KASTANIES, Greece – “This is an extremely well-organised plan by the opposite side that has nothing to do with a migration or refugee wave seeking a better life in Europe and in Greece,” stated the president of the Hellenic Federation of Border Police Officers Panagiotis Harelas at the Kastanies border crossing with Turkey on Wednesday.
He warned those contemplating an attempt to cross the border that they were unlikely to succeed, while those that did succeed were certain to be arrested, as Greek forces were now ranged all along the length of the border for 200 km and becoming better organised with each passing day:
“The message that must go out on the fifth day also is that, as the days go by, the better organised our side is on the operational front. So well [organised] that they will not be able to get through anywhere. We estimate, with the colleagues I have spoken with, that they will find it very difficult to pass and those that do pass have a 100 pct certainty of being arrested,” he said.
The arrests already made, he noted, supported the conclusion that those now massing at Greece’s border were not refugees but economic migrants. “It is crystal clear that these are not refugees; it is now proven that they are migrants. They are people that have been in Turkey for months or even years and it is clearly evident that they were led to our borders, here, in order to break through them,” he said.
Referring to the situation at the borders on Wednesday, he said it was a “difficult” day. “We had several attacks from the other side, from the migrants. It was apparent that the attacks were organised but at many different locations. There were attempts to enter and we pushed them back in order to keep our borders closed. It is evident that these people are pushed to move in a small area on the borderline, at the fence,” he said, while noting that tear gas was repeatedly fired at the Greek side from behind the gathered migrants.