Yesterday, after 2,000 refugees from Moria camp began marching towards the capital of Mytilene to protest against poor living conditions and faster processing of their asylum cases, residents on the eastern Aegean island have demanded a response from Athens to the situation.
The rally became violent when riot police prevented the protesters from marching into the town Mytilini, using tear gas and stun grenades.
According to the Lesvos Post, 40 people were also detained as riots continued into the night, which prompted residents of the surrounding town to demand that the refugee camp be closed. The situation remains strained as migrants continue to demand they be transferred to mainland Greece, the newspaper said.
“These events prove the need to speed up the asylum procedure, the return of asylum seekers, and the establishment of closed and controlled facilities. It goes without saying that unlawful behaviours are not helping with the asylum procedures”, Minister for Migration and Asylum Notis Mitarakis stated.
The migrants are reportedly planning to continue the protests in Mytilene.
On Tuesday, residents on the island barged into the office of the General Secretariat for Aegean and Island policy, to demand a response from Athens to overcrowding at the Moria refugee and migrant camp following tension the previous day.
“I’ll admit that I’m not optimistic,” Northern Aegean Regional Governor Kostas Moutzouris stated during a press conference after the rally. “The numbers don’t add up. Given the 25,000 people trapped in open and closed centers and the inflows that are not stopping, I’m sorry, I cannot be optimistic and expect a solution…Things are said all the time and promises are made that are not kept. The migrants are people who are suffering; they have crossed seas and oceans for a better life and are now trapped on Lesvos. Coupled with the appalling living conditions, it is a situation that creates anger and desperation,” Moutzouris added.