Riot police on the Greek island of Lesbos yesterday fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of protesters against the creation of a new detention centre for migrants as the latest outburst of unrest entered a second day.
The Athens government infuriated residents of five Aegean islands – all straddling a key route to Europe used by thousands of migrants – by announcing two weeks ago that it would expedite the construction of secured detention centres to replace open-access, severely overcrowded camps.
Locals residents – who are are concerned such an arrangement could become permanent – tried to approach a site earmarked for a new migrant centre and clashed with police on a road winding through a forest.
Can’t really blame them – we all know that’s exactly what will happen. And they all know the sort of gratitude these migrants display towards their host countries.
Perhaps they’d be better off lobbying for ‘Lexit’ rather than lobbing bricks at the police?
Locals say the islands are carrying a disproportionate burden from a migrant crisis that began in 2015 when more than one million people fled violence in the Middle East and beyond via Turkey, reaching Greece and then moving on to wealthier central and northern Europe, their preferred destinations.
Of course they are preferred destinations. These aren’t people ‘fleeing war’ at all. They are economic migrants, nothing more, nothing less.