The Greek Police and the Interior Ministry on Wednesday both dodged the blame after new police guidelines on migration control were issued and then revoked within a few hours following a vehement response in the media and from the opposition.
The document, which was sent out on Tuesday evening to police precincts and border stations, was signed by Major General Giorgos Nitsas of the police’s immigration department. It stipulated that migrants intercepted at the border should not be detained and those in reception centers should be freed unless they have criminal charges against them.
The order prompted an immediate response in the media and from the opposition, with former Prime Minister Antonis Samaras expressing outrage at the proposed measures which, he said, would “terrorize citizens.”
Following an initial response by the Alternate Citizens’ Protection Ministry on Tuesday rejecting the document as a “figment of the imagination” and a “provocation,” Minister Yiannis Panousis said Wednesday that the text “came out of nowhere” and had not been approved by the government. He revoked the order, saying authorities have yet to announce their policy on immigration.
Later, Nitsas is alleged to have told colleagues that the Alternate Immigration Policy Ministry, which comes under the Interior Ministry’s umbrella along with Panousis’s ministry, had pressed the police’s immigration unit to make current policy more flexible.