Villagers near a Greek migrant camp call on the government to evacuate the migrants, while Turkish marchers protest an EU deal that will relocate migrants from Greece to their western township. Diane Hodges reports.
Demonstrators rally in the Turkish town of Dikili, to protest an EU plan that will bring scores of illegal migrants in Greece back to Turkey … some of them, into temporary resettlements in this western town.
Under the deal, Ankara receives money plus fast-track talks for EU membership.
The first group of returnees is expected to arrive in a day or two.
But this Dikili resident says she shouldn’t have to pay the price for her government’s deal-making.
“I don’t have to put up with the results of the government’s dirty politics. Let us pay 1,000 liras each and Europe can take the migrants. Those who want can shelter the refugees in their homes. My life comes first.”
For weeks, thousands of migrants have been stranded in fields and makeshift camps outside the small Greek village of Idomeni, demanding passage to destinations further west.
Some 100 local villagers blocked off the road to the camp, saying the migrants are starting to threaten their livelihoods, according to village prefect Xanthoula Soupli.
“Residents cannot go to their fields and plant crops because there are tents and people on them, so it is an issue of survival.”
The Greek government says it won’t use force to remove the migrants, but it also says they have to move to official reception centers if they want to apply for a European relocation program.
So for now, they remain in limbo.
Neither the migrants, nor the residents seem able to move on with their lives.
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