Athens mayor slams government ‘reluctance’ to remove squatters from shelter for refugee children

Athens Mayor George Kaminis on Friday again expressed impatience over what he called the government’s “reluctance” to tackle the occupation of buildings by squatters. The mayor’s criticism was prompted by the occupation in recent days of a Red Cross building in Athens, where the aid organisation had intended to house some 40 unaccompanied refugee children.

Even though the building belonged to the Greek Red Cross and all necessary work had been done to prepare for the arrival of the refugee children, unidentified squatters had then moved in and taken over the building, he said.

“A very important initiative and opportunity is in danger of being lost,” Kaminis said, adding that both he and the municipality had promptly expressed their concerns over the conditions prevailing in squats, while denouncing the government’s unwillingness to take serious action.

“The protection of these children is a paramount obligation of every well-ordered state, which respects international rules and its obligations,” he added.