World, Europe

Refugees, migrants clash with police on Greek island

Moria camp sees another round of unrest amid overcrowding

Ekip   | 18.07.2017
Refugees, migrants clash with police on Greek island FILE PHOTO

Atina

By Idyli Tsakiri

ATHENS

Refugees and migrants stranded on the Greek island of Lesbos set fires and clashed with police who responded with teargas, on Tuesday.

According to a police spokesman, the tension in Moria started early in the afternoon but the cause remains unclear.

Police and firefighters are still operating at the scene, Theodoros Chronopoulos told Anadolu Agency.

Migrants and refugees in the overcrowded camp have previously set tents on fire and fought with police, often frustrated by conditions on the island.

Dimitra Ipioti, a nurse with the Lesbos Solidarity Movement, said police used teargas against the migrants, in an attempt to break up their protest:

“We don’t know yet what caused the uprising, but my personal opinion is that the people who have been stranded there for more than a year, just can’t take it anymore.”

“Also, a lot of them are receiving negative answers to their asylum requests, which has added to the terrible conditions in the camp, and the long wait can lead to unrest,” she added.

Lesbos is one of the Aegean islands most affected by the refugee crisis, and still receives dozens of migrants almost daily.

Official government data show that 4,500 migrants and refugees are currently on the island, which has a capacity of not more than 3,500.

Migrants arriving in Europe are stuck at their point of entry until their asylum requests are processed.

This causes some Greek islands to become overcrowded and unable to cope with the large numbers of people waiting for a response, who -- occasionally -- stage often-charged protests, demanding to be allowed to leave.

Police in Moria were pelted with stones as a protest on July 11 about overcrowding also turned violent.

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