Greek riot police have begun evacuating hundreds of refugees from a makeshift shelter set up inside the abandoned buildings of Athens' old airport.
A heavy police presence blocked off all access to the Elliniko airport site in the early hours of Friday, denying entry to journalists, as men, women and children collected their belongings and began boarding buses to camps elsewhere in Greece.
Police had previously said up to 500 people, mainly families, would go to a camp outside the town of Thebes, about 70km northwest of Athens.
The remainder of mainly single people, estimated at more than 150, would be taken to Athens' aliens department for identity verification, before being moved to facilities outside of the capital.
Activists gathered outside the old airport to protest against the police operation, and decried the transfer of single people to the department on Petrou Ralli Street as "nothing else than a deportation procedure".
"Police went in violently and occupied the spaces in order to move the refugees to areas they do not want," Petros Konstantinou said, a left-wing Athens city councillor and coordinator for United Movement Against Racism and the Fascist Threat, told Al Jazeera from outside Elliniko.
"Police arrested the camp's leaders, including Masoud Qahar, under the pretence of identity verification," he added.
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