Tension rises in Greek Island of Kos

Police beat migrants on the Greek Island of Kos as the mayor warned that the crisis could end in "bloodshed"

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Refugees mostly from Afghanistan and Syria encountered with police on Tuesday during a registration process in a soccer stadium on the Greek island of Kos.   


The clashes erupted due to hundreds of migrants who were being relocated to a football stadium after camping roads and beaches for weeks of the island felt suffocated to wait in a long crowded queue to receive their immigrant papers.


The migrants blocked one of  the main road of the island staging a sit-in and chanting “We want papers. We want to eat!”


They were beaten by sticks and sprayed with fire extinguishers to keep them away from the roads and beaches and holding them in the Kos town’s football stadium.


The mayor of the Island, Giorgos Kiritsis told the Greek news agency ANA that there was a "risk of bloodshed if the situation degenerates further" as 7,000 migrants have flew on an island that has only 30,000 residents.


The country is struggling to deal with the rising humanitarian crisis as this year score of migrants have arrived the country’s shore. Between January and the end of July, about 124,000 new migrant arrived the Lesbos, Chios, Kos, Samos and Leros islands of the country, according to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).  


UNHCR says that many of them are fleeing their countries and traveling through Turkey as they hope to get away from the war in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, while risking their lives and handing over their savings to smugglers to reach European coasts.


One of them, a Syrian woman complained about her situation in the island saying that she spend 100 euros as an accommodation cost per day.


“I don’t have money, please, help me. I want to go, I don’t want to stay in Greece, I want to go to Europe. I am Syrian. Syrians (have) bigger problems!” she added.


According to UNHCR they urgently need medical and material assistance due to they arrived the island with little or nothing. They are also struggling to access to adequate sanitary facilities or medical care without holding their legal papers on their hands.


Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called for EU assistant last week, saying that the migrant issue "surpasses" his crisis-hit nation's resources.

Following his statements, European Union promised on Monday a $2.6 billion aid package to cope with the humanitarian crisis all around the world, including minimum $520 million for Greece.

TRTWorld and agencies