Authorities and residents of the Greek islands of Samos, Lesbos, and Chios Wednesday held a general strike demanding Greece's Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to implement real solutions to the overcrowding in refugee camps.
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"There should be no more deposits of suffering souls in northern Aegean," regional governor Costas Moutzouris said.
Protesters demand that migrants be transferred to the mainland and that refugees be allowed to leave the country.
"Our islands can no longer be prisons. We also live imprisoned together with migrants and refugees," citizen Stratis Ververis said and added that "the migration problem must be addressed immediately."
Since 2015, Greece has become the main gateway to the European Union for more than one million migrants.
In 2019, about 80 percent of 59,726 immigrants and refugees who arrived on Greek coasts remain in Lesbos, Chios or Samos.
At least 36,000 people are crowded into camps with poor sanitary conditions. For example, at the Moria camp, which can house 3,000 people, over 15,000 migrants remain locked up.
"The situation is really bad. There is no water, no electricity, the weather is really cold. We cannot sleep in the tent to brave the cold," said an unidentified migrant.
In July 2019, the Mitsotakis administration announced that it would replace refugee camps with detention centers.