Greek Island on Strike in Protest Against Becoming Migrant 'Prison'
Residents on the Greek island of Lesbos went on strike on Monday to protest against European policies they say have turned it into a “prison” for migrants and refugees, reported Reuters.
Islanders shut businesses, shops, municipal offices, nurseries and pharmacies and dozens rallied on a central square, calling on the government to transfer asylum-seekers to the mainland.
It is now hosting some 8,500 asylum-seekers in facilities designed to hold fewer than 3,000.
“Lesbos is not an open prison, nor will we allow anyone to view it as such,” Mayor Spyros Galinos was quoted as saying by the Athens News Agency.
Thousands of asylum-seekers have become stranded on Lesbos and four other islands close to Turkey since the EU agreed a deal with Ankara in March 2016 to shut down the route through Greece.
Some have been moved to camps on the mainland, but authorities say the terms of the agreement prevent asylum-seekers from traveling beyond the islands.
“The message (today) was that we can’t take it any more,” Galinos said. “Lesbos is in a state of emergency.”
Reporting by Karolina Tagaris; editing by Andr
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