Incidents and local reactions related to the resurgent migrant/refugee crisis faced by Greece continued unabated over the weekend, with the government now stepping up evacuations of thousands of third country nationals to the mainland. The latter have been stranded on a handful of eastern Aegean islands for months, while at the same time new arrivals of irregulars migrants and would-be asylum seekers continue to reach the same islands.
In the northern town of Yiannitsa, a few dozen local residents in the early morning hours of Sunday attempted to block the transport of 100 to 150 third country nationals to empty hotels in the area. Police intervened at the scene, with the asylum seekers finally transported to the hotels aboard coaches.
On Friday, on the Dodecanese island of Kos, local residents, supported by the municipality's administration, blocked the main port to prevent the arrival of third country nationals that had first landed on other, smaller Greek isles from the opposite Turkish coast.
On Saturday, two Hellenic Navy transport vessels transported a total of 795 third country nationals from Lesvos (Mytilene) to the mainland port of Elefsina, with the latter then scheduled to be hosted at 30 sites around mainland Greece.
Meanwhile, one fatality and five injuries were reported overnight when a vehicle carrying 14 undocumented immigrants crashed into the guardrails on the Egnatia motorway and overturned on the pavement. The accident occurred at the Kerdyllia intersection, on the westbound lane, roughly between the cities of Kavala and Thessaloniki.
A handful of the irregular migrants fled the scene. No information was given over approximate ages, gender and nationalities of the third country nationals.
In an appearance on Sunday morning on the Athens-based Skai television station, Greek Interior Minister Takis Theodorikakos emphasized that "...Greece cannot accept an unlimited number of migrants and refugees..."
While reminding that a "coordinated effort" is underway to relieve the situation on Lesvos and Samos, as well as to a "plan", the Greek minister did not reveal details, merely adding: "We must all assist... this is the message to the citizens."
Speaking separately on the same channel, the relevant Alternate Citizens' Protection Minister, Giorgos Koumoutsakos, said the number of "migrants and refugees", as he said, landing or sneaking into Greece over the past four months reached 40,000 people.
While receiving "high marks" from respondents in a handful of recent opinion polls regarding most issues, the nearly four-month-old center-right Mitsotakis has fared poorly on the topic of combating the migration crisis, at least based on respondents' views.
Dozens and often hundreds of third country nationals - hailing from sub-Saharan Africa to North Africa, the Middle East to south Asia - continue to land on a handful of Greece's eastern Aegean isles, and via the overland route in Evros prefecture, on a daily basis, after first assembling and disembarking from the opposite Turkish coast and territory.
The developments come after very recent threats by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to allow millions of refugees and would-be migrants hosted in his country freely attempt to enter Greece and the European Union.