The residents of Lesvos, Samos and Chios islands in Greece are observing a complete shutdown on February 27, Thursday, in opposition to the government’s move to build more detention centers for refugees and asylum seekers. The people are also protesting the brutal repression of the protests held a day before, in which hundreds were injured.
On February 26, the people of Lesvos obstructed work on the construction of a new detention center on the island. These protesters were attacked by the MATS (the Units for the Reinstatement of Order), a special unit of the Greece police for riot control.
Following the crackdown, Northern Aegean regional governor Kostas Moutzouris announced Thursday’s strike. In Lesvos, the Palbesion workers’ center also announced a 24-hour strike.
The conservative New Democracy government in Greece plans to build new detention centers for refugees and expand the capacity of existing ones as per the Turkey-EU deal of 2015. According to the government, the existing camps for the refugees are overpopulated. For instance, the Moria camp in Lesvos has a refugee population of around 20,000 against its capacity of just below 3,000.
The government claims that the expansion of the detention centers is necessary to improve the living conditions of the detainees.
All Workers Militant Front or PAME issued a statement yesterday, denouncing the government’s adherence to the Turkey-EU agreements, according to which, Greece has to prevent the flow of refugees from moving towards Europe and must deport most of them.
PAME’s statement says that the deal “has not only not improved the situation, but has made it even more unbearable, both for the migrant refugees and for the islanders.” The statement also denounced the wars waged by the US and NATO forces in the region as the main reason for the current refugee problem.
The government of Greece plans to reduce the inflow of the refugees by building a “floating fence” to deter migrants from north Africa and west Asia from crossing the sea.
Most of the migrants are refugees or asylum seekers rendered homeless due to wars in Syria and other parts of west Asia and north Africa.