Sep 13, 2020 - World

Greek police use tear gas on protesting refugees

A woman cleans her eyes with water after police threw tear gas during clashes near the city Mytilene on the Greek island of Lesbos, on September 12

A woman cleans her eyes with water after police used tear gas during clashes near the city Mytilene on the Greek island of Lesbos, on Saturday. Photo: Angelos Tzortzinis/AFP via Getty Images

Greek police on the island of Lesbos used tear gas Saturday on protesters left homeless after their overcrowded refugee camp was destroyed by fire earlier this week, per the BBC.

Why it matters: The island's new Kara Tepe camp can accommodate 3,000 people, with priority given to "vulnerable groups," Ekathimerini.com reports. It's unclear what will happen to the other 8,500 people. Rights groups and local health officials say the displaced people have no access to sanitation.

  • The overcrowded Moria refugee camp that was razed Wednesday was placed under quarantine after confirming its first COVID-19 case earlier this month.
  • Permanent residents opposed to a new camp on the island have been "blocking roads to stop aid deliveries," the BBC notes.

The big picture: The 2,000-capacity Moria camp was the largest in Greece, housing over 12,000 people fleeing war from countries including Syria and Iraq.

  • Many of the refugees want to leave Lesbos, per Reuters.

What they're saying: "This is a health bomb," Matina Pagoni, president of Athens and Piraeus hospital doctors' union, told Skai television. "These people haven’t even had access to water all these days, they cannot even wash their hands."

Go deeper