ATHENS – Main opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras on Wednesday called for the withdrawal of riot police from the northern Aegean islands and the “suspension of work for the construction of prisons” – as he called the new closed migrant facilities planned by the government. He accused Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis of “making dead-end choices” of authoritarianism and violence.
Tsipras said he was ready to back the implementation of a national plan for managing the refugee and migration crisis.
“After seven months of palinodes and successive changes in coordinators for the management of the refugee crisis, the government continues to proceed with no strategy but an excess of authoritarianism,” Tsipras said, adding that the “its obsessions and inefficiency in handling the crisis have turned the islands of northern Aegean into a permanent parking place for souls.”
He accused Mitsotakis of forgetting his pre-election promises and refusing to proceed with the decongestion of the islands and the relocation of vulnerable asylum-seekers to mainland Greece. “He’s allowing our islands to go under because he does not want to clash with the regional governors and mayors backed by his party in Greece, who refuse to undertake any responsibility”.
“The facilities he wants to impose through the violence of riot police, right next to the existing and overcrowded structures on the islands, will not solve the problem. On the contrary, they will make a dire situation worse for both the islanders and the asylum seekers,” Tsipras said. He urged Mitsotakis to change his mind, even at the last moment, revoke the relevant Act of Legislative Content and withdraw immediately riot police forces from the islands, suspending work for the construction of the new facilities.
“If Mitsotakis insists on these dead-end and authoritarian choices, we cannot but be opposed to the government and at the side of our compatriots on the islands that rightly worry and resist. Because you can’t ask for solidarity and support from the EU member-states and behave without solidarity and support for the Greek islands,” concluded Tsipras.