Thu | Mar 22, 2018

Greek police detain volunteers

Published:Wednesday | April 13, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Men lay across the rail tracks preventing a Greece locomotive to drive away a cargo wagon at the makeshift camp at the northern Greek border point of Idomeni, Greece, yesterday.


Greek police temporarily detained 17 people, mostly foreign nationals, during a crackdown on volunteers suspected of spreading malicious rumors at a restive migrant tent city on the border with Macedonia.

Police said yesterday that 16 of the detainees were subsequently released without charge, while a German man found carrying a knife was charged with possessing a weapon.

The detainees were identified as German, Austrian, Swedish and Portuguese nationals, as well as two Greeks, a Palestinian resident in Greece and a Syrian.

Greece's left-led government has said some volunteers and charity workers at the Idomeni camp are behind recent riots involving hundreds of migrants and refugees trying to force their way into Macedonia.

About 11,000 refugees and migrants have been stuck for weeks at Idomeni, hoping to move on north through Macedonia.

The European Union says Greece's plan to strengthen its borders to cope with the refugee emergency is not good enough and it has given Athens two weeks to flesh out the details.

The EU demanded that Greece draw up the plan after hundreds of thousands of migrants entered the country, and nations like Germany, Austria, Denmark and Sweden tightened border controls in response.

The Commission said in a statement yesterday that "further improvements to the action plan and its implementation are needed in order to comprehensively address the deficiencies identified."

It called on Greece to "provide the additional elements and clarifications by 26 April."

If Athens fails to do so, the Commission is set to recommend that some other countries be allowed to prolong their border controls, possibly until the end of the year.