Lesvos and Chios have been gripped by a second day of clashes between riot police and local communities protesting against government plans to create closed migrant centres.
Over ten protesters and 40 police officers were injured on Wednesday during a second day of protests on the Greek island of Lesvos against the construction of closed refugee facilities.
Police used tear gas to prevent residents from approaching the site of the new migrant facilities as protesters pelted security forces with stones.
A similar event took place on the island of Chios, where locals rushed into a hotel where police officers were staying. One person was arrested and eleven more brought in for identification at the local police station.
“Our great fear when passions are so high is that blood will be spilled,” said Efstratios Tzimis, the deputy mayor of Mytilene, Lesvos’s main town. “It’s a very bad turn of events when Greeks turn against the Greeks.”
The North Aegean governor and the mayors of Chios, West Lesvos and Mytilini have all been summoned to a meeting at Maximos Mansion at 5 pm today, Thursday, February 27 “to tone down” the recent tension that erupted in clashes with police, government spokesman Stelios Petsas said.
Commenting on Wednesday’s protests, clashes and injuries at Lesvos and Chios, Petsas said that these islands cannot be left unpoliced because the migration crisis there is full-fledged.
He added that the police’s role at the two islands and Lesvos’ main town of Mytilini is to ensure that the government goes ahead with its plans. The riot police dispatched to the islands “were there to fulfill their mission, allowing the first phase of construction of the closed facilities.”
The first phase was completed in Mytilini on Wednesday, he said, while the first phase at Chios will be completed on Thursday.