“Thousands of people are still living in appalling conditions with limited access to medical facilities”
The small Greek island of Lesbos is only six miles from Turkey, which has made it a popular destination for migrants. The island has been overwhelmed in recent years and a recent protest descended into violence.
Frank Miles reports at FOX News:
Greek island protest about migrant influx turns violent
A protest on Thursday over the influx of migrants in Greece ultimately turned violent.
Greek riot police fired tear gas at angry protesters on the island of Lesbos who had been trying to topple a police bus during a demonstration against a European Union migration policy.
“It has gone too far. Every day buses (with refugees) arrive, and they’re full,” protester Yannis Vaxevanis said. “The (government) has to do something and take the people somewhere else.”
The protesters were among 2,500 demonstrators who gathered in Lesbos’ main port as Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras arrived to speak at a conference. A large contingent of riot police formed a cordon to block the protesters from advancing, and scores of them then tried to push over a police bus in clashes that lasted more than an hour.
No arrests or injuries were reported.
Officers fired tear gas and earlier discharged several flash grenades.
Resources have been stretched to the limit:
More than 15,000 migrants and refugees remain stuck on Lesbos, Chios, and three other islands, most staying in severely overcrowded camps.
“Thousands of people are still living in appalling conditions with limited access to medical facilities,” the aid group Doctors Without Borders. Conditions at the largest refugee camp in Lesbos, the group said “were putting the health and lives of people stranded on the island at risk.”
The Guardian has more:
Lesbos to greet Greek PM’s visit with protests, shutters and strikes
When a Greek prime minister visits a far-flung corner of the country he is traditionally welcomed with open arms. But any hope that Alexis Tsipras will be given the same reception when he arrives on Lesbos – the Aegean island long on the frontline of Europe’s migrant crisis – has been firmly dispelled.
Instead of the red carpet, locals have rolled out protest banners, announced a mass protest, shuttered shops and staged a general strike. Far from its usually jovial self, the port capital of Mytilene resembled a ghost town, reinforced and ringed by riot police, ahead of the visit late on Thursday.
“The people of Lesbos are exhausted,” the island’s mayor, Spyros Galinos, said. “Kindness has turned to anger … and where there is anger there is room for all sorts of extremism.”
The New York Times video below is from 2015, which goes to show this situation has been brewing for years now. A woman from the Hellenic Rescue Team explains that migrants arrive in boats. When the boat is spotted by the Coast Guard, migrants puncture the rubber boat so that they have to be rescued.
The mayor of Mytilene says “At this particular moment, speaking metaphorically, we are being invaded. An invasion from oppressed people. An invasion of misery. And this has brought great turmoil.”
It’s also fascinating to hear most of the migrants are headed to wealthier countries like Germany. For many, Greece is just the front door to Europe.
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