Balkan borders tighten, Greek islands to hold migrants

ATHENS, Greece -- Greece's government on Friday ordered authorities on islands near Turkey to restrict the number of migrants allowed to travel by ferry to the mainland, where thousands of people are stranded in increasingly desperate conditions following border closures in the countries to the north.

See Full Article

Ferry companies and regional authorities were handed the instructions as the number of people stranded in Greece continues to rise, with thousands sleeping rough in parks and along the country's highways, and existing shelters filled to capacity.

In Athens, migrants staged peaceful protests, briefly blocking traffic at the country's main port in nearby Piraeus, while hundreds walked out of a transit camp and were heading by tram and on foot to join others at the port.

Merchant Marine Minister Theodoros Dritsas said up to two thirds of migrants arriving on Lesbos and other Greek islands would be held there until Sunday.

"The reason is that we need more time to prepare additional sites for temporary shelters," Dritsas said.

He said three chartered ferries would be used on islands to provide temporary shelter over the next three days.

About 2,000 people -- more than half from Syria and Iraq -- are arriving daily from Turkey using dinghies and small boats, but the number of people crossing into neighbouring Macedonia has dropped dramatically in the past week, and was down to just 150 on Thursday, according to Greek police figures.

By early afternoon Friday, not a single migrant had crossed into Macedonia, while some 4,500 people waited at a border camp and a nearby site, according to Greek police.

In Serbia, police said they been formally notified by Croatia and Slovenia that only 500 people per day would be accepted to cross the border northward.

Athens is blaming Austria -- a fellow member of Europe's passport-free Schengen Area -- the for the flare-up in the crisis after it imposed strict transit restrictions last week, controls that were also implemented by Balkan countries further back on the route.

Greece recalled its ambassador to Austria Thursday and rejected a request to visit Athens by Austrian Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner, government officials said.

Athens says it is unable to stop migrants crossing its sea borders without endangering their lives.

"The policies of Austria and Hungary are turning Greece into a giant refugee camp," deputy Education Minister Sia Anagnostoipoulou told state-run ERT television.

"What are we supposed to do: Let people drown in the Aegean Sea?" she said. "Instead of making a plan. Europe is burying its head in the sand ... Europe is unraveling."



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Multiple people injured after shots fired on busy Toronto street

    Canada News CTV News
    There are reports of multiple injuries after shots rang out in a busy Toronto neighbourhood Sunday night. Police, paramedics and firefighters have converged on the scene in the area of Danforth and Logan avenues, in Toronto’s east end. Source
  • 'Horrifying': Holocaust education sign vandalized in Toronto

    Canada News CTV News
    Toronto police are investigating after a lawn sign promoting Holocaust education was vandalized over the weekend. The United Jewish Appeal’s sign, featuring well-known Holocaust survivor and educator Max Eisen, was taken down after someone spray-painted “achtung” on it. Source
  • Woman says she faced 'degrading' questions about emotional support dog at Que. Walmart

    Canada News CTV News
    A woman in Quebec said she felt disrespected and embarrassed when a Walmart employee confronted her about bringing her emotional support dog to the store. Louise Fournier said she suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and her support dog, a Chihuahua named Bizou, is her “everything. Source
  • Ryan Straschnitzki's return to the ice stirs 'mixed emotions'

    Canada News CBC News
    Humboldt Bronco Ryan Straschnitzki tried out sledge hockey for the first time Friday, joined by his father Tom, girlfriend Erika, Team Canada's Chris Cederstrand and Philadelphia Flyer Corgan Knight. It was his return to the ice in the wake of the tragic bus crash April 6 that killed 16 of his teammates and colleagues and injured 13. Source
  • A look at the 17 people killed in the Missouri boat accident

    World News CTV News
    BRANSON, Mo. -- The 17 people killed when a tourist boat capsized in a Missouri lake included nine members of one family, a couple celebrating their 45th wedding anniversary and a grandmother who family members say saved her granddaughter's life. Source
  • G20 calls for more dialogue on rising trade tensions

    World News CTV News
    BUENOS AIRES, Argentina -- The world's top financial officials called Sunday for more dialogue on trade disputes that threaten global economic growth, with one warning that differences remain and tensions could escalate further. The two-day meeting of finance ministers and central bankers from the Group of 20 nations came as the United States clashes with China and other nations over trade, with the nations imposing tariffs on billions of dollars of the the other's goods. Source
  • Magnitude 5.9 earthquake in western Iran injures nearly 290

    World News CBC News
    A magnitude 5.9 earthquake hit western Iran on Sunday, injuring at least 287 people, hours after two quakes struck Hormozgan province in the south, the official Iranian news agency IRNA reported. Eight of the injured had been hospitalized and the rest were released after treatment, Houshang Bazvand, governor of the affected province of Kermanshah, told IRNA. Source
  • 'He actually survived': Man who disappeared last month found alive in the bush

    Canada News CBC News
    They didn't know where he was for more than a month, but now a father of three — who disappeared after going to a medical appointment in northern Manitoba — has been reunited with his family. Russell Adrian Hyslop, 26, was found hiding under a shack frightened and exhausted on Friday evening, said his mom Jeanette Shaoullie. Source
  • Security aide to French president charged in protester beating

    World News CBC News
    A French judge handed preliminary charges Sunday to one of President Emmanuel Macron's top security aides after video surfaced that showed him beating a protester at a May Day demonstration. The initial charges against Alexandre Benalla came the same day French authorities opened a judicial investigation of the assault. Source
  • Anti-Semitic graffiti in North York is 'cowardly and horrific,' Jewish group says

    Canada News CBC News
    Anti-Semitic graffiti scrawled across the forehead of a Holocaust survivor featured on a lawn sign in North York is "cowardly and horrific," a national Jewish organization claims. The word, "achtung" appeared spray-painted on a sign promoting Holocaust education outside Beth Jacob Synagogue, near Dufferin Street and Finch Avenue West, on Saturday, UJA Federation of Greater Toronto said in a statement. Source