Concern on Leros over migrants

12 July 2016
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Tensions are simmering at a refugee reception center on the eastern Aegean island of Leros following a series of uprisings by migrants at the camp who are restless after months of waiting for news about their fates.

Police reinforcements have been sent to the island from nearby Kos, where another reception center is located, after a riot on Saturday between migrants of different ethnic origins which spiraled into a confrontation with local residents who had gathered outside the camp. Representatives of foreign aid organizations which have been helping on Leros claimed to have received threats from far-right protesters on the island. Some volunteers have left Leros in recent days following the upheaval, according to local reports.

Although the center on the island hosts just 690 of some 56,000 migrants currently in Greece, tensions appear to be escalating, according to locals. “The lack of any development is driving them crazy,” Matina Katsiveli, a local volunteer, told Kathimerini. “They want to know if they’re going to be returned to Turkey,” she said.

There have been three suicide attempts at the camp, according to local reports.

Another problem is the predicament of unaccompanied minors. Due to the lack of suitable facilities to accommodate them, dozens of young migrants are sleeping in police precincts.

The mayor of Leros, Michalis Kollias, on Monday called for all the migrants on the island to be transferred to another center on mainland Greece.

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