Home / Featured / Athens migrant crisis: Trains grind to halt as migrants protest on rail tracks | World | News
Athens migrant crisis: Trains grind to halt as migrants protest on rail tracks | World | News

Athens migrant crisis: Trains grind to halt as migrants protest on rail tracks | World | News

About 150 migrants have squatted on the tracks of the capital’s main railway station shouting “Germany!” and “Open the borders”, demanding to be transferred to Diavata in northern Greece in order to leave the country. 

The group want to join over 500 migrants and refugees who are already gathered in a field at Diavata, following calls on social media to make a break for the border. 

A police riot squad has been deployed to the scene and are monitoring the situation.

Amin Omar, a 27-year-old Iraqi Kurd protesting on the tracks, said: “We want to go to Thessaloniki and then to the borders.

“We don’t know if they are open.”

Groups of people, including families with young children, began to arrive at a cornfield next to the migrant camp of Diavata on Thursday, after a call for an organised movement to cross Greece’s northwest land border with Albania. 

By Friday morning there were more than 100 tents pitched in the field.

Greek officials have urged the migrants and refugees who are gathered in the field, near the border with North Macedonia, to return to their housing settlements, otherwise they could face sanctions. 

Dimitri’s Vitsas, Greek Migration Minister, told 104.9 FM Agency that the people had flocked to the site as a result of misinformation, mainly traffickers, “who said for some inexplicable reason that they will open the border”. 

The Minister added: “It’s a lie that the borders will open. 

“”In international treaties, there are obligations but there are also sanctions.” 

Mr Vitsas said he hoped those gathered in the field would leave by tonight.

Police parked buses across a road in the area to block an access route. 

Tens of thousands of refugees and migrants, mainly from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, have been stuck in Greece since the Balkan countries shut their borders in 2016.

That route was the main passage way to northern Europe. 

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