Growing unrest among thousands of stranded migrants and refugees across Greece over the last few days has prompted authorities to increase security at camps and shelters.
“As the incidents of the past couple of days in Idomeni and Piraeus have shown, there is a lot of tension among refugees that remain in the country,” said Giorgos Kyritsis, the spokesman for Greece’s migration coordination center, in the wake of brawls breaking out at the makeshift camps on Greece’s northern border and at the capital’s port. “What worries us most is that the confrontations may take place along ethnic lines,” Kyritsis added.
Bracing for more trouble ahead, authorities at Idomeni on Friday began a process separating residents along ethnic lines.
“There are families with children but also people on their own of different nationalities with different needs. So, in the case that people are moved somewhere else, it is necessary to have some sort of separation,” a representative of an NGO at Idomeni told Kathimerini.
At Piraeus port, police have been stationed around the clock, as anger and frustration are stoked by the return of refugees who failed reach Greece’s northern border.
“In recent days many that had left, returned. They were promised by people they would be taken to Idomeni or even across the border, but were abandoned on the way there,” one volunteer said. “So they come back here, even more tired and, obviously, angry.”
One NGO volunteer at Idomeni warned that the situation has become so, “you sometimes fear for your own well-being.”