Islanders don’t want camps
Athens – Greek officials and residents from islands harbouring thousands of asylum-seekers staged a protest in Athens yesterday against plans to build new camps.
Dozens of demonstrators from the islands of Lesbos, Chios and Samos gathered outside the Greek interior ministry, brandishing banners against the project.
The new conservative government has announced that the present camps, which are stretched several times beyond capacity, are to shut down this year. They are to be replaced with new, smaller facilities that are to be operational by mid-2020.
But the initiative has been opposed by authorities and residents on the five Aegean islands with camp facilities, which include Leros and Kos.
The islanders demand the immediate removal of most of the asylum-seekers.
After weeks of talks with local officials, the government this week caused further anger by announcing that land could be requisitioned for a three-year period to build the new facilities.
“Talks cannot continue indefinitely... the time for decisions has come,” government spokesperson Stelios Petsas told state TV ERT on Wednesday. – AFP