Fifty two riot police officers and 10 protesters were injured on Wednesday in the biggest clashes yet on the islands of Lesvos and Chios against the creation of new, closed migrant camps, authorities said.
The main protests took place in the area Diavolorema, Kavakli and Karava on Lesvos, where the government is expropriating land to built the centers. During the clashes, locals hurled stones to police who responded with teargas, resulting in the injury of 43 officers and 10 islanders, according to the Hellenic Police (ELAS).
On Chios, local residents barged into a hotel near the construction site of a new camp and injured eight off-duty officers who are staying there, police said.
There are concerns that protesters may have also removed police equipment.
In Athens, Migration Minister Notis Mitarakis called for calm, noting that the islanders' mistrust in any government announcements is “largely justified.”
“Unfortunately, there are individual incidents that tarnish the image of the islands and create an increasing tension, which should be promptly reduced within the next few hours,” he said during a meeting of the governing council of the Central Union of Greek Municipalities (KEDE).
Determined to go ahead with the plan to set up pre-departure centers on the five islands pf the eastern Aegean, the government sent several police units to prevent locals from stopping construction in the selected sites.