Greece’s Lesvos Island in Turmoil as Migrants Demonstrate for Second Day

Hundreds of refugees and migrants gathered on Tuesday in the center of Mytilini, the capital of the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos, protesting the appalling living conditions at the infamous Moria camp for a second day.

Video footage shows migrants shouting “Freedom!” as riot police stand by to prevent a repetition of Monday’s ugly scenes, in which tear gas was used to prevent the protestors from reaching Mytilini.

Posted by Στο Νησί on Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Earlier, dozens of residents barged into the General Secretariat for Aegean and Island policy in the capital city of Mytilini to demand a response from Athens to overcrowding at Moria and the resulting outbreak of lawlessness.

Athens has responded by sending two riot police units who are expected to arrive on the island on Tuesday night, in addition to the two units which were dispatched on Sunday to respond to Monday’s planned demonstration.

On Monday, police clashed with some 1,000 protesters who were attempting to break through a cordon set up on the main road leading from Moria to Mytilini.

The migrants also claim that asylum services are processing applications of asylum seekers who arrived after the New Year under the new asylum law, while the paperwork of other applicants who have been stuck at Moria for many months is disregarded.

Northern Aegean Regional Governor Kostas Moutzouris, speaking to Greek daily newspaper To Ethnos said that Monday’s riots were the “first time” he had felt that a “clash between residents and migrants was about to take place.”

“I was shaking on the thought of where this climate can lead. Extreme things were heard by some residents. It was the first time I was scared we were moving into a conflict between Greeks and migrants,” the Governor said.