Migrants camp outside police station in Greece waiting to be arrested

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Hundreds of asylum-seekers set up camp outside a police station in Greece hoping to be arrested and formally processed.

The migrants slept on benches and patches of grass in a central square in Greece’s second-largest city Thessaloniki before lining up outside the station.

They were seeking a place at a migrant camp ahead of the winter months.

“We don’t want to stay in Greece,” said Karzan Hassan, an Iraqi Kurd, who crossed into the country last week from Turkey.

“We want to get our papers, so that we can stay somewhere to clean up and rest.”

The 22-year-old, who slept outside the police station for two nights, said he hoped to eventually reach the UK with his two brothers after abandoning plans to travel to Italy.

It is not clear whether there was enough space for the new arrivals  Migrants camp outside police station in Greece waiting to be arrested skynews greece migrants 4447591
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It is not clear whether there was enough space for the new arrivals

A smuggler in Istanbul charged him $2,500 (£1,900) to get to Greece.

Authorities moved the migrants to a nearby refugee camp in police buses.

It is not clear whether there was enough space for the new arrivals, who organised a clean-up of the square they occupied before boarding buses at the overcrowded site.

Nikos Ragos, the migration ministry’s regional coordinator for northern Greece, said: “The number of arrivals is high in Thessaloniki and that’s created a bottleneck.

“So we are supporting the police until (migrants) can be documented.”

The migrants cleaned up the square before leaving for the refugee camp  Migrants camp outside police station in Greece waiting to be arrested skynews greece migrants 4447589
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The migrants cleaned up the square before leaving for the refugee camp

Other EU nations’ resistance to settling refugees and the steady flow of people arriving from Turkey has seen Greece struggle to cope with the high numbers.

The Thessaloniki migrants came as police revealed 35 smuggling suspects accused of transporting 1,821 people into the city were arrested last month.

The figure is a 60% increase on the amount of people who came into the city in the previous month.

Amnesty International secretary-general Kumi Naidoo criticised an overcrowded migrant camp on the Greek island of Lesbos after he visited last week.

He called it “appalling” and called for an emergency winter evacuation of the camp and for migrants to be moved to the Greek mainland.



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