Minister offers assurances to migrant center protesters

Residents of Kozani, in northern Greece, on Thursday said they would actively oppose the planned creation of a temporary reception center for undocumented immigrants on the outskirts of their city and demanded a meeting with Citizens? Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis, who told local authorities later in the day that the camp would not have a negative impact on the community.

The planned overhaul of a disused military facility near Kozani to accommodate migrants awaiting deportation is ?the quickest solution,? Chrysochoidis said, adding that there were plans to open ?several more? across the country. The minister stressed that the Kozani project would stimulate the local economy and create jobs.

Residents, however, appear unconvinced.

A large crowd staged a protest outside the facility on Thursday morning, expressing fears that the unit will not be protected well enough and will downgrade the area.

Earlier in the day, Deputy Citizens? Protection Minister Lefteris Economou told Skai radio that the police would guard the camp and that migrants with a criminal record would not be housed there. He said authorities planned to build a total of 14 such camps.

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