NEWS

Patra immigrant camp cleared out

Almost 100 officers and riot police took part in an operation to clean out and flatten a makeshift camp for illegal immigrants next to the port of Patra, which resulted in dozens of migrants being moved elsewhere. The operation almost went dramatically wrong when a large fire broke out in the camp as bulldozers moved in to level the temporary wooden huts that had been constructed by the migrants, mostly from Afghanistan. The fire service was called in to prevent the blaze reaching nearby buildings. Nobody was injured. Authorities said that they discovered 44 minors in the camp. The youngsters will be moved to a special center in northern Greece, officials said. At least 15 migrants that did not have official documents were taken into custody at a Patra police station. Another 15 that did have the necessary paperwork were moved into a hotel in the city. The Patra immigrants’ camp has been at the center of much debate recently, having grown into a makeshift home for dozens of migrants at a time, usually hoping for an opportunity to board a ferry headed for Italy. Local residents had complained about the size of the camp, which lacked running water, and the hygiene levels, which they feared posed a threat to their health. The camp had become a flash point for clashes between extreme rightists and leftists. Following yesterday’s raid, four cars belonging to state organizations were attacked. A cash machine was destroyed and assailants set fire to the door of a local court. Late last night, police in Patra remained on alert to prevent any further disturbances.