Hundreds demonstrated in Athens against the policy of deporting irregular migrants, days after the bodies of 19 migrants were found dead in the cold, and Turkey confirmed that Greece expelled them after they were stripped and handcuffed.
The Greek police said that about 700 people participated – yesterday, Sunday – in the demonstration called by left-wing and anti-racist groups, and organized in central Athens towards Syntagma Square in front of the Greek Parliament.
The protesters raised banners denouncing the use of violence against migrants trying to enter Greek territory, and some banners read, “Stop expulsions and violence at the border,” and chanted slogans against “the assassination of immigrants at the border.”
They also carried a lifeboat similar to those the Greek authorities are accused of using to keep asylum seekers out of the country, and raised a picture of a missing migrant, and observed a minute of silence, to mourn the victims whose bodies were found in Turkey.
Last Wednesday, the bodies of the dead immigrants were found in the Turkish state of Edirne, bordering Greece, and Turkish officials said they had no information about the nationalities of the victims.
📍 Greece Ipsala Border
12 of the 22 migrants pushed back by Greek Border Units, stripped off from their clothes and shoes have frozen to death.
EU is remediless, weak and void of humane feelings.
Greek border units thug against victims, tolerant towards FETO pic.twitter.com/EP1TOqsGCB
— Süleyman Soylu (@suleymansoylu) February 2, 2022
expelled from Greece
After the bodies of 12 of the victims were found in Edirne, Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu posted a tweet – on Twitter – which he attached with camouflaged pictures of dead bodies on the side of the road, and confirmed that these victims were among 22 migrants who were expelled by Greek border units and stripped of their clothes and shoes.
Greece did not deny the death or expulsion of these refugees, but the Greek Migration Minister Notis Mitarachi rejected the Turkish version of what happened, describing it as “false propaganda.”
Last Thursday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, commenting on the death of migrants, that it was not the first time that Greece had practiced this kind of behavior.
Erdogan criticized the European border protection agency Frontex, accusing it of inaction, and said that it “serves no purpose other than to support Greece, and it has no role.”
Simultaneously, the Turkish Foreign Ministry called on the international community not to remain silent about Greece’s forcible return of migrants and its practices that claim the lives of asylum seekers.
For its part, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees called for an urgent investigation into the deaths of irregular migrants, who froze to death, describing what happened as heartbreaking.