Greek security forces clash with stranded refugees on Lesbos Island
New clashes have erupted between Greek police and stranded refugees on the flash-point island of Lesbos in Greece, where extra security staff have been deployed to calm the situation.
Authorities said the scuffles broke out on Monday night between the security forces armed with batons and the refugees, who were trying to board a government-chartered ship bound for the Greek capital, Athens.
The Greek government and the United Nations (UN)’s refugee agency have reportedly sent in extra staff and ships to deal with some 25,000 refugees bogged down on the island.
‘Government doesn’t care’
Lesbos is one of the several Greek islands where refugees headed for Western Europe land after setting sail from the nearby Turkish coast.
“Some people have been here for 14 or 15 days. The government doesn’t care,” said Aleddin, an engineering student who is among the refugees on Lesbos Island and who is hoping to join his brother in Germany.
Greece has asked the European Union (EU) to help Athens deal with the huge flow of refugees as arrivals on Lesbos have swollen to three times as many as the island could handle.
The country’s Interior Minister Yiannis Mouzalas said on Monday that “the situation is on the verge of explosion.”
Germany, Europe’s number-one destination for refugees, said about 20,000 refugees had entered the country at the weekend, most of them arriving on trains from Hungary via Austria.
European leaders have reacted to the influx of asylum seekers to the continent, with many of them calling on EU government to adopt coordinated measures to address the situation.
The EU’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has called on “all European leaders… to take decisions that are coherent with the emotions they express.” EU President Donald Tusk has also warned that the exodus from war-torn countries could last for years, making it “important to learn how to live with it without blaming each other.”