Migrants Riot – Burn Down Their Camp in Greece

Thousands of people fled a migrant camp on the Greek island of Lesbos on Monday night after fire swept through tents and housing cabins during violence among residents, police said.

The fire was over by mid-day on Tuesday at the Moria camp which houses the 5,700 migrants on the island and many people had returned, though children had been transferred to other facilities, police said.

No casualties were reported from the fire and its cause was not clear.

Refugees and migrants on Lesbos are there by a European Union deal with Turkey preventing them going beyond the island until their asylum claims have been processed. Those who do not qualify will be deported to Turkey.

Tensions have boiled over at overcrowded camps on Greece’s islands as the processing of asylum requests adds to frustration.

Greek media said the clashes on Monday erupted among residents following a rumor that hundreds of people would be deported.

Roland Schoenbauer, UNHCR’s spokesman in Greece, said people were “sick of waiting” in the camps. “They don’t know when their asylum claims will be processed. Some people feel they don’t have enough information,” he said.

Migrants stand among the remains of a burned tent at the Moria migrant camp, after a fire that ripped through tents and destroyed containers during violence among residents, on the island of Lesbos, Greece, September 20, 2016. REUTERS/Giorgos MoutafisA police official in Athens said two riot police squads had been deployed to the island.

Nearly 60 percent of the Moria camp, including tents and metal-roofed cabins, had been destroyed by the fire, a police official said. Work was underway on Tuesday to set up new tents, Police Minister Nikos Toskas said.

At least nine people were arrested on accusations of damaging property and causing unrest and were expected to appear before a prosecutor, a police official in Athens said.

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