Is­lan­ders don’t want camps

The Citizen (KZN) - - World -

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

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