Tensions are growing at the village of Moria on Lesvos, where some 3,000 migrants are awaiting the outcome of asylum applications or deportations, with local residents expressing concern about crime in the area and calling for a permanent police presence.
“There have been thefts and vandalism and there is a sense of insecurity because of the presence of thousands of refugees in a small village,” Lesvos Mayor Spyros Galinos told Kathimerini.
On Saturday, Galinos and visiting SYRIZA MP Giorgos Pallis faced the wrath of residents at a village meeting.
Tensions peaked when one farmer deposited the severed head of a sheep on a table in front of the mayor, claiming that a migrant had killed one of his animals.
Galinos called on local residents to keep calm, noting that islanders had shown remarkable strength of spirit during the refugee crisis.
However, he has asked for a permanent police presence on the island, particularly around the Moria camp, where migrants have rioted several times.
The number of migrants in Greece rose to 58,367 Thursday, indicating that arrivals from Turkey have picked up again despite a deal between Ankara and the European Union to return migrants to Turkey.
On Thursday, Greek authorities returned 13 Syrian refugees to Turkey from Chios. The Greek Police said that the refugees had asked to leave Greece. A total of 1,546 migrants of different nationalities have been returned to Turkey since the beginning of the year.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is due in Greece on June 17 for a two-day visit. He is to travel to Lesvos on June 18.