Amygdaleza officials respond with lawsuit

Amygdaleza deputy mayor Chrysanthos Kontaris on Monday said a lawsuit has been filed against Greek police and Citizens' Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis after a detention center for illegal migrants opened in the area, northwest of Athens, the day before. Speaking to Skai radio, Kontaris said Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos had been notified of the lawsuit. “The city is already beset by crime and drugs. But he chose to turn a blind eye,” the Acharnes municipality said in a statement aimed against Chrysochoidis on Monday. “[Chrysochoidis] is simply creating another flash point. He is trying to fool the Greek people... deteriorating an area that is already depressed,” the statement said. Greece opened its first purpose-built camp for undocumented migrants on Sunday, a week before parliamentary elections, where illegal immigration has emerged as a key issue. Kontaris on Monday described the move, which has been opposed by locals as well as rights activists, as a “pre-election firework."

Police were to transfer some 200 immigrants into the compound by late Sunday as residents staged a protest against the center outside the police training school which is adjacent to the facility. A total of 1,200 migrants are to be moved into the center until mid-May.

Then additional centers are to open in different parts of the country, according to the minister, who insists that this project will solve Greece’s problem with illegal immigration. About 130,000 immigrants cross the country's porous sea and land borders every year -- the vast majority via Turkey -- and the authorities are forced to release those who are arrested because of a lack of permanent housing. The Amygdaleza camp consists of dozens of containers that were originally set up to house people hit by natural disasters such as earthquakes. Using the containers has met with opposition from Transport Minister Makis Voridis, a conservative official with a nationalist background.  

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