Protesters to march on EU quarter against leaders' handling of new migrant surge

Protesters to march on EU quarter against leaders' handling of new migrant surge
The protest will target a meeting of EU leaders, who on Tuesday praised Greece's response to the new surge in migration and called Athens the "shield" of Europe. © Belga

Over a dozen human rights groups will march on the EU institutions on Wednesday in protest of the bloc's response to the new influx of migrants attempting to reach Europe via Turkey.

Hundreds have said they will attend the protest march which is set to start at 5:00 PM in Rue de La Loi in the EU quarter, which leads to the European Council and Commission buildings.

The demonstration will coincide with a meeting of the EU's Home Affairs Committee in which leaders will discuss "the situation at the EU external border with Turkey," and "member state solidarity," the EU's Home Affairs Commissioner tweeted.

"The European Union has blood on its hands," the organisers wrote on Facebook, calling out the bloc's choice to support efforts by the Greek government to keep migrants from entering the country from Turkey.

A decision by Turkish authorities to no longer abide by a 2016 agreement to restrict migratory flows into the EU in exchange for financial support and renewed membership talks sent thousands rushing to reach Europe.

As tensions between border patrols and migrants and asylum seekers escalated, a child of 6 or 7 drowned after a boat capsized off the coast of Greece on Monday.

Footage also emerged on Monday of a Greek border patrol ship prodding migrants onboard a lifeboat with a stick and firing at the surrounding waters in an attempt to push them back.

The protest on Tuesday comes after EU Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen praised Greece's response, calling it the EU's "shield" during a visit to the country on Tuesday.

The praise comes after the UN's High Commissioner for Refugees questioned the legality of a decision by Greece's prime minister to suspend "the internationally recognised right to asylum," which he said would be suspended for a month.

Gabriela Galindo

The Brussels Times

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