A group of residents from Kozani in northern Greece are due to seek a meeting with Citizens’ Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis on Thursday to object to plans for housing undocumented immigrants in an abandoned army camp. The residents of the western Macedonian city do not want the migrants to be placed in the camp. They argue that the facilities are not safe enough for this purpose. The camp has only a few buildings, which previously housed no more than 20 soldiers. It does not have running water but the government has asked local authorities to connect it to the water network. Deputy Citizens’ Protection Minister Lefteris Economou told Skai radio that the police would guard the camp and that migrants with a criminal record would not be housed there. Economou said that Greece is planning to build 14 such camps. The Kozani detention center is due to be ready in about a month. “There is no other solution for housing illegal immigrants other than detention centers,” he said.
The barracks, abandoned since 2008, are said to have been picked out of a list of disused military facilities across the country by Defense Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos. The facility is set in a plot covering 15 hectares and can accommodate around 3,000 migrants, according to sources, who said that large tents will be used in addition to the buildings to house the occupants.