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Evros: The Greek Borders are "Protected" by a Single… Model Fence

3,000 illegal immigrants crossed the Greek borders during the first two months of 2012 only from Northern Evros, when last year the same figure totaled 1,609 –therefore minus 50%. Despite the public announcements of Frontex regarding the construction of the so called Fence of Evros, the only thing someone can see marking the Greek borders right now is… a model of the fence.
“I used every possible means to leave Afghanistan to get to Istanbul. From Istanbul I walked for 250 kilometers till Adrianoupolis where I met my ‘middle-man’ who would carry me to Greece. I paid 1,200 Euros. He told me it was too easy to cross the Greek borders, as long as I stuck to his directions. He assured me that no one would hurt me after I’ve crossed the borders. I waited for hours in the dark with other immigrants and at some point they took us all and transferred us on foot to Greek soil” explains Hamint, an immigrant from Afghanistan to the Greek newspaper “Proto Thema”.
“My compatriots invited me here. They told me I will surely find a job in Greece, from the ones that the locals won’t do”, Hamint adds.
For an immigrant to cross Adrianoupolis to Orestiada there is a fixed “tariff” of 800 to 1,200 Euros. There are hundreds of spots on the Evros borders where immigrants can illegally cross to Greece. They immigrants arrive in hundreds either by land or by the river of Evros, even during days with harsh weather conditions when the river gets dangerous, explains the Police official of Orestiada to “Proto Thema”.
Many immigrants get drowned in the river and never make it to Greece. Eleven corpses have been withdrawn from the river only during the last week.
There have been seven arrests of Turkish traffickers since January. Many of them are usually armed and won’t hesitate to fire against police. Last year they injured a Greek police officer after shooting him four times.
55% of the immigrants that get arrested are Afghani and the rest of them come mostly from Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia, according to the Police archives of Orestiada.
The coveted fence is expected to be 10.3 kilometers long, but the river of Evros will still be the biggest crossing point of the illegal immigrants. One month ago, Christos Papoutsis (former Minister for Citizen Protection) inaugurated the 3.2 million Euro fence, but the Greek government hasn’t yet proceeded with the construction. However the Ministry has left a… model fence to “guard” the Greek borders.
(Source: Proto Thema, Anastasia Karapatsia)

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