Migrants on the Greek island of Lesvos are angry with conditions after a catastrophic fire devastated a large camp set up to house them. Riot police responded with tear gas after some protesters threw stones.Greek riot police fired tear gas at asylum seekers protesting on the island of Lesvos on Saturday as tensions simmered following a massive fire that ravaged the largest migrant camp in Europe this week.
Thousands of migrants have been sleeping rough in Lesvos since Wednesday, when Moria camp and thousands of homes were destroyed. The cause of the fire remains unknown.Clashes broke out on Saturday near a new temporary camp built by Greek authorities where hundreds of young men gathered to protest. Some threw stones at riot police who responded with tear gas.A fire that had started there earlier in the day near a police blockade had to be put out by firefighters.
“People we spoke with are very angry and frustrated and upset about the use of tear gas,” she said, adding that three witnesses had said the tear gas was used after police tried to detain three leaders of the Afghan community at the camp.She said people at the camp were becoming more and more impatient at their situation, saying “Moria was hell” and that they wanted to leave, as the Greek government could not take care of them properly. Local authorities did not seem to be doing much to supply provisions, she said, speaking of “chaotic and very dramatic scenes” when trucks with water did arrive. One man broke his arm as people jostled for bottles of water, according to a source.
‘Only a first step’
German Vice-Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who was chosen as the Social Democrats’ candidate to run for chancellery in the upcoming parliamentary elections in Germany, said Germany should take in more migrants from Moria than the government had proposed.He said the desire of 10 European states to take in only 400 unaccompanied minors could only be a first step in view of the situation. Scholz said Germany should act on its own if necessary, while admitting that it would be good for other countries to join us. “The fact that we are ready to do something anyway is, I believe, required by our humanitarian reason,” he said.
UN appeal for help
German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer previously said Germany would only welcome 100 to 150 unaccompanied minor migrants from Moria. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called on EU members to welcome all migrants from Lesbos. “In my opinion, the only solution is to transfer these refugees to the continent, and I hope there will be European solidarity,” he told French channel TV5 monde in an interview broadcast on Saturday. Some 12,000 migrants lived in Moria camp before the fires. The camp was initially intended to accommodate only 3,000 people. A new temporary site with a capacity of 3,000 people was to open on Saturday a few kilometers from Moria, Greek Migration Minister Notis Mitarachi said.