NEWS

As Lesvos gets tense, leader seeks summit

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As tensions build on the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos, where some 20,000 migrants and refugees are awaiting the documents that will let them continue their journeys into Europe, President Prokopis Pavlopoulos asked European Council President Donald Tusk to call an emergency summit of European Union leaders to address a growing migration crisis.

Pavlopoulos, who spoke to Tusk by telephone, made his appeal a day after Greece requested 2.5 million euros in emergency EU funding to respond to the crisis.

Meanwhile in the capital, Athens Mayor Giorgos Kaminis Tuesday spoke to caretaker Prime Minister Vassiliki Thanou and Immigration Policy Minister Yiannis Mouzalas to express his concern at the fact that thousands of refugees and migrants arriving in the capital from the islands are camping in squares rather than being directed to a temporary reception facility in the area of Elaionas.

Some 2,000 migrants have taken up residence in central Victoria Square alone.

Red Cross volunteers provided them with sandwiches and bottled water Tuesday, prompting protests from some local residents.

On Lesvos, many locals have joined efforts to help migrants, providing food and clothing for instance. Others are less accepting, however. And there are fears that tensions on the island will peak as the influx shows no signs of abating.

Lesvos Mayor Spyros Galinos appealed for patience Tuesday. “It would be good if everyone can remain calm and trust those who are making huge efforts to handle the situation,” he said.