Police worried by reports of far-right attacks on island migrant centers

Police worried by reports of far-right attacks on island migrant centers

The Greek Police (ELAS) is keeping a close eye on the situation at Aegean islands hosting migrant camps amid reports that members of far-right groups have been involved in at least two assaults against facilities, Kathimerini understands.

Attacks on the Souda camp on Chios over the past few days involved assailants lobbing Molotov cocktails and stones, and coincided with a trip to the island by MPs of Greece’s neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party and Belgium’s far-right Vlaams Belang.

Local residents on Chios, as well as Samos and other islands where reception centers are overcrowded and tense, are pressing for migrants to be moved to the mainland.

However, Migration Minister Yiannis Mouzalas said last week that migrants cannot be moved en masse to the mainland as that would encourage more to come over from Turkey and potentially test an agreement between Ankara and the European Union for the return of migrants arriving in Greece. “It would mean the collapse of the EU-Turkey pact,” he told reporters last week. “The next day the islands would be engulfed by a new wave of migrants.”

Tensions are particularly high on Chios following upheaval at the camp there amid reports of provocation by far-right protesters. Islanders who work at the facility are reluctant to return to their jobs, according to local reports.

Mouzalas, meanwhile, has proposed the creation of a larger camp before the current one can close.

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