Greece to speed up creation of migrant holding centers


The Greek government plans to accelerate the creation of detention centers on its outlying islands in the Aegean Sea after a backlash against overcrowded camps by some migrants and nearby residents.

Authorities in Athens said on Monday they would proceed with the purchase of land on the islands of Lesbos, Chios and Samos, and press ahead with plans to create holding facilities on state-owned land on Kos and Leros.

“The government has decided to close today’s anarchic facilities and create controlled, closed facilities,” spokesman Stelios Petsas said. The conservative New Democracy cabinet, elected last July, has taken a tougher stance on migration than Syriza, the leftist party that led the previous government.

Thousands of migrants are waiting on the islands for their asylum applications to be processed, most of them in overcrowded camps known as reception centers. Migrants on the island of Lesbos protested last week against poor living conditions and residents of the island took to the streets demanding the reception facilities close, Reuters reported.