Tension, pitched battles on Lesvos, Hios over gov’t intent to build more migrant ‘hotspots’
An explosive situation erupted on the eastern Aegean islands of Lesvos and Hios early Tuesday morning, with local residents engaged in pitched battles against riot police attempting to escort heavy machinery and work crews to sites where new closed migrant/refugee shelters are to be erected.
Both large islands have borne the brunt of the migrant crisis in the eastern Aegean since 2015, when hundreds of thousands of third country asylum seekers and would-migrants were smuggled onto, or landed themselves, on Greek isles, after disembarking from adjacent Turkish coast.
In a bid to alleviate the situation from open camps now sheltering tens of thousands of third country nationals – hailing from North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa to the Middle East and South Asia – the current Greek government announced «closed» shelters, in other words, guarded camps where would-be asylum seekers are not allowed to freely come and go.
Riot police units were transported overnight to both islands, where vocal protests have been held over the recent period against the presence of overcrowded «hotspots», such as the infamous Moria camp.
In one incident on Hios, the island’s mayor, Stamatis KAR-mantzis and a local parish priest, Fr. Georgios Konstantinou, fainted from the tear gas and shock grenades used by riot police. Fr. Georgios is also the president of the island’s association of clergymen.
Earlier, the Metropolitan of Hios, His Eminence Markos, called on law enforcement not to exert violence against the island’s residents.
Geplaatst door Δήμος Δυτικής Λέσβου op Maandag 24 februari 2020