After island violence, government announces partial withdrawal of riot police


After extensive clashes between officers and islanders that left 62 people injured on the eastern Aegean islands of Lesvos and Chios, the government announced on Wednesday that it is withdrawing most of the riot police units that were stationed there to counter fierce reaction to the creation of new, closed migrant camps.

Speaking to Kathimerini, an official from the Ministry of Citizens’ Protection confirmed what government spokesman Stelios Petsas had said earlier on Wednesday to Alpha TV, that the decision to withdraw riot units was taken after the completion of the first phase of preparatory work for the construction of the centers. 

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will meet on Thursday with North Aegean Regional Governor Kostas Moutzouris and the five island mayors in an effort to de-escalate tensions. 

The main protests took place in the areas of Diavolorema, Kavakli and Karava on Lesvos, where the government is expropriating land to build the centers.

During the clashes, locals hurled stones at police, who responded with tear gas, resulting in the injury of 43 officers and 10 islanders, according to the Hellenic Police (ELAS). 

On Chios, local residents reportedly barged into a hotel near the construction site of a new camp and injured eight off-duty officers who were staying there.