Tension went high on the island of Leros in the Eastern Aegean Sea, when a group of migrants protested the living conditions in the hot spot saying they were fearing for their lives. The protest got out of control when a small group went so far to attack the police director and the mayor. The migrants’ protests alarmed local residents who formed “civil guard units.”
The incident occurred when 200 refugees left the hot spot Lepidon and moved to a central point of Lakki village. Protesters said that they wanted to be accommodated somewhere else saying that there were criminals in the hot spot thus threatening them. “Living together peacefully was not possible,” they stressed.
The mayor and councilors arrived at the spot in order to find out what was going on and they were briefed by migrants representatives, an NGO official and an official representing the UNHCR.
The municiaplity reply to the request was expected: that there were no other hosting facilities on the island and that they had to return to the hot spot where their problems would be taken care of.
Protesters remained determined, the mayor called the police that arrived together with the police director. However, while the director was heading to a a group of protesters in order to brief them about the situation, another group reportedly physically attacked him.
“A group of ten people started to beat the police director, he fell on the ground,” local media LerosNews.gr reports, while ANT1 TV said that the mayor was beatn too and both men were punched and kicked.
Video: moment of attack against the mayor and police director
This triggered the anger of locals who had also gathered there too, a body-to-body fight between locals and migrants broke out.
Video: first part is from an older visit of PM Tsipras
According to in.gr, the locals also attacked members of solidarity groups, of NGOs and the UNHCR blaming them for the situation in recent days.
It took the intervention of the riot police to bring law and order in the village.
According to LerosNews, the locals formed an unofficial civil guard and accompanied the protesters back to the hot spot together with police.
“On Saturday evening this civil guard wanted to raid the hot spot facilities, arrest the troublemakers, hand them over to police so that they can be deported. This plan was averted due to municipal authority and some reasonable locals. ”
There is information that many members of NGOs left the island while there claim that also the UNHCR plans to depart.
The incident occurred on Saturday morning. It was allegedly the second protest incident within 48 hours.
Shame they were prevented from arresting the trouble makers it may have been better for all those living in the camps! It’s only right violence is stopped deportation should have happened asap.
violence is never possitive!
Nobody knows the conditions in the camps because they are closed to all but the NGOs and UNHCR. Considering the terrible – and proven – stories from refugee camps in the last 10 years (people trafficking, organ trafficking etc.) – from camps in the care of NGOs – I don’t dismiss the refugees claims automatically. I find it suspicious that Greek officials are banned except in special circumstances. After all, before the engineered flow last summer, it was greeks that took care of the refugees. Now things could be happening on Greek soil that no Greek would countenance and we don’t know.