Europe

Greece to start evacuating Idomeni migrant camp within days

  • Migrants wait for the distribution of aid at the camp in Idomeni, Greece, Monday, May 23, 2016.  Thousands of stranded refugees and migrants have camped in Idomeni for months after the border was closed. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)

    Migrants wait for the distribution of aid at the camp in Idomeni, Greece, Monday, May 23, 2016. Thousands of stranded refugees and migrants have camped in Idomeni for months after the border was closed. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)  (The Associated Press)

  • Migrants wait for the distribution of aid at the camp in Idomeni, Greece, Monday, May 23, 2016.  Thousands of stranded refugees and migrants have camped in Idomeni for months after the border was closed. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)

    Migrants wait for the distribution of aid at the camp in Idomeni, Greece, Monday, May 23, 2016. Thousands of stranded refugees and migrants have camped in Idomeni for months after the border was closed. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)  (The Associated Press)

  • Migrants sit around a fire at the informal camp in Idomeni, Greece, Sunday, May 22, 2016.  Thousands of stranded refugees and migrants have camped in Idomeni for months after the border was closed. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)

    Migrants sit around a fire at the informal camp in Idomeni, Greece, Sunday, May 22, 2016. Thousands of stranded refugees and migrants have camped in Idomeni for months after the border was closed. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)  (The Associated Press)

Greek authorities say they will start a gradual evacuation of the country's main informal camp for refugees and other migrants within the next few days.

Police and government officials said Monday the estimated 8,400 people at Idomeni, on the closed northern border with Macedonia, will be sent to newly-completed, organized camps.

Government spokesman Giorgos Kyritsis says the operation should start Tuesday or Wednesday.

Greece has been trying for months to persuade Idomeni camp residents to move. About 54,000 migrants have been stuck in Greece since a series of Balkan border closures in March.

Kyritsis said 6,000 places are available in new camps, and more will be ready soon. He insisted force will not be used.

Riot police units were being moved Monday from other parts of Greece to Idomeni.