Leros mi­grant riot fu­els con­cern

Euro­pean of­fi­cial ex­presses wor­ries about slow pace of reg­is­tra­tion process

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

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.

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