Migrants confined to huts as Amygdaleza center repaired after riot

Hundreds of unregistered migrants on Tuesday remained confined to prefabricated huts on the grounds of a holding center in Amygdaleza, north of Athens, as authorities began repairing the damage caused to the facility’s perimeter fence during a riot on Saturday night that led to 10 detainees escaping.

Eight of the migrants remained at large on Tuesday after two were picked up by police on Monday.

Amid fears that more detainees could break out, authorities confined the immigrants to their huts despite the fact that many of them lack electricity and running water due to widespread damage wreaked by rioters. The bulk of the repair work was expected to have been completed on Wednesday.

The riot at Amygdaleza appears to have been a protest against a recent decision by authorities to extend the maximum stay at the facility from 12 to 18 months. According to sources, there are fears that migrants being detained at other holding centers could stage a similar protest over the decision regarding the maximum stay and over detention conditions in general. “The atmosphere of upheaval seems to have spread,” a source told Kathimerini.

A total of 41 detainees from the Amygdaleza unit have been charged with a string of crimes due to their alleged involvement in Saturday night’s riot. Around half of them faced an investigating magistrate on Tuesday.