Thousands march in Berlin in support of refugees in Greece

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Participants in a demonstration of an alliance for the immediate evacuation of all Greek camps hold protest signs in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, Sept.20, 2020. The alliance of Pro Asyl, the Berlin pier and other groups is calling on the federal government to stop blocking the reception of local and state authorities. (Joerg Carstensen/dpa via AP)

BERLIN (AP) — Thousands of people marched in Berlin on Sunday demanding that the government do more to help migrants stuck in Greece, many of whom have been made homeless since fires ravaged the country’s largest refugee camp.

The crowd marched through the capital to the landmark Victory Column carrying signs with slogans like “we have space” and “Seehofer, be a Christian” — a reference to Interior Minister Horst Seehofer.

A little girl held a sign saying “let the people in” while a woman waved a placard saying “People are suffering, Fortress Europe looks on — and cuddles up to the right.”

More than 12,000 migrants and refugees fled the fires, which the Greek government says were deliberately set by a small group of Afghan migrants to protest a virus lockdown at the Moria camp. Thousands have slept outdoors on a nearby roadside in the nights since the blazes.

Germany’s government said last week it would take in 1,553 migrants — 408 families with children — from various Greek islands who already have been granted protected status in Greece. The move came on top of a decision to take in up to 150 unaccompanied children as part of a European effort.

The weekend demonstrators demanded that Germany do more, and that the government not block independent state or municipal efforts to take in refugees themselves.

About 3,000 people had registered to take part in the march, but police told the dpa news agency the crowd numbered in the “mid four-digit range.”

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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