Leros migrant riot fuels concern
European official expresses worries about slow pace of registration process
The situation was calm yesterday at a migrant reception center on the eastern Aegean island of Leros following a riot there on Thursday evening but the upheaval fueled concern about conditions at overcrowded camps on the islands where many migrants have been waiting for months.
The upheaval at the center erupted late on Thursday evening amid growing frustration among migrants who want to continue their journey beyond Greece to Northern Europe.
According to local reports, migrants hurled sticks and stones at police officers while some are said to have wielded axes.
With help of coast guard officers, police managed to contain the crowd and restore calm by nightfall.
No serious injuries were reported but protesters are said to have caused damage to the facility.
Around 650 migrants, chiefly from Afghanistan and Pakistan, are currently residing at the Leros center. Most of them arrived in Greece from neighboring Turkey before March 20, when the European Union and Ankara signed an agreement to crack down on human smuggling across the Aegean.
Addressing a press conference in Athens yesterday following visits to migrant reception centers on mainland Greece, the Council of Europe’s commissioner for human rights, Nils Muiznieks, expressed concern about the slow process of registering migrants as tensions build in overcrowded facilities.