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Lesbos goes on strike over refugee misery

Europe
20.11.2017
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Athens (dpa) - Municipal services and local businesses on Lesbos went on strike on Monday following a call from Mayor Spyros Galinos, in protest at the appalling conditions in the refugee camps on the Greek island.

Several hundred residents also protested in the streets, carrying banners saying: "Relieve our island. The people live in misery."

Galinos warned that Lesbos should not serve as "an open prison" and urged for the immediate transfer of refugees to the mainland.

He pointed out that 8,000 refugees and migrants in the island capital Mytilini are pressed together into a camp designed for a third of that number.

The people are waiting for their asylum applications to be processed and, in the case of a positive review, for their relocation to another EU country. Those who are rejected are to be sent back.

The process is, however, painfully slow and people remain stranded for many months, while more trickle in daily, aggravating the situation. Fights break out regularly over space and food, local reports said.

Lesbos was the main entry point for more than 1 million people who attempted the Balkan route to more prosperous northern and western EU countries during the 2015-16 migration crisis.

Countries along the route closed their borders a year and a half ago, stranding tens of thousands of people in Greece and along the way. Many slowly filtered through, but the bottleneck on the Aegean islands remains.

 

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