Plans to relocate a Roma encampment in the northern Athenian suburb of Halandri are to begin on Wednesday morning with the demolition of 12 of the 26 shacks at the site, central and local government officials agreed Tuesday after hours of protests against the scheme by residents of the camp.
A long meeting between the Interior Ministry’s general secretary of decentralized administration, Manolis Angelakas, Halandri Mayor Simos Roussos and local representatives of the local Roma community resulted in a consensus for the 12 shacks, which are unoccupied, to be destroyed.
Differences remained, however, about the fate of the residents of the remaining 14 shacks at the site, which was erected nearly four decades ago behind the present-day Nomismatokopio metro station. According to Roussos, the mountain plot in Megara, western Attica, where the Roma encampment was to be be relocated, “is totally inappropriate” as it is situated at a very high altitude, and so will be cold at night, and has no basic infrastructure or access to schools.
Angelakas said the relocation of the Roma could be postponed for six months to find a more suitable site.
Earlier on Tuesday, residents of the camp caused traffic disruption by blocking busy Mesogeion Avenue to prevent a work crew from entering the site to begin demolition.