Islanders Furiously Revolt After Gov't Tries To Build Refugee Camp on Their Land
The Greek government has pushed islanders too far in its attempt to place refugee camps on isolated islands, resulting in widespread unrest.
Thursday marked the fourth day of protests across the islands of Chios and Lesbos, according to the CBC. Demonstrators are making their disapproval heard regarding efforts to build a facility meant to house migrants.
The islands have been flooded with refugees out of the Middle East, who find the tiny bits of land an easy entrance into Europe through Turkey.
The deluge of migrants has overwhelmed facilities and stressed the islands’ finite amount of dry land.
Camps across the islands that were originally designed to hold 5,400 are now being relied upon for a mass of 43,000 immigrants.
Recent action by neighboring Turkey likely means that number will soon drastically increase.
Protests have been marked by spats of violence against heavily equipped riot police who arrived to restore order. Some protesters even laid siege to an army camp on Lesbos housing the enforcement officers.
“Our great fear when passions are so high is that blood will be spilt,” deputy mayor Efstratios Tzimis of Mytilene, Lesbos, told The Guardian.
“It’s a very bad turn of events when Greeks turn against Greeks.”
Residents battled police in a melee brawl as officers deployed tear gas and stun grenades against the angry citizens.
Video out of Chios shows residents seemingly hurling explosive fireworks at officers.
Clashes continue on #Chios island at protests against new #migrant camps pic.twitter.com/hgV3fGcUqV
— Ruptly (@Ruptly) February 27, 2020
Even more shocking is footage taken in the Erytha Hotel, a resort on the island of Chios.
In the graphic clip, which can be seen here, citizens reportedly can be seen storming the hotel to beat and harass police quartered there.
According to the Italian news outlet Il Manifesto, the officers were stripped of their belongings and the items were cast into the sea.
The prime minister of Greece vowed those acting violently would be brought to justice.
Although officials appear intent on their original plan, it’s unclear if the government will pursue the establishment of refugee facilities on the islands in the wake of the violence.
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