Greek island residents gathered outside government buildings in Athens on Thursday to protest against plans to create additional refugee detention camps on a number of islands.
Protesters held placards reading «all together for our island» and «no prisons.» Some banners also read «Moria SOS,» in reference to the deteriorated living conditions at the Moria migrant camp.
Protesters oppose... Еще government plans to build new centres to replace current facilities, many of which are stretched beyond their capacity. They also reject reported proposals that would see land requisitioned for three years to build the new camps. The plans concern facilities on the islands of Lesbos, Chios, Samos, Kos and Leros.
One demonstrator said, «the island of Lesvos was always the island of solidarity and it doesn't deserve Moria camp.» The protester also rejected the creation of new camps on the island.
Demonstrators also expressed concerns about a possible future revolt by refugees, many of whom have held recent protests against the living conditions in the camps. «When they put you in a cage and they tell you it's forbidden to exit or you have to exit with a card, you will revolt. We only want structures that will help them leave right away,» said a demonstrator.
Nikos Karypis, a protester, remarked that he and his fellow islanders will stand in front of the bulldozers so no one passes, in order to prevent the construction of additional refugee centres. «We won't allow it by any means. We gathered here, we will gather around in our villages too,» he added.
«The islands must stay for the islanders. Everyday life must be restored,» remarked a protester.
The UN refugee agency expects a steady rise in the numbers of asylum applications in Greece in 2020. Some 50,000 migrants and refugees are expected to remain in the country by the end of the year.