Greek police say they have detained some 6,000 people in Athens on suspicion that they have entered the country illegally and will deport more than 1,600 of them to their home countries.
Police said Monday that those arrested and awaiting deportation have been sent to temporary detention centers. The rest were freed. Some 4,500 police took part in the weekend roundups.
Debt-crippled Greece is Europe's main entry point for illegal immigrants from Asia and Africa, who are seeking a better life in the West. Some 100,000 are estimated to slip into Greece every year, mostly from neighboring Turkey, and the influx has coincided with a spike in crime.