Greek islands of Lesbos and Chios face violent scenes of resistance to construction of refugee camps. There was massive protest from both refugees and residents. In response to the course of events, the local unions asked all workers to stand against government plans criticising it as a “prison for human souls” and called to participate in a general strike. Heinz Bierbaum, the president of European Left, comments:
“Due to the very unfortunate EU-Turkey deal, the Aegean islands have become the first place for many arriving refugees. The comparatively small country, which is still in crisis, cannot cope with this catastrophe alone. More than 42,000 of them currently live in unsustainable conditions in camps that are designed for 8000. The conditions in reception facilities are scandalous. Instead of helping people and at least to distribute them de-central in the country, the Greek government reacted extremely authoritarian. The violate attack of riot police against the peaceful protesters must be clearly condemned. Certainly, Greece cannot and shouldn’t carry this responsibility alone. The EU needs to step up in solidarity.
The European Left calls for urgent de-escalation and a sustainable solution. We demand a removal of the Dublin Regulations and the establishment of legal and safe humanitarian corridors. We need a European solution which includes all EU Member States. We call upon Greek authorities for starting a peaceful dialogue with the residents and refugees. The islands must no longer serve as a reception camp, where refugees are housed indefinitely under terrifying conditions. The European Left condemns the inhuman policies in relation to migrants. We propose reception policies for asylum seekers and refugees that are respectful of human rights and take into account the right to mobility and freedom of movement as everybody’s right!”