Rumors that the government plans to rent hotels to house asylum seekers have renewed tension on the northern Aegean island of Lesvos, and particularly in the town of Molyvos, between hoteliers, locals, organizations and volunteers dealing with the refugees.
Even though the Migration Ministry has denied the rumors, they have nonetheless spread amid an economic crisis on the island – a result of a drop in charter flight arrivals from abroad due to the coronavirus.
The financial strain is refueling tension about the migrant issue despite the recent departure of some 5,000. On Saturday arsonists targeted the Belvedere Hotel in Molyvos – after reports that rooms were to be rented to migrants – and two days later tourist accommodation in the same town was vandalized with paint and slogans against nongovernmental organizations.
Also Monday, women held a rally demanding NGOs leave and protesting against renting hotels to host migrants.