‘Greek islanders that have been hit the hardest by the country’s refugee crisis have set up protests in Athens to march against plans to build new detention camps.
Officials called off a meeting that had been planned with the government today and staged the demonstration outside parliament.
They were joined by hundreds of island residents. Lesbos, Samos and three other islands in the eastern Aegean Sea are struggling to cope with severe overcrowding at camps for refugees and migrants following a surge in arrivals from nearby Turkey.
The government earlier this week announced an initiative to build detention facilities on the five islands, arguing that the move is vital to properly organise the registration of asylum seekers and deport migrants denied international protection.
But island authorities are planning legal challenges and blockades at the sites where the new camps are planned, to try to block construction.
Stratis Kytelis, mayor of Lesbos capital Mytilene, said the protests had started after the government failed to fulfil a pledge to drastically reduce the number of migrants on the island over the winter months.’We don’t believe their assurances that all existing structures will be shut down,’ Kytelis told the Associated Press.’