Authorities in Greece say thousands migrants and refugees camped out at the country’s largest port near Athens have been given two weeks to move to army-built camps voluntarily or be expelled by force.
The warning issued Thursday came as nearly a third of the 52,000 migrants stranded in Greece by European border closures are refusing to move to organized shelters and remain camped out at the port of Piraeus and at the northern border with Macedonia.
More than 4,000 migrants remain at Piraeus – an important site for Greece’s vital tourism industry.
“Every effort will be exhausted to persuade refugees and immigrants that it is in their own interest for them to move,” a statement from the Greek coast guard said. “There is a 10-15 timeframe for them to leave the port.”
Athens has toughened its position toward migrants since a March 20 agreement between the European Union and Turkey went into effect. Some 4,000 migrants and refugees who reached the Greek islands from Turkey after that date are in detention, with most due to be sent back to Turkish ports. The deportations started Monday and are expected to resume Friday.