Migrants living in Greece who want to travel on to other countries, many to join their families, are intensifying their protests.
A group of around 100 refugees, mostly Iraqis and Syrians, traveled to Thessaloniki from Athens on Wednesday with the intent of marching to Greece’s border with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
The group gathered in the northern port city’s central Aristotelous Square, where one threatened to set himself on fire in protest but was stopped by the others.
Most of those in the group told reporters they were keen to travel to Germany and other European countries where relatives are awaiting them.
But the slow-moving implementation of an EU relocation program is thwarting their intentions. They were reportedly awaiting the arrival of another 250 migrants currently residing at state reception centers around Thessaloniki to begin their march.
The migrants had announced their intention to march to the FYROM border on social media, apparently with the help of leftist groups who support their cause.
Restlessness is growing among migrants stuck in centers across Greece awaiting the outcome of applications for asylum or relocation.
The situation is particularly bad on the Aegean islands, where local communities are also losing patience. Lesvos Mayor Spyros Galinos called a general strike for next Monday to protest the situation.