Police fire tear gas at anti-migrant ‘hotspot’ protest

14 February 2016
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Greek riot police fired tear gas on Sunday at demonstrators protesting against the development of a centre to house migrants on the tourist island of Kos, media reports said.

About 2,000 people joined a rally against the so-called “hotspot” being built on the Aegean island despite the opposition of local residents and the mayor, fearful of the effect on the vital tourism industry.

Local media said police fired tear gas to disperse several dozen protesters who tried to break in to the construction site about 10 kilometres (six miles) from the port of Kos.

The island’s deputy mayor David Gerasklis said there were about 2,000 demonstrators in all, about double the number who turned out for a similar rally at the port on Wednesday.

Greece has pledged to build five “hotspots” to house and process migrants on the islands of Kos as well as Chios, Leros, Lesbos and Samos.

Situated just a few kilometres from the Turkish coast, the scenic tourist idylls have become the gateway to Europe for tens of thousands of people fleeing war and poverty in hope of a better life.

EU member states last week gave Brussels a three-month deadline to remedy “deficiencies” in controlling the influx of migrants, or effectively face suspension from the 28-nation bloc’s passport-free Schengen zone.

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