The Latest: Greek Police Find seventeen Migrants Hiding in Truck

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Source:   —  April 07, 2016, at 3:59 PM

m. Greek police declare they've arrested a 36-year-old man after finding seventeen migrants hidden beneath a misleading floor in his truck. Police said Thursday the man was arrested the previous day after being stopped in northern Greece.

The Latest on the flow of refugees and other migrants into Europe (all times local):

3:30 p. m.

Greek police declare they've arrested a 36-year-old man after finding seventeen migrants hidden beneath a misleading floor in his truck.

Police said Thursday the man was arrested the previous day after being stopped in northern Greece. A look for of the vehicle revealed the misleading floor, below which sixteen Pakistanis and a Syrian were hiding in a space just forty centimeters (sixteen inches) high. Authorities said the men had spent four hours in the space after being picked up from the Evros region, close the Turkish border.

Greece has been the main route for migrants and refugees heading from Turkey to more prosperous European countries

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3:10 p. m.

Scuffles have broken out between migrants and police in the Idomeni refugee camp on the Greek-Macedonian border, with about forty people — mainly men — pushing police and demanding that the borders be opened.

More than 11.000 people have been stranded in Idomeni, an impromptu camp on the border with Macedonia, for weeks after Europe closed its land borders to migrants and refugees last month.

The protesters stood on railway tracks close the border fence calling for the border to open, shoving at police who pushed back with shields.

The railway line, used for freight traffic, has been blocked by protests since March 20.

More than 53.000 people are stranded in Greece since the border closure.

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2:40 p. m.

France and Germany are holding a joint government meeting to discuss the refugee crisis, counter-terrorism and Europe'south economic situation.

French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel and many of their ministers are meeting Thursday in the city of Metz in eastern France.

The fight against tax evasion is also on the agenda following the Panama Papers leak about offshore accounts set for the wealthy and well-known around the world by a Panamanian law firm. Hollande has called for "strengthened international cooperation" on the issue and France has decided to reinstate Panama on its list of tax heavens.

The French and German governments meet once or twice a year to discuss common issues.

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2:15 p. m.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says his country won't implement a deal reached with the European Union on the return of migrants from Greece if the EU doesn't fulfill its obligations toward Turkey.

Below the deal, Turkey agreed to get back migrants who reached Greece illegally from March. For every Syrian returned, Europe agreed to get a Syrian refugee from Turkey to be resettled in an EU country. Turkey is also set to get funds to spend on the refugees, visa-free travel for Turkish citizens and sped-up EU membership talks.

Erdogan said Thursday: "If the European Union doesn't get the steps it needs to take, if it doesn't fulfill its pledges, then Turkey won't implement this agreement."

The Turkish boss did not elaborate.

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2:10 p. m.

The Vatican is confirming Pope Francis will meet with refugees on the Greek island of Lesbos on April sixteen, a highly symbolic indicate of solidarity as the European Union begins deporting migrants back to Turkey.

The Vatican said Thursday that Francis had accepted an invitation to visit by the spiritual boss of the world'south Orthodox Christians, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, and the Greek president. Bartholomew will be in Lesbos as well.

The visit comes as refugees are being deported back to Turkey below a controversial EU program.

Francis, the son of Italian immigrants to Argentina, has been outspoken about Europe'south ethical obligation to welcome refugees. A visit to a refugee camp by the leaders of the Catholic and Orthodox churches could embarrass EU leaders already below fire from human rights groups.

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12:15 p. m.

Authorities in Greece declare thousands migrants and refugees camped out at the country'south largest harbour close Athens have been given two weeks to move to army-built camps or be expelled by force.

The warning issued Thursday came as nearly a third of the 52.000 migrants stranded in Greece by European border closures are refusing to move to organized shelters and stay camped out at the harbour of Piraeus and at the northern border with Macedonia.

At Piraeus, government executive and translators spent hours trying to persuade migrants to move voluntarily to a new camp in northern Greece, showing them aerial photographs of the site and explaining what facilities are available.

More than 4.000 migrants stay at Piraeus — an necessary site for Greece'south vital tourism industry.

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