Kos island to hold referendum on disputed refugee hot spot

Kos island to hold referendum on disputed refugee hot spot

The municipal council of the eastern Aegean island of Kos on Monday voted to hold a referendum on whether it should host a disputed screening center for incoming refugees and migrants, or hot spot, in accordance with European Union directives.

“Since government officials and the local MP believe that the citizens of Kos are in favor of the hot spot, I have instructed the municipality’s general director to explore the procedures for an immediate local plebiscite so that citizens can decide whether they are in favor or opposed to the hot spot that is being constructed,” Kos Mayor Giorgos Kyritsis was quoted by ANA-MPA as saying at Monday night’s council meeting.

A few dozen of protesters clashed with police on the island on Sunday during a rally opposing the construction of the screening center, which is one of five Greece needs to open by the end of the month.

On Monday afternoon a rudimentary explosive device went off outside the police station on the island. It is the latest in a series of attacks against police on Kos. Officers have been targeted with firebombs, flares and firecrackers. This prompted the police officers’ union to express fears that the situation on Kos may start to resemble Keratea, the eastern Attica town where resistance from locals a few years ago prevented construction on a landfill from taking place.

Four teams of riot police were sent to the island on Friday to guard the disused army camp at Pili, which is being converted into a hot spot. Six people aged between 17 and 24 were arrested on Sunday for attacks on riot squads.

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