The Alternate Minister of Public Order and Citizen Protection Yannis Panousis vowed to “end with the detention centers”, after visiting the controversial migrant detention center at Amygdaleza, where a detainee recently committed suicide on Friday.

Mr. Panousis told the Athens 9.84 FM radio station that even “the worst racist would break down” on the appalling conditions at the detention centers and stressed that he has ordered that medication, clothing and better food be provided to the detainees. The Alt. Minister explained that the conversion of these detention centers into open hospitality centers is within the jurisdiction of Alternate Minister of Migration Tasia Christodoulopoulou and that some time was necessary.

Regarding the conversion into open hospitality centers, Mr. Panousis argued that “these people are not criminals, neither prisoners; they have entered the country illegally” and noted that “we must see what is going on with repatriations, but we also have to see the bigger picture”. According to the authorities at the Amygdaleza detention center, there are ten times as many new arrivals than repatriations, suggesting that Europe must be pressured into taking action.

A group of SYRIZA officers headed by Vasiliki Katrivanou visited the detention center on Saturday and demanded that specific actions immediate be taken; improvement of holding conditions, provision of asylum to refugees and creation of facilities appropriate for children. Mrs. Katrivanou also demanded that the government upholds its proclamation to shut down the migrant detention centers in Greece.

Along with the visit by the SYRIZA officers, a demonstration organized by the KEERFA movement was being carried outside, demanding that the detention shut down immediately.