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    Protests against new migrant centres in Greece

    Residents of Greece’s Aegean Islands travelled to Athens today to protest against government plans to create new closed reception centres for migrants to replace overcrowded camps. The residents fear that the new camps would, over time, become the same open and overcrowded camps that the islands currently struggle with.

    The migrant crisis on the Greek islands has reached boiling point in recent weeks with continuous protests both by local residents and migrants. The camps have overflowed and sanitary conditions have deteriorated. There is often violence and accidents.

    The situation is the worst in the Moria asylum center which was built for 2000 migrants but today houses almost 20 000.

    “When the number of people started to grow, the situation became stiflingly difficult. They are people too, I am not saying they are not, we must support them, but their numbers are ten times the population of the residents of Mytilene, so this can’t continue”, said a resident of the Lesbos island. 

    Many of the protesters said that tourists have stopped visiting and their cities are turning into ghost towns.

    The government plans to close the island camps, move asylum seekers to the mainland, return those that do not qualify for asylum to Turkey or their countries of origin, and leave the new “closed” reception centres on the islands for a few thousand newly arriving migrants, whose movements will be restricted and their stay temporary. 

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