Thousands show support for migrants in Europe

People marching to show solidarity with refugees in Geneva, Switzerland, on Saturday.
People marching to show solidarity with refugees in Geneva, Switzerland, on Saturday.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

LONDON • Protesters voicing their support for migrants took to the streets of European capitals over the weekend after the European Union (EU) and Turkey sealed a deal to tackle the continent's biggest migration crisis since World War II.

Thousands of people marched in London, Athens, Barcelona, Vienna, Amsterdam and several Swiss cities on Saturday as Greece rushed to put in place measures needed to enforce the deal sealed at a Brussels summit on Friday. Under the deal, all migrants arriving in Greece from Turkey from midnight yesterday will face being sent back to Turkey.

The EU will take in one Syrian refugee from Turkey in exchange for every Syrian returned from Greece, to discourage people from risking their lives by crossing the Aegean Sea in smugglers' boats.

In London, about 4,000 people joined a protest with placards stating, "refugees welcome here". Web designer Callum Nash said he came "to show support and solidarity for migrants... coming from Syria".

Argentinian journalist Emiliano Mellino said: "The situation right now in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey... The number of refugees they have, and the pressure those countries have, is incredible and Europe is not letting in enough people."

In Athens, police said 1,500 people took to the streets, while the media put the figure at 3,000. The protesters included many Afghan refugees, particularly women and children.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 21, 2016, with the headline 'Thousands show support for migrants in Europe'. Print Edition | Subscribe