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Violent clashes between illegal immigrants to 'control' the port of Patras

17 December 2010 / 13:12:29  GRReporter
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Once again the economic immigrants in Patras outstripped with knives, stones, sticks and iron bars to find a place in one of the tens of trucks that every day park on the quay at the city port to board the ferries to Italy.

The clashes between groups of Afghans and Palestinians began yesterday at noon and there were seven people injured in result. Palestinians argue that groups of Afghans have ‘conquered’ the port demanding € 50 per person to access the quay and the trucks for Italy.

Shortly afterwards followed the second round in which hundreds of immigrants from different countries started to "fight" with stones, knives and bars in their hands in the churchyard near the port of Patras. Windows and dozens of parked cars were damaged during the fierce clashes and some of the immigrants set fire to a wooden building. The police dispersed the immigrants with a lot of tear gas after the long-lasting ‘battle’.

Yesterday’s events were not new to Patras’ residents. Thousands of illegal immigrants arriving in Greece from the east immediately set off to any of the western Greek ports, living in very difficult and poor conditions around and expecting to be able to board one of the trucks traveling on a ferry to Italy one day. They would even risk their lives for this "journey to hope".

Moreover, there are many drivers ready to hide them in their trucks and take them to the cherished West for serious amounts, of course. Italian carabineers arrested a young Greek a few months ago, charging him of illegal immigrants smuggling as 10 immigrants were found in the back of his truck. The Italian police stopped the truck on one of the central highways to Naples - A16 - near the port of Brindisi. The immigrants were hidden in a special hiding place beneath the trailer. Eight of them got off earlier and the Greek driver got back on the highway en route to the town of Aprilia, near Rome. Minutes later, however, carabineers forced him to stop for inspection. While inspecting the driver’s license and the truck’s documents they heard male voices inside the TIR. The immigrants were calling for help because they could no longer breathe. The police found two more Palestinians in the hiding place. They had fake Romanian passports hoping to apply for residence permits in Italy with them. The hiding place has been made so skillfully that fire brigade had to intervene to take out the immigrants.

Tags: Crime newsIllegal immigrantsClashesPatrasPort
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