The Latest: Olympic flame stops at UN camp in Athens
ISTANBUL (AP) — The Latest on the influx of migrants into Europe (all times local):
The Olympic flame for the Rio de Janeiro Games made a symbolic stop at a refugee camp in Athens, as part of a global initiative to promote sports among 60 million displaced people.
The torch was carried Tuesday by 27-year-old Syrian refugee Ibrahim Al-Hussein, who ran with a prosthetic limb fitted below his right knee.
Al-Hussein said that “this is such an honor for me. This is for every Syrian and ever Arab who has gone through so much.”
IOC President Thomas Bach visited the U.N.-run refugee camp in January to promote a refugee sports program, sponsored by the organization with grants to build athletic facilities and fund training aimed at identifying elite competitors for a tiny stateless team.
A protest has broken out in the Moria migrant detention center on the Greek island of Lesbos, during a visit there by the Greek migration affairs minister and a Dutch official.
A Greek official said Ioannis Mouzalas was visiting the camp with Dutch junior justice minister Klaas Dijkhoff when migrants began shouting “freedom” and “open the borders,” and banging metal objects. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with department regulations, said the situation was tense.
The Moria camp was converted into a closed detention center after a European Union-Turkey deal aiming to stem the flow of refugees and migrants into Europe. Under the agreement, those arriving on Greek islands from March 20 onwards are detained and face deportation unless they successfully apply for asylum in Greece.
--By Elena Becatoros in Athens.
Denmark’s justice minister says members of a volunteer military unit will replace most police at its border with Germany to ease the officers’ burden in coping with an influx of migrants.
Soeren Pind says 165 officers will be sent “back to their districts” and be replaced by 140 members of the Home Guard in June. They will be under police command at the border.
Pind spoke Tuesday after a parliamentary majority backed his plan.
The 48,000-strong entity of unpaid volunteers is often used to assist Danish defense units and police, and has also been deployed in Afghanistan and Kosovo.
Danes reinstated temporary controls at the German border on Jan. 4, only hours after Sweden required that travelers show valid documents. Last year, Denmark received some 20,000 asylum seekers.
Turkish officials and reports say 49 migrants have arrived in Turkey as part of a migration deal between Ankara and the European Union.
Ferries carrying migrants from the Greek islands of Kos, Chios and Lesbos reached the Turkish port towns of Gulluk, Cesme and Dikili on Tuesday, according to Turkish news agencies and an official at Dikili, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with government rules.
According to the deal finalized last month, Turkey is to take back migrants who reached Greece after March 20. For every Syrian returned, Europe has pledged to take a Syrian refugee directly from Turkey to be resettled in an EU country.
Tuesday’s group of migrants, from Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan and Myanmar, was the third wave of migrants to be returned to Turkey.