More migrants for Greek after scuffles with police on island
A ship ferried 2,490 migrants to the port of Piraeus from the Greek island of Lesbos on Saturday, a day after violent scuffles between migrants and policemen took place at Lesbos’s port.
The Eleftherios Venizelos is one of two ships chartered by the Greek government in an effort to ease mounting pressure on local infrastructure from the migrant influx on the islands near the Turkish coast.
Migrants disembarking at Piraeus port said they were shaken after witnessing about 200 migrants throwing stones at police after they were not allowed to board a passenger ferry, and then police retaliating with tear gas.
“There was so bad treatment from them (eds note: refers to police) and the policemen were hitting the people and screaming and shooting them. Yeah, and finally we’re here,” said 17-year old Susan, from Damascus, Syria.
Migrants in Lesbos, where 50 percent of all migrants entering Greece land according the Greek government, have faced difficult conditions, ranging from a shortage in supplies to enduring long queues for registration and ticket purchase.
Motez, a migrant from Iraq, said he experienced hostile treatment by some people on Lesbos.
“It’s very, very difficult to have, I have six days in Mytilene. Every day I go to the line from three a.m. to eight p.m. I have nothing, just the police kick us, they beat on people. Not most Yunan (eds note: refers to Greek) people, but there is some of Yunan people that treat us not good. They tell us very bad words,” said Motez, a business administration graduate from Baghdad, who finally managed to acquire the 50-euro ticket on Friday.
Greece has seen a surge in the number of refugees arriving by rubber dinghies from neighbouring Turkey, with aid agencies estimating about 2,000 crossing over daily this month. Most hail from conflict-ridden places such as Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.
According to the Greek coast guard, about 13,370 migrants and refugees had been ferried from the eastern islands to Athens since Monday. Most make their way north to the border with Macedonia and from there to central and western Europe.
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