Samos authorities lose patience with migrant situation
Tensions in and around reception centers on the islands of the eastern Aegean are growing, as arrivals of migrants from neighboring Turkey continue, with authorities and residents on Samos planning protests.
In a joint statement, the Municipality of Samos and local business groups complained about the conditions in which migrants are being detained, claiming that it “puts citizens’ safety and social cohesion at risk.”
In a recent meeting government officials had pledged to increase the number of staff at the island’s asylum unit in a bid to speed up the processing of claims and free up space in the overcrowded reception center but no additional staff have been dispatched to the island yet.
In a related development, Vassilis Papadopoulos confirmed his resignation as general secretary of the Migration Ministry yesterday, citing his exasperation with the situation on the Aegean islands due to the increasing numbers of refugee and migrant arrivals from Turkey as well as humanitarian concerns relating to the migrants. Papadopoulos’s resignation follows that last month of Odysseas Voudouris, the general secretary for refugees at the Interior Ministry, who criticized Migration Policy Minister Yiannis Mouzalas over the latter’s handling of the refugee crisis.
In the meantime, in Hania on Crete, pupils at two high schools staged sit-ins on the school grounds to express their solidarity with the children of refugees who have started attending Greek schools following objections by some parents.