Chios takes recourse to stop expansion of migrant camp

Chios takes recourse to stop expansion of migrant camp

Stepping up their conflict with the government over its plans to expand a state migrant reception facility on their island, local authorities on Chios have appealed to the Council of State (CoS), the country’s highest administrative court, in a bid to block the project.

In its appeal, the Municipality of Chios has described the government’s plans to expand the Vial facility as “unconstitutional and illegal,” claiming the absence of feasibility and environmental impact studies among other objections.

In recent weeks, residents of Chios have been blocking access to the site to avert the transfer of prefabricated housing which authorities say is necessary for migrants currently sleeping in tents.

Around 1,600 migrants live at the state-run camp, twice its capacity, and scores sleep in tents due to a lack of space.

Although the local authorities oppose the expansion of the site, they vehemently object to apparent attempts by the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn to exploit frustration with the situation.

The municipal council of Chios on Friday said that members of GD will be treated as “personae non gratae.” The council convened to vote on its stance toward the party ahead of an event Golden Dawn has planned on Wednesday to present its “solution” to the refugee crisis.

“The presence of the neo-Nazi organization is a huge provocation to the island’s democratic principles and the Municipality of Chios will not just let it pass,” the council said in its announcement on Friday.

“Golden Dawn members, who are under indictment, are unwelcome on Chios,” it said in reference to an ongoing trial against GD, which is accused of running a criminal organization and carrying out dozens of attacks against migrants and critics of the party.

“Chios is an island that has fought for national resistance and for democracy, and it sternly and categorically disapproves of the presence of Nazi descendants,” the statement said.

Chios is host to one of five official migrant reception and processing centers in the Aegean, and has been on the front line of the refugee crisis since its start.

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