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Lesvos to hold a general strike to protest overcrowded refugee camps

The municipality of Lesvos has called for a general strike on Monday, November 20 2017, to protest the overcrowded accommodation centers and the living conditions for the thousands of refugees and migrants stuck on the island of the Eastern Aegean Sea. Public services, clinics, shops and pharmacies will remain closed.

“They have put a noose around our necks. We will remove it,” mayor Spiros Galinos said during a press conference on Friday. “The voice of Lesvos will be heard to the decision-making centers in Athens,” he added.

More than 8,400 people are currently stuck on the island with 5,500 people living inside the Moria camp and the rest outside in tents. The facility is designed for 2,300 people. the majority of them have been waiting for months for their asylum request to proceed.

“Our request is to stop the policy of the government and the European Union that transforms the island of Lesvos and the islands of the North and South East Aegean Islands into prisons,” local authorities said in a statement calling on locals to join the protest.

Among others they want the immediate improving of the living conditions in Moria hot spot, the proportional distribution of asylum-seekers depending on the population of the islands and lifting of the ‘geographical exclusion” which would allow asylum seekers to be relocated from the islands to the mainland.

Stressing that the number of new arrivals has reached a new peak in the last months has worsened the living conditions at the already overcrowded and understaffed facilities and tests the patience of the local community.

“We will resist to any government and EU policy effort to turn the island of solidarity and humanity into a concentration camp that scorn the human dignity,” the statement said.

Refugees and asylum seekers held on more protest claiming “Moria is the new Guantanamo.”

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  1. Striking won’t achieve anything! They need to process the asylum seekers & refugees more quickly, ie within a few weeks of arrival. Send them back home or assimilate them in Europe as appropriate.

  2. Martin Baldwin-Edwards

    The municipality of Lesvos has nothing to do with the asylum process. This is managed by the Greek central state (First Asylum Reception Service) and EASO, the EU agency for asylum. If the EU wanted to process claims quickly it could do so: the reason for this not happening, is that they fear attracting more refugees with the high recognition rate. Thus, the strategy of the EU and the Greek state is to keep asylum seekers in concentration camps on the islands with terrible conditions, limited medical assistance and heating, poor diet and accommodation. By punishing them, they intend to deter genuine refugees from coming to Greece (and the EU).

    The neo-Nazi right must feel very pleased that their ideas are now being implemented by all of the European Union, including a “radical Left” government in Greece. Basically, the municipality is protesting against the Greek central state and its deliberate mismanagement — also making the Aegean islanders suffer, as well as the refugees.