Athens, June 2 (IANS) Greek police on Friday started the evacuation of an improvised refugee and migrant camp located in an old airport here.
A large police force converged at the Athenian Hellenikon international airport. The officers blocked all accesses and formed a security perimeter around the airport's three main buildings, Efe news reported
The evacuation operation began at around 6.30 a.m., and involved relocating over 650 refugees and migrants sheltered there, down from some 3,000 last year.
The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) arranged a nine-bus convoy to carry out the evacuation.
According to the police, some 500 refugees will be transferred to the Thebes refugee camp, some 50 km from Athens, while the remaining 150 will be distributed in various refugee shelters in and around the Greek capital.
On Thursday, the refugees were handed special packages to pick up their belongings.
The Hellenikon also hosted some sporting events during the 2004 Olympic Games.
Under the Greek bailout plan, the airport, which has a total surface of 6.2 million square metres is set to be demolished to build a residential project, hotels and a shopping mall complex.
It will also include a massive green zone spanning 2.6 million square metres.
There are approximately some 62,000 refugees and migrants stranded in Greece since the Balkan states locked down their borders in March 2016 -- many of them are Afghans who cannot apply for the European relocation programme.