Po­lice beat crowd of mi­grants on Greek is­land

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

Over­whelmed po­lice on the Greek is­land of Kos beat mi­grants with ba­tons and sprayed them with fire ex­tin­guish­ers on Tues­day as its mayor warned the refugee cri­sis on the is­land could end in “blood­shed.”

The mi­grants, mostly Afghans and Syr­i­ans, were be­ing re­lo­cated to a lo­cal soc­cer sta­dium on Kos af­ter camp­ing along­side the is­land’s roads and beaches for weeks.

Four po­lice used trun­cheons and fire ex­tin­guish­ers seem­ingly to pre­vent a stam­pede as a crowd tried to squeeze through a door into the sta­dium, an AFP pho­tog­ra­pher at the scene said.

At least one woman had al­ready fainted in the heat and many chil­dren were cry­ing as the tightly packed mass of peo­ple jos­tled for space, just days af­ter the coun­try’s han­dling of mi­grants came un­der fire from the U.N.

Ten­sions on the tourist is­land are high with its mayor warn­ing Tues­day of “blood­shed,” claim­ing there were 7,000 mi­grants stranded on Kos which has a pop­u­la­tion of only 30,000 peo­ple.

On Mon­day, an of­fi­cer on Kos was sus­pended af­ter be­ing filmed slap­ping and shov­ing mi­grants queue­ing out­side the lo­cal po­lice sta­tion as they waited to be doc­u­mented so they could go on to Athens.

Kos mayor Gior­gos Kir­it­sis told the Greek ANA news agency there “was a risk of blood­shed if the sit­u­a­tion de­gen­er­ates” fur­ther.

A po­lice source in Athens told AFP that the latest in­ci­dent was be­cause the mi­grants tried to get into a po­lice post to be get their pa­pers sorted while the of­fi­cers wanted to process them in the sta­dium.

Greek Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras last week said the refugee cri­sis “sur­passes” his cri­sishit na­tion’s re­sources and called for Euro­pean Union as­sis­tance.

The U. N. refugee agency’s di­vi­sion for Europe said last week that 124,000 refugees and mi­grants have landed in Greece since the be­gin­ning of the year.

The agency said that Athens’ re­sponse to the prob­lem had so far been “to­tally shame­ful,” with many of those land­ing on the eastern Aegean is­lands near Tur- key usu­ally forced to sleep in the open, lack­ing ac­cess to wash­ing fa­cil­i­ties and toi­lets.

Greek author­i­ties are con­vert­ing a con­tainer fa­cil­ity near cen­tral Athens to ac­com­mo­date hun­dreds of mi­grants cur­rently sleep­ing in one of the cap­i­tal’s parks.

AP

Po­lice­men try to dis­perse hun­dreds of mi­grants by spray­ing them with fire ex­tin­guish­ers, dur­ing a reg­is­tra­tion pro­ce­dure which was tak­ing place at the soc­cer sta­dium in the town of Kos, on the south­east­ern is­land of Kos, Greece, Tues­day, Aug. 11.

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