Refugee Crisis: Protesters' Swim Fails to Stop Greece Deportation of Migrants

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/ Source: Reuters
By Cassandra Vinograd

Ferries deported a second wave of migrants and refugees from the Greek islands on Friday, undeterred by protesters who jumped into the sea.

The deportations from the Greek island of Lesbos were part of a much-criticized deal between Europe and Turkey to stem the flow of refugees.

Around 45 migrants were deported from Lesbos early Friday morning, according to Reuters.

Protesters who jumped in the water and swam toward the ferry in an attempt to stop the boat from leaving port were picked up by the Greek coast guard, the agency added.

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Activists swim towards the deportation ferry in protest on Friday.Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

Friday's departures follow a fresh wave of criticism over the deal, which has been slammed since its inception as illogical, illegal and even inhumane.

Human Rights Watch called for the agreement to be repealed, calling it "terrible," "deeply flawed" and "dehumanizing."

Amnesty International said the deal has trapped thousands of refugees and migrants "in appalling conditions" — with not enough food, blankets, access to medical care — on Lesbos.

"Refugees are trapped with no light at the end of the tunnel," Amnesty's Europe Director Gauri van Gulik said in a statement. "The fear and desperation are palpable.”

A migrant is escorted onto the ferry on Friday.Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

An initial group of 202 migrants was deported on Monday to Turkey.

Under the deal, Turkey agreed to take back refugees and migrants that had made it to Europe from its shores. In exchange, the EU agreed to settle thousands of Syrians already in Turkey — one for each Syrian Turkey takes back from the Greek Islands.

More than 152,000 refugees and migrants have landed in Greece so far this year — many of them on Lesbos.

Pope Francis will visit the island later this month to show solidarity with the suffering of refugees landing on its shores.