Operation against illegal migrants under way in central Athens

Police turned out in force on Thursday for a major operation to track down undocumented migrants and illegal street vendors in central Athens.

Thursday’s police sweep was centered on Omonia Square, around which thousands of illegal migrants live.

Police officers led dozens of foreign nationals who were unable to produce valid documentation to holding cells at central police stations, where they will be processed to determine their status.

However, it was not made clear how the police plans to deal with migrants found to be in the country illegally, raising concerns that they would be turned back out into the streets, as has been the practice in the past following such so-called «sweeps,» due to the shortage of processing centers.

Greece has been accused by the European Union of not doing enough to crack down on illegal migration, while human rights groups have repeatedly sounded the alarm bells over the conditions in which undocumented migrants caught by police and border guards are kept.

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