[QODLink]
Europe
Greece to expel some illegal immigrants
Plan to deport up to 1,600 foreigners announced by police as authorities seek to appease far-right parties.
Last Modified: 07 Aug 2012 16:27
The immigrant influx has been branded a 'prehistoric invasion' by a government official [Reuters]

Greek authorities have cracked down on illegal immigrants in a bid to appease far-right voters.

As local police announced plans to deport up to 1,600 illegal immigrants, one conservative government official labelled the immigrant community as a “prehistoric invasion”.

In Athens people of African and Asian appearance were stopped for identification checks before a total of 6,000 arrests, citing illegal entry to the country.

As the economy struggles in Greece, attacks on immigrants are increasing [Al Jazeera]

Leftist opposition parties have criticised the rooting out and the UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, gave warning that genuine asylum seekers from war-torn countries could be denied the right of protection.

Greece has an official population of 10 million, but it is estimated that annually 100,000 immigrants cross into the country from neighbouring Turkey.

The country has long been Europe's main entry point for illegal immigrants from Asia and Africa seeking a better life in the West. But the nations’ severe economic problems and high unemployment rates have affected the national mood.

A recent jump in crime has been attributed to the uncontrolled influx, garnering further support for the extreme-right Golden Dawn party which uses aggressive rhetoric against immigrants.

Ilias Panayotaros, whose Golden Dawn MP party peaked at seven per cent in the recent parliamentary elections, called the roundup “a sham".

He criticised the police crackdown for being politically motivated so that the government coalition of New Democracy and PASOK, could recover the votes they lost to his ultra-nationalist party.

"This is either happening because, at this moment, the government is trying to pass 11.5 billion euros worth of cuts, or in my opinion it's more likely happening because Golden Dawn's percentages are steadily on the rise and they [the government] want to show they are dealing with the massive problem of illegal migration," Panayotaros said.

349

Source:
Associated Press
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
Afghan militias have accumulated a lengthy record of human-rights abuses, including murders and rapes.
Growing poverty is strengthening a trend among UK Muslims to fund charitable work closer to home.
A groundbreaking study from Johns Hopkins University shows that for big segments of the US population it is.
Critics claim a vaguely worded secrecy law gives the Japanese government sweeping powers.
A new book looks at Himalayan nation's decades of political change and difficult transition from monarchy to democracy.
join our mailing list