A police officer escorts immigrants boarding a bus bound for a police station in Athens. (file photo)
Greek police have detained some 6,000 immigrants in Athens as the European country is in the grip of its worst recession in decades.
Police said Monday that 1,600 of the detainees will be deported to their home countries, the Associated Press reported.
More than 80% of migrants entering the European Union do so through debt-crippled Greece, which is Europe's main entry point for illegal immigrants from Asia and Africa, who are seeking a better life in the West.
"We do not care about color, ethnicity or religion of the illegal immigrants," Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias was quoted as saying. "The only criterion is the observance of laws with full respect, I repeat with full respect, for human rights and the European order."
Greece has been at the epicenter of the eurozone debt crisis and is experiencing its fifth year of recession because of the government-introduced harsh austerity measures.
The country has been the scene of numerous nationwide strikes and protests by the sacked workers, low-income workers and the students who have suffered the most as a result of the awful economic situation there.
The long-drawn-out eurozone debt crisis, which began in Greece in late 2009 and reached Italy, Spain, and France last year, is viewed as a threat not only to Europe but also to many of the world’s other more developed economies.