Greece: Protest by migrants against imprisonment on Greek islands attacked by far-right

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Protest by migrants against imprisonment on Greek islands attacked by far-right
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"Police forced dozens of migrants, most Afghan asylum-seekers, who had been camped out on the main square of Lesvos island’s capital since last week, onto buses and transported them to the Moria camp in the early hours of Monday after downtown Mytilini turned into a battleground on Sunday.

The operation was intended to end clashes that raged all night in the center of the eastern Aegean island’s capital after a group of some 200 men chanting far-right slogans attacked the migrants who had been squatting on the square since last Wednesday in protest at their detention in Moria camp and delays in asylum processing."

See: Far-right hooligans attack migrants on Lesvos, turn town into battleground (ekathimerini, link)

At least 10 people were hospitalised and over 100 detained following the attack on the demonstration according to another ekathimerini article, without providing further details.

The article notes that:

"The protest by asylum-seekers began after a high court ruled last week that migrants arriving on Greek islands from Turkey could travel to the Greek mainland while their asylum applications were being processed. The ruling does not have retroactive effect, meaning that migrants already there not be allowed to leave."

The decision of the court is examined here: Top Greek Court annuls island restriction for new asylum seekers (ECRE, link, emphasis added):

"On Tuesday, the Greek Council of State issued a decision annulling the Asylum Service Director Decision which imposed a geographical restriction on asylum seekers arriving on the islands of Lesvos, Rhodes, Chios, Samos, Leros and Kos after 20 March 2016.

The Council of State held that the practice of geographical restriction has resulted in unequal distribution of asylum seekers across Greece and put significant pressure on the islands compared to other regions, including negatively affecting their economy and public order. This comes against widely available evidence that the geographical restriction has led to people being accommodated for prolonged periods in overcrowded facilities, with insufficient food and water supply, poor sanitation and highly problematic security conditions. Additionally, the Council of State highlighted that the Decision of the Asylum Service Director does not set out legal grounds for the imposition of restrictions on asylum seekers’ freedom of movement, and deduced no serious reasons of public interest to justify the necessity of the restriction in accordance with Article 31(2) of the Refugee Convention.

However, taking into account the large number of asylum seekers on the islands, the court said the ruling is not retroactive, meaning it does not apply to people who arrived on the islands prior to the decision. The action to annul the decision was brought by the Greek Council for Refugees and was annulled by majority."

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