilised in downtown Athens and in Evros, on the Turkish border, which is one of the main entry points for illegal immigration to Europe. “Some 4,900 people were were questioned and 1,130 were were placed in detention centres,” reports the daily, which explains the goal of the first in a series of such similar operations is
to intercept illegal immigrants and to organise large numbers of repatriations. According to estimates from the Ministry of Citizen Protection, approximately 5,000 will be placed in reception centres by December. [...] At the same time, the ministry aims to demonstrate that undocumented migrants are not welcome and should not come back. [...] The initiative has prompted a mixed reaction from the public. For some, the clampdown has come too late for the centre of Athens, which has already been transformed into a ghetto, while others argue that the state should establish a proper migration policy instead of relying on ad hoc operations that have no lasting impact.
In the wake of the organisation of a special deportation charter flight that sent 88 people to Pakistan, and which was financed by the European Return Fund, the Greek government has announced that it intends to triple the number of border guards at Evros to counter an upsurge in the number of refugees arriving from Syria.