Chios tense after mi­grant unit un­rest

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

There were con­cerns yes­ter­day about the sit­u­a­tion on the is­land of Chios after up­heaval at the Souda mi­grant re­cep­tion cen­ter de­stroyed much of the premises.

It was un­clear ex­actly how the un­rest be­gan. Greek po­lice said they de­tained 37 mi­grants after ri­ot­ing dur­ing which fires were set. Ac­cord­ing to po­lice sources, the trou­ble be­gan late on Wed­nes­day when mi­grants al­legedly looted two lo­cal stores, steal­ing liquor and fire­works. They are then al­leged to have let off the fire­works close to the camp, star­tling res­i­dents. Later, ac­cord­ing to po­lice, a around 100 mi­grants set up a road­block near the re­cep­tion cen­ter and threw stones and fire­works at po­lice units. Riot po­lice of­fi­cers re­sponded by raid­ing the premises.

Vol­un­teers work­ing with mi­grants on the is­land gave a dif­fer­ent ver­sion of events, claim­ing that mem­bers of far-right groups pelted the cen­ter with stones, pro­vok­ing the mi­grants to re­tal­i­ate. Riot po­lice then stormed the cen­ter to re­store or­der.

It was the third time in a month that ri­ot­ing, and fires, have dam­aged the cen­ter. Last week many tents were flooded after heavy rain. Some 1,000 mi­grants re­mained in the cen­ter yes­ter­day but hun­dreds were dis­placed due to the dam­age.

Chios Mayor Mano­lis Vournous con­tacted Mi­gra­tion Min­is­ter Yian­nis Mouza­las be­fore the lat­ter de­parted for Brus­sels, ask­ing for the mi­grant cen­ter on the is­land to be closed down. Ear­lier this month Mouza­las had pledged to close the cen­ter and trans­fer the mi­grants to a new, larger fa­cil­ity but that has yet to be found.

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