TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club(YJC)-Incidents were reported on Lesbos and Chios, outlying Greek islands on the front line of a migratory flow of refugees and asylum seekers. Authorities announced this month they would expedite the creation of centers on five Greek islands, angering locals who say they are bearing the primary burden of the refugee crisis.
Witnesses said about 500 people attempted to block the unloading of heavy machinery overnight to break ground at a construction site on Lesbos.
Clashes on the streets followed, with residents attempting to block access to the construction site, and police used teargas. Similar tensions were reported on Chios.
Greece’s conservative government has taken a markedly tougher stance toward migration compared to the previous leftist government, issuing a tender for the construction of a floating fence to deter asylum seekers arriving by sea and introducing faster processing procedures that could increase deportations.
Locals are worried that the construction of the centers, which would replace camps with open access, will leave the islands permanently overcrowded. Authorities say closed centers will offer greater public safety and limit potential health risks.
That concern was particularly pertinent because of the spread of the new coronavirus, said Greek government spokesman Stelios Petsas.
“It is clearly evident that matters such as the coronavirus can be dealt with swiftly and effectively in a closed facility and not an anarchic, open facility which is a health time bomb,” Petsas said.