Police on the Greek island of Lesvos arrested 33 people suspected of illegally raising a huge metal cross late on Saturday.
The group installed the Christian symbol at Apelli, beneath the landmark castle of Lesvos’ capital, Mytilene, on the same spot, where another cross was destroyed by unknown vandals last October.
The Athens News Agency (AMNA) reports that the group, which also carried a huge Greek flag, worked overnight to raise the cross before they were taken into custody.
The raising of the cross has divided local opinion on the island.
In a recent announcement, a local group called “Movement of Free Citizens of Lesvos” slammed the government and the local SYRIZA party for their opposition to raising the cross, claiming that “their ultimate goal is the total destruction and extinction of every Greek and Christian element of our Greek Orthodox culture.”
Other groups claim that the cross is offensive to the thousands of migrants stranded on Lesvos who are not Christian.
Last October, an NGO called “Movement for Coexistence and Communication in the Aegean” said that it was inappropriate to turn a Christian symbol “to a tool of aspiring crusaders.” It also argued that the cross was placed there to prevent migrants from swimming.