Samos Businesses, Groups Will Strike, Demand Refugee Center Shut Down

Τhe refugee camp on the Greek island of Samos. (Photo by ND's Press Office/Dimitris Papamitsos via Eurokinissi)

Ignored by the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA as a refugee center on their island meant to house 650 people is overflowing with more than 3,685, businesses on Samos planned to strike on Feb. 7 in a protest aimed at persuading the facility be shut.

The businesses and other organizations want the refugees and migrants who were sent to the island by human traffickers in Turkey, the first destination as they fled war and strife in the Middle East and elsewhere, moved to the mainland.

There are more than 15,000 on Aegean islands, including Lesbos and Chios and others and some have been transferred but the government said it can’t do mass movements without violating terms of a suspended European Union swap deal that has seen only a relative handful returned to Turkey and most others seeking asylum.

Fearing being sent back to Turkey or their own countries, especially the Civil War struck Syria, most are seeking asylum in Greece after the European Union closed its borders to them and reneged on promises to help take some of the overload.

Human rights groups and activists have repeatedly said the detention centers and camps aren’t suitable for people to live in and on Samos, municipal officials and residents have Dozens of camp residents took part in peaceful protest rallies in recent months calling for better shelters – most are staying in summer tents – sanitation and safety, but mainly to be transferred to the mainland.  A protest is being planned on Lesbos over the Moria camp that the BBC called “the worst in the world,” after Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said he was “proud” of the conditions in the centers and that other countries were crying “crocodile tears” over the refugees and migrants plight without helping them.

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