Tensions rise at Lesbos protest over migrants

Violent clashes erupt between protesters and Greek police during rallies against EU migration policy

Tensions rise at Lesbos protest over migrants

World Bulletin / News Desk

Far-right residents of the Greek island of Lesbos clashed with police late Thursday over an ongoing migrant crisis, according to local reports.

The latest protests erupted during a visit by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to the island, where around 2,500 people marched to demand that all migrants be evacuated from Lesbos' Moria refugee camp.

Lesbos hosts an estimated 9,000 asylum seekers. 

Police used teargas to disperse the protesters, who were carrying anti-refugee banners. No arrests or injuries were reported.

Speaking during a conference, Tsipras defended the migrant deal, saying the situation would be "three times as bad" if a migration agreement between the European Union and Turkey had not been signed. 

"We are not satisfied with this situation, and it is very difficult both for the islanders and migrants," said Tsipras, who admitted that his government had made mistakes in managing the migrant crisis. 

On April 23, a far-right group attacked migrants, leaving about 10 people hospitalized.

According to Greek state media, the extreme-right group had shouted "Burn them alive!" and threw flares, glass bottles and stones at the migrants.

The migrants created a human shield to protect women and children but refused to leave the square. 

In March 2016, Turkey and the EU signed a deal aiming to stem the irregular migration flow through the Aegean Sea by taking stricter measures against human traffickers and improving conditions for nearly 3 million Syrian refugees in Turkey.

After the EU-Turkey deal, the refugee death toll in the Aegean region dropped from 805 in 2015 to 434 in 2016 and to 61 in 2017, with 19 deaths so far in 2018, according to UN figures. 

Güncelleme Tarihi: 04 Mayıs 2018, 09:07