New Detention centres to arrive before elections, says Citizen Protection Minister

Civil Protection Minister Michalis Chrysohoidis said detention centres for undocumented immigrants will begin to operate before the general election.

Chrysohoidis, who met on Monday, with the heads of immigrant organizations in Greece and IOM, said the first of some 30 centres would open in greater Athens, scrapping earlier plans to start the campaign near the northern city Kozani. The meeting with some representatives of migrant communities, government officials and IOM was organised in order to motivate the migrant communities representatives to spread the idea of voluntary return among their co-nationals and to talk about the governments plans of the new detention centres.

“We have a commitment to start operating these closed-hospitality centres, and we will keep to that commitment,” the minister said. “The first centre will operate before the general election in greater Athens, and it will act as a model to show Greek citizens that these facilities are safe for the public and will operate to high standards of health and hygiene.”

The government has met strong resistance from regional authorities around the country to scrap or delay plans to open detention centres, and switch plans to concentrate on sites near Athens as a priority.

Residents at Menidi, north of the capital, however, are also protesting against a proposed site at nearby Amygdaleza and set up roadblocks in the area last week to try and stop construction work.

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