The Latest: Protesting migrants block Athens train station
MILAN (AP) — The Latest on migrants and asylum-seekers in Europe (all times local): 1:20 p.m. Protesting migrants in Greece have blocked Athens' main train station and disrupted rail services, apparently prompted by false reports on social media that restrictions on travel to northern Europe had been lifted.
Police said about 300 protesters gathered Friday at Larissis Station near central Athens, with many sitting on the tracks in front of trains. Authorities did not immediately intervene to disperse the demonstrators, while officials from the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, were trying to persuade them to leave voluntarily.
The protest occurred a day after clashes broke out near a camp for refugees and migrants in northern Greece, after protesters tried to break through a police cordon and reach the border with North Macedonia, which has been fenced off and heavily policed for the past three years.
The German humanitarian group Sea-Eye says it is asking Berlin to use diplomatic channels to find a safe port for the 64 migrants it rescued off Libya earlier this week.
Sea-Watch spokesman Carlotta Weibl said Friday that the rescue boat Alan Kurdi remains in international waters off Lampedusa and will not approach Italy's southernmost island until it has permission.
She said conditions on board were worsening and that a storm was approaching. She said a request has been made to the German foreign ministry to find a solution.
Malta and Italy have refused to open ports to humanitarian rescue ships, saying their activities encourage smugglers to pack unseaworthy rubber dinghies with migrants looking for sanctuary in Europe.