Lesvos mayor ap­peals for ac­tion

Slow asy­lum process stokes ten­sions at mi­grant re­cep­tion cen­ters, of­fi­cial says

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Amid a fresh uptick in mi­grants reach­ing Greece’s eastern Aegean is­lands from Turkey and ris­ing ten­sions on is­land re­cep­tion cen­ters, Lesvos Mayor Spy­ros Gali­nos yes­ter­day sent a let­ter to sev­eral min­is­ters and Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras, call­ing for im­me­di­ate ac­tion to ease the pres­sure on lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties.

In his let­ter to Mi­gra­tion Min- is­ter Yian­nis Mouza­las, Ci­ti­zens’ Pro­tec­tion Min­is­ter Nikos Toskas and In­te­rior Min­is­ter Panos Sk­ourletis, Gali­nos re­peated his re­quest for thou­sands of mi­grants to be trans­ferred from camps on Lesvos – which has long been a fa­vored drop­ping-off point for hu­man smug­glers – to the main­land.

His ap­peal came two days after mi­grants ri­oted at the hugely over­crowded Mo­ria re­cep­tion cen­ter on Lesvos as au­thor­i­ties pre­pared de­por­ta­tions to Turkey.

The mayor un­der­lined the need for ac­tion to be taken to speed up the pro­cess­ing of asy­lum claims and pre­vent ten­sions from build­ing up in the re­cep­tion cen­ters where some mi­grants have been wait­ing for months. He also ex­pressed con­cern about the im- pact on tourism of the fresh up­heaval. “Un­for­tu­nately the in­tense con­cern and worry I have re­peat­edly ex­pressed...re­gard­ing the need for ac­cel­er­at­ing the asy­lum pro­ce­dures with the aim of de­con­gest­ing the Mo­ria cen­ter, has been vin­di­cated,” he wrote, adding that the ri­ots are a “mas­sive blow to the com­mu­nity and econ­omy.”

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