Voice Of Europe
May 18, 2018
Yesterday night, four migrants set fire to the detention facilities of the Foreigners‘ Police Department of Athens in which they were being held in protest against their living conditions. The fire quickly spread to other cells, endangering lives of police officers and other detained migrants.
A tragedy was prevented only by the well-timed actions of the Greek firefighting department and the police officers on duty at the time.
The Press Vice President of the Union of the Police Officers of Athens, Mr. Konstantinos Chitas, speaking to Greek news outlet Protothema, stressed that “out of miracle, we did not have to mourn any victims, police officers and prisoners in one of the most critical services of the Greek police, which has been incapable of dealing seriously with the unresolved problem of the migrant crisis. On the contrary, it has rather been managed with sloppiness”.
Many migrants are being held in difficult conditions in Transit Detention Centers, and it has been reported that the premises have been transformed into a pre-occupation centre.
In addition, the detention facilities are suffering from severe overcrowding. The maximum number of people to be detained in the department is 240, but at the time of the accident 300 migrants were in detention following a huge clearing operation recently undertaken by the Greek police in the port of Patras.
The representative of the Union of Police Officers of Athens, Mr Konstantinos Lampantzis, who serves in the Attica Foreigners‘ Directorate, described the incident and the situation there:
“Today, a rebellion took place in the temporary detention facilities of the Foreigners‘ Directorate. There was no automatic fire extinguishing system, which resulted in one part of the building being totally destroyed. However, by luck, we have did not have to mourn any victims amongst co-workers or other…