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Greek police used tear gas to disperse hundreds of children protestors

Hundreds of children protesting in a Greek migrant camp were dispersed by police with tear gas on 4 September 2019.

According to state news agency ANA, 300 unaccompanied minors joined the protest in Moria Camp, demanding for a transfer to the main island. This came a day after authorities finished transferring more than 1,400 people, mainly Afghan families, to facilities in northern Greece.

These transfers are a response to increasing overcrowding due to a surge in irregular migrant arrivals in Greece in August.

However, migrants who have been transferred to the mainland said living conditions have only worsened for them. “We left Moria hoping for something better,” said Sazan, a 20-year-old Afghan, referring to the main camp on Lesbos, on news agency AFP. “And in the end, it’s worse.”

About 1,000 Afghans have been transferred recently to the main island from Lesbos. Some of those on the mainland were taken to the Nea Kavala camp near the major northern port city of Thessaloniki. New arrivals said the camps lacked basic necessities such as tents, water and electricity.

“We thought Moria was the worst thing that could happen to us,” Mohamed Nour told AFP. “They told us it would only be a temporary stay, but we’ve been here for two days now and the conditions aren’t good.”

The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said Lesbos was sheltering nearly 11,000 people at the end of August, following a surge in arrivals. Moria camp was built to house just 3,000 people.

Greece is currently home to more than 70,000 irregular migrants and asylum seekers. In response to the resurgence in irregular migrant arrival, it said deportations will be sped up. 

TMP – 25/09/2019

Photo credit: Ververidis Vasilis / Shutterstock.com

Photo caption: Thessaloniki, Greece – April 5, 2019: Migrants clashes with Greek riot police outside of a refugee camp in Diavata.