Migrants clashed with riot police inside the Moria reception center on the Aegean island of Lesvos on Tuesday following reports that a number of asylum applications were turned down, with at least 10 people said to have been injured in the unrest.
The rioting broke out in the afternoon following a visit to the center by Migration Policy Minister Yiannis Mouzalas and his Dutch counterpart Klaas Dijkhoff. Migrants jeered the two men amid reports that asylum applications had been rejected, with some protesters throwing plastic bottles of water at the pair.
After the ministers’ departure, a crowd of young migrants tried to storm out of the center, prompting police to fire tear gas in a bid to restore order. The clashes escalated when some of the protesters set fire to mattresses and other items.
A sense of calm had been restored by late Tuesday night but police remained on standby outside the center.
Meanwhile local authorities in parts of northern Greece, including the Thessaloniki prefecture, are said to have reacted angrily to the opening of new reception centers for migrants who are being moved away from a sprawling makeshift camp in Idomeni near the border with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
A camp near Idomeni became a magnet for thousands of migrants hoping to follow a route through the Balkans to Western Europe.
But a decision by several countries to restrict or close their borders has left more than 50,000 people stranded in Idomeni and other camps across the country.