Three die in pursuit over Turkey-Greece border

Three die in pursuit over Turkey-Greece border

Three die in pursuit over Turkey-Greece border

A police officer patrols a detention centre for immigrants in the western Athens. REUTERS photo

Two illegal immigrants, and possibly their smuggler, died on April 29 in northern Greece in an attempt to escape a control by police and EU border agency Frontex, police authorities said

The illegal immigrants were pursued by police and Frontex at the Lykofos crossing near the border with Turkey, when their vehicle “lost control, toppled over... and caught fire,” the police said in a statement, Agence France-Presse reported. Six undocumented people were taken to a nearby hospital, two of them fatally injured.

Greece opens first migrant detention center

Firefighters found the charred body of the driver, who police believe may have been the group’s smuggler. Greece is a major entry point into the European Union for illegal migrants from Turkey and the Middle East. Meanwhile, the first of some 30 detention centers planned nationwide for illegal immigrants started operating on April 29. Some 56 undocumented immigrants were transferred to the facility in Amygdaleza near Athens, local media reported. The center is designed for 1,200 inmates. Local residents have held a series of protests, saying the camp will add to the area’s crime problems. 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 once-obscure far-right Golden Dawn, which wants to deport all immigrants, is among the parties that has benefitted most from the mood among voters, and is expected to win its first seats in parliament, Reuters reported. Greece’s ruling Socialist PASOK and conservative rival New Democracy parties have also pledged to crack down on immigration to try to win over voters.