Islanders determined to prevent work on migrant centers

Islanders determined to prevent work on migrant centers

Local authorities and residents on the Aegean islands of Lesvos and Chios are preparing for a full-scale conflict to prevent the start of construction work over the next few days on new closed structures for migrants.

Protest groups said they are guarding the sites where the government intends to build the centers.

For its part, the government appears determined to move ahead with the construction of the two centers on the two islands, while riot police units have already been dispatched and taken up positions, along with police buses and water cannons to impose the peace, if need be.

More reinforcements are expected to arrive on Tuesday, prompting the reaction of local officials on Lesvos, who said ominously, “We are expecting them.” 

An indication of the government’s intentions is the letter sent by Migration and Asylum Policy Minister Notis Mitarakis on Monday calling on relevant ministries, the mayors and the presidents of the local councils of Mytilene on Lesvos, Chios and Samos to participate in a working group tasked with closing down the reception and identification centers at Moria (Lesvos), Vathy (Samos) and Vial (Chios).

The task force, which will begin work in March and has to deliver its findings by the end of April, is expected to set out procedures for evacuating the old structures of residents.

Meanwhile, North Aegean Regional Governor Kostas Moutzouris is requesting a meeting with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in a bid to convince him to reconsider the plan. 

“They should think about it again and not to go up against the people.”

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