Greek coastguards hit with new migrant pushback claim

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Tuesday, July 13, 2021
Greek coastguards hit with new migrant pushback claim

Greek coastguards hit with new migrant pushback claim

source: France 24 | 13 July 2021 |

A cellphone video shared by the Cameroonian with AFP shows a packed dinghy immobilised by a Greek coastguard patrol boat, with four crew members monitoring the migrants.A second patrol boat and a third vessel can be seen in the distance.

"Stay down and stay calm, for your safety," a Greek coastguard, in a mask and gloves, says, holding a long pole. 

Next to him, a female coastguard fingers a machine gun.

But the migrants, most of them men wearing life jackets, are agitated. 

"I am tired," one man shouts back. "Pushback," says another.

Tchinda, who declined to give his last name, said he believed the guards "did not dare" to act violently towards the migrants because they saw them filming.

But, he said, they made waves to push the dinghy back towards Turkish waters.

"Luckily no one fell into the water but it could have been very dangerous," the Cameroonian added. 

The Turkish coastguard confirmed in a June 11 written statement that it had picked up a boat the previous day shortly before 1:00 p.m. local time.Details on the number of migrants on board, its location and the time chimed with those described by Tchinda.The incident comes amid a series of media and NGO reports in recent months on the forced return of migrants from Greek territory or in Greece's waters to Turkey.

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