Police round up immigrants

A police raid in streets and homes in the Athens district of Aghios Panteleimonas yesterday led to the arrest of around 60 illegal immigrants from Afghanistan. Only half the migrants were detained due to a lack of space, sources said without clarifying what was done with the other immigrants. The same sources said the aim was to deport the migrants in question. It seems the police sweep was ordered after a demonstration on Monday – involving residents protesting the increase in the local immigrant population – escalated into violence. The protest was hijacked by far-right protesters and anarchists who clashed with each other. One raid on an apartment in the district yesterday was carried out after neighbors reported seeing a sheep on the roof of the building. It is unclear whether the animal was a pet or was to be sacrificed during the forthcoming Islamic festival of Eid al-Adha. The former president of the local cultural association, Dionysios Mylonas, told Kathimerini that residents had had enough. Asked whether locals shared the views of far-rightists who had joined Monday’s protest, Mylonas said, «Those at the rally were holding Greek flags and had come to express solidarity with Greeks.» He said his association had sent Parliament a petition with 1,000 signatures, calling for measures to solve Greece’s illegal immigrant problem. Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos, in Brussels for a summit with his European counterparts, said Greece would henceforth cooperate with Cyprus, Italy and Malta in curbing illegal immigration and ensuring migrants without papers are safely returned to their countries when possible. The minister also called on authorities in Ankara to crack down on migrants crossing into Greece from Turkey.