Lesbos Refugee Center Leader Said Hunger Strike Symbolic

June 29, 2018

The leader of the Moria refugee and migrant detention center on the Aegean island of Lesbos, where more than 8000 are living in conditions human rights groups said aren’t fit for humans, called off a hunger strike in protest even though he wasn’t offered any concessions.

Nikos Trakellis called off his protest following talks with Deputy Migration Minister Yiannis Balafas, who didn’t make any further offers of help, said Kathimerini.

Trakellis then said his three-day hunger strike was symbolic and designed to draw attention to the plight of the refugees and migrants, some stuck in the center for two years awaiting decisions on asylum applications and where there have been violent outbursts and clashes with riot police.

“I protested on my own in order to maintain the balance and dignity of my community,” he said. “Everyone is entitled to take to the streets but you never know when things will get out of hand,” he added.
Earlier, the ministry said it was making plans to create new facilities on the mainland, where more than 50,000 are being held, to transfer even more even though the government had said it wouldn’t do that because it would violate a suspended European Union swap deal with Turkey.

Trakellis earlier said he was “not satisfied” with the pledges of Migration Ministry General Secretary Andreas Gougoulis. “I want solutions, not promises,” he said, noting that there have been many pledges over the past three years but no action, reported Kathimerini.

Gougoulis said efforts were being made to create facilities on the mainland so people can be transferred there, part of the same promises made repeatedly with almost nothing done to help and as violence has broken out sporadically over frustration.


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