Pitched battles by local residents on Lesvos, Hios against creation of new 'hotspots' for undocumented migrants

Tuesday, 25 February 2020 11:50
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An explosive situation erupted on the eastern Aegean islands of Lesvos (Mytilene) and Hios (Chios) 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 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 the Greek isles, after disembarking from neighboring Turkey.

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, the Middle East to central-south Asia - the current Mitsotakis 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 existence of overcrowded "hotspots", such as the notorious Moria camp.

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