Moria camp damaged in riots as rumors fly

25 October 2016
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Migrants on Monday attacked the premises of the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) inside the Moria hot spot on the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos, completely destroying four container office units and damaging another two during a protest that was contained by riot police.

Officials said the protesters, most of them men from Pakistan, threw rocks and burning blankets at the EASO facilities, allegedly frustrated at delays in processing their asylum applications.

Riot police were called in to contain the riot. The blaze was put out by the fire service before it could cause further damage. There were no reports of injuries.

The violence at Moria prompted authorities on other migrant-hosting islands, including Chios, Samos, Kos and Leros, to beef up their security measures.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a local government official told Kathimerini that migrant riots were often triggered by rumors.

“Refugees and migrants are told that if their facilities are destroyed they will have nowhere to stay and so they will be transferred to the mainland,” the source said.

Pressure on Greece’s eastern Aegean islands continues to mount as migrants and asylum seekers continue to cross the sea from neighboring Turkey. A total of 370 arrivals were recorded in the past three days, raising the official number of those stranded on the islands to 15,635.

Meanwhile, Greek border guards have noted a significant increase in the number of undocumented migrants – mostly men from Pakistan – detected crossing into Greece in the northeastern Evros region. The numbers have apparently risen in the wake of Turkey’s failed military coup in July.

In a related development, Samos Mayor Michalis Angelopoulos on Monday sent a letter to Migration Minister Yiannis Mouzalas protesting the government’s failure to meet pledges to cut migrant numbers on the island.

“[Migrant] flows have intensified and departures are moving at a very slow pace,” he said, adding that problems were escalating.

Angelopoulos said 665 individuals had arrived on Samos in the past two weeks, while only 128 had left.

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