NEWS

Chios residents plan rally as frustration over migrant crisis mounts across Aegean

TAGS: Migration

Chios residents plan to hold a protest rally Wednesday demanding immediate measures to reduce the number of migrants on the island.

Along with other eastern Aegean islands, Chios is engaged in an uphill struggle to cope with the increasing number of migrants and refugees. The total number of people stranded on eastern Aegean islands now stands at 13,863.

The rally, organizers said, will be closely monitored to avoid the intrusion of far-right elements as was the case at a recent protest.

The rally reflects the growing unease on eastern Aegean islands over rising numbers of refugees, with seemingly no end in sight to the problem.

The local union of police officers on Chios issued an open letter Tuesday, claiming that crime has risen in tandem with growing migrant numbers.

“Thefts from gardens, warehouses and homes in areas around the Vial hot spot are a daily occurrence” and complaints from local residents are on the rise, the letter said, adding, however, that there is also tension and anger among migrants, who have been stranded there indefinitely.

For their part, employees of the Greek and European Asylum Service on Chios staged a symbolic protest Tuesday by blocking the entrance to the overcrowded Vial camp, demanding greater policing.

Protesters said that they, along with the migrants themselves, are faced with the daily risk of violence, especially when asylum applications are rejected.

On Monday, an Afghan man slit his wrists and was rushed to hospital after his asylum request was turned down.

Tensions are also simmering on Kos, where authorities are demanding immediate relief measures as the existing infrastructure cannot accommodate the 1,813 individuals stranded there. The impact on the economy, they said, has been acute as tourism arrivals have reportedly dipped by 15 percent.

Meanwhile on Lesvos, four refugee minors are to appear before a prosecutor Wednesday accused of gang-raping a teenage girl in the Moria hot spot last Sunday. The girl was taken to a local hospital where a medical examination confirmed she had been raped.

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