Residents of Greece’s three eastern Aegean islands which have been under the hottest spotlight during the migration crisis began putting up blockades on Monday to stop the government’s plans to establish new migrant and refugee detention centers.
The protesters, from the islands of Lesvos, Samos and Chios, have gone to the properties that Athens intends to use as the location of the new camps, blocking the roads which lead there.
The groups on Lesvos, Chios and Samos are backed by most of the islands’ municipal authorities as well as several agricultural associations from the areas.
“We are guarding the (appropriated) area, and if they start building, everyone here and from the surrounding villages will join the protest – because we don’t want this,” Stefanos Apostolou, a protest organizer and municipal council member from the town of Mandamados on Lesvos, told The Associated Press.
The Greek government had said that it will indeed resume the construction work for the building of the new camps, which aim to ease the burden currently borne by several other existing centers.
However, the protesters believe that the new camps will not replace the old ones but rather will simply create the conditions for thousands of more migrants to consider permanently coming to stay on their islands.