Far-Right Extremist Attacks On Greece’s Refugee Centers Worry Police

Residents of the Chios camp are afraid to return after the attack. (UN Photo)

The Greek Police (ELAS) unit is worried over attacks on refugee centers on islands especially because they came after anti-migrant incitements by Golden Dawn extremists.

Attacks on the Souda camp on Chios over the past few days involved assailants lobbing Molotov cocktails and stones, and coincided with a trip to the island by Golden Dawn lawmakers and Belgium’s far-right Vlaams Belang.

Local residents on Chios, as well as Samos and other islands where reception centers are overcrowded and tense, are pressing for migrants to be moved to the mainland but Migration Minister Yiannis Mouzalas said that won’t happen.

Some 60,000 refugees and migrants are stuck in Greece – including about 14,000 on islands – because a European Union swap deal with Turkey has been suspended over the overwhelming number of asylum applications Athens can’t handle.

Mouzalas said bringing them to the mainland would only encourage Turkey to unleash more especially with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan angry over delayed terms, including visa-free travel for Turkish citizens in the EU.

“It would mean the collapse of the EU-Turkey pact,” he told reporters last week. “The next day the islands would be engulfed by a new wave of migrants.”

Tensions are particularly high on Chios following upheaval at the camp there amid reports of provocation by far-right protesters, the newspaper Kathimerini said, and islanders who work at the centers are reluctant to return to work.

Mouzalas, meanwhile, has proposed the creation of a larger camp before the current one can close but the islanders don’t want either.