Police to raid overcrowded migrant apartments

Citizens? Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis on Tuesday heralded a police crackdown on apartments, chiefly in central Athens, where hundreds of undocumented migrants live in cramped and unsanitary conditions.

The minister warned that the owners of these properties would be arrested. He called on citizens to report any such cases by telephoning the police?s immediate response unit on 100.

?There are cases where illegal immigrants live together en masse, with 30 or 50 people crammed into spaces ranging from 50 to 100 square meters in wretched conditions,? Chrysochoidis said. He appealed to citizens to help the authorities crack down on such cases of overcrowding, saying they are ?very dangerous to public health.?

Chrysochoidis, a PASOK member, said earlier this week that the first of 30 temporary detention centers for undocumented immigrants would start operating in Amygdaleza, northwestwern Athens, next week despite protests by residents. On Tuesday Transport and Infrastruture Minister Makis Voridis, a conservative, said that he would not allow prefabricated structures that belong to the state service that accommodates people who have lost their homes in earthquakes to be used at the migrant center.

The second of the 30 centers, which are to be set up gradually over the next two years, is to open near the small town of Deskati, in the northern prefecture of Grevena, after the May 6 elections. Local residents are open to the project however, unlike their counterparts in Amygdaleza, according Deskati Mayor Nikos Migos. ?The local community does not only believe that the center will not be a problem but that it will bring us significant benefits,? Migos told Kathimerini, referring to the facility would create 150 police jobs, 350 more jobs for guards and another 350 in other sectors.

In a related development on Tuesday, a rights group based in Germany condemned Greece for detaining would-be migrants intercepted at the Turkish border in ?brutal? conditions.? Detention centers in the northern region of Evros are ?synonymous with brutality, despair and dehumanization,? Pro Asyl said.