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The Latest: People Head for Greek Mainland after Strike Ends

The Latest: People Head for Greek Mainland after Strike Ends

Friday, 06 November 2015 05:16 AM

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — The latest on the flow of refugees and other migrants cross Europe in search of a new life. All times local.

10:55 a.m.

Thousands of refugees and other migrants are heading to the Greek mainland from the eastern Aegean islands after the country's seamen's union called off rolling 48-hour ferry strikes.

The strike, which began Monday, had stranded an estimated 25,000 people on the islands. Ferries began operating again Friday morning.

Several ships dedicated to refugees set sail from the islands of Lesbos and Chios, while others were taking ships from other islands on the regular passenger ferry service.

The ferries are heading to Greece's main port of Piraeus near Athens and the northern port cities of Thessaloniki and Kavala.

More than 600,000 people have reached Greece from Turkey so far this year. The vast majority don't want to stay, and head north through the Balkans to other, more prosperous European Union countries.

11:50 a.m.

Police say they have arrested two Albanians and a Turk on smuggling charges for arranging for Turkish citizens to get into European Union countries without visas through Albania.

Police said in a statement Friday that the three were arrested at Tirana airport. They are accused of helping Turkish citizens, who need no visa to enter Albania, move on to Montenegro, Serbia and Hungary as a means of making their way to other EU countries.

They allegedly charged 3,600 euros ($3,900) per person. The three face up to 10 years' imprisonment if found guilty.

Albania is not on the route of refugees and migrants from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries heading to the European Union. The main route is from Turkey to Greek islands, then north through Macedonia and Serbia toward other EU nations.

The government says, however, it has made preparations to shelter refugees should they begin arriving in Albania during the winter.

11:30 a.m.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has invited mayors of eastern Aegean islands bearing the brunt of the current refugee influx to Athens for an emergency meeting on how to deal with the crisis.

The meeting, scheduled for midday Friday, was also to be attended by the north and south Aegean regional governors as well as mayors and religious officials from the islands of Lesbos, Samos, Kos, Leros and Chios, and government officials.

Greece is the main gateway into the European Union for hundreds of thousands of people fleeing war and poverty at home. The vast majority arrive after a short but dangerous sea journey to Greek islands from the nearby Turkish coast and then head to the mainland and on to more prosperous northern EU countries through the Balkans.

Hundreds have drowned, including many children, when their overcrowded and unseaworthy boats have sunk or capsized.

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The latest on the flow of refugees and other migrants cross Europe in search of a new life. All times local.10:55 a.m.Thousands of refugees and other migrants are heading to the Greek mainland from the eastern Aegean islands after the country's seamen's union called off...
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2015-16-06
Friday, 06 November 2015 05:16 AM
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