Greece evacuates hundreds of refugees from Hellinikon

Greece evacuated on Friday hundreds of refugees that were staying at buildings located at the old Athens international airport at Hellinkon, a site slated for an eight billion euro development.

The move is seen as being a key step forward in pushing through the delayed property development, undertaken by Greece's Lamda Development, along with China’s Fosun group and Eagle Hills from the United Arab Emirates.

At about 5:30 am, a major police operation was launched involving tens of buses that mainly transported the refugees to another state run accommodation facility in Thiva, 50 kilometers northwest of Athens.

Police said that about 500, mainly Afghan, refugees were peacefully transported in the operation that was off limits to the press.

Human rights groups accused the police of forcing the refugees out of Hellinikon, by getting them to sign a document of voluntary departure even they though didn't know what they were signing.

About 60,000 refugees from Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan are currently stranded in Greece after crossing into the country from Turkey on their way to countries in northern Europe.