Refugees in Lesbos take to the streets as temperatures drop below freezing

Moria refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos
Tom Anderson

Temperatures have reportedly fallen below zero on the Greek island of Lesbos, where thousands of refugees are living in tents in the EU-funded Moria detention camp.

Journalist Franziska Grillmeier tweeted:


Grillmeier shared a quote from a young Afghan resident of the camp:

Open air prison

The Canary reported in 2019:

Access to the Greek mainland has been tightly controlled since the 2016 EU-Turkey deal. This has transformed the Aegean islands into what is effectively an open air prison for refugees…The majority live in overcrowded and dangerous conditions in Moria.

4,106 refugees arrived in Greece during January 2020. The majority of them have travelled to the Aegean islands.

‘No-one takes responsibility’

Grillmeier places the responsibility for the suffering in Moria on the EU’s migration policies. She continued:

Refugees take to the streets

Refugees trapped on Lesbos have been forcefully resisting the conditions in the camp, and are demanding to be transferred to the mainland.

On 30 January, hundreds of women demonstrated against conditions in Moria. According to Are you Syrious:

Around 300 women participated in a protest against the conditions of the Moria Refugee camp on Thursday. In the town centre, signs reading “Moria is Hell” flew in the air as women chanted and asked, “Aren’t we human too?”

On 3 February, a procession of refugees attempted to March from Moria to the town of Mytilene. They were stopped on the road by the police wielding batons and not allowed to go any further. Police responded to the protest with extreme violence and tear gas.

Demonstrators and observers responded angrily on Twitter:

The situation on Lesbos is deadly, and Grillmeier claims the conditions have been directly caused by the EU’s containment policies. It’s as important as ever to stand up for people attempting to take refuge in Europe, and to oppose the system which is killing them.

Featured image via Wikimedia  – Cathsign

Get involved

  • Follow Are You Syrious to keep up to date with the situation in Lesbos.
  • Find out about volunteering on Lesbos.
  • Read about the situation for refugees on the neighbouring island of Chios.

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