No plan for refugees who went to athens instead of thessaloniki
Greek ship “Eleftherios Venizelos,” carrying 2,440 refugees to Thessaloniki, changed course and arrived to Piraeus Port on Thursday morning.
The ship was carrying Syrian refugees from Kos, Kalymnos, Leros and Mytilene to Thessaloniki Port in northern Greece. From there, they would be transferred by bus to the Greek-FYROM border, with final destination the European countries of their choice.
However, the ship changed course while en route to Thessaloniki. Diplomatic reports allegedly say that FYROM and other European governments raised serious objections to the transfer of refugees to the particular border with the purpose of them being channeled to other European countries through FYROM. Thereby, the ship changed course while en route to Thessaloniki.
When the change of course was announced, about 300 Syrians reacted and threatened to attack the ship crew while showing their tickets for Thessaloniki for which they had paid 60 euros. A riot was averted when men of the Greek Coast Guard special forces intervened.
The Piraeus Port administration had chartered buses that carried the “Eleftherios Venizelos” passengers to the metro station so they could go to Athens. There were also two ambulances from charity organization Smile of the Child standing by to offer medical help if needed.
However, there were no immigration authority representatives to guide the refugees and no plan as to where these people would go. Athens mayor Giorgos Kaminis spoke to Greek radio after their arrival and criticized the government, and especially Deputy Minister on Immigration Policy Tasia Christodoulopoulou for having no plan whatsoever other than “unloading,” as he said, the refugees in downtown Athens.