Mayors of islands where the government plans to create new closed centers for migrants via expropriations have expressed their vehement opposition and have declined, in protest, to attend a scheduled meeting Thursday with Migration Minister Notis Mitarakis. Moreover, a protest rally will be held Thursday by residents of Lesvos island outside the Interior Ministry in Athens.
At the same time, the Regional Council of the Northern Aegean convened an emergency meeting in which it called for an end to the dialogue with the government and expressed its determination to back protest actions planned by island municipal councils unless the legislative act that will allow expropriations of property and land to create the closed centers is withdrawn.
Meanwhile, the Lesvos Municipal Council has decided to create groups of residents to take turns guarding an area near Karavas to prevent the construction of a planned closed center. On Chios, the city council said no municipal service would assist in the process of building a new structure. It also decided to lodge an appeal against the legislative act with the Council of State and initiate meetings with MEPs and political party leaders.
For his part, Leros Mayor Michalis Kollias said: “We are told that the structure will be closed. But then they tell us that those inside the structures will be issued with cars to leave and enter and that only troublemakers will stay inside [the structure] continuously. We don’t know what to believe.”
Kollias added that permanent residents on the island amount to 8,500 people while there are currently 3,500 migrants on Leros.
“To book a doctor’s appointment at the hospital for anything, you need three months,” he added.