Several pro-migration NGOs will be suspending their activities on the Greek island of Lesbos after attacks from locals they have deemed to be far-right extremists.
One of those halting operations is Douglas Herman, the co-founder of the NGO Refocus, who said that many of the organisations on Lesbos have told volunteers and staff to leave the island due to safety concerns after a rising number of attacks by locals.
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According to Herman, who told his six employees to leave Lesbos, the attacks on NGO workers have been from “fascist gangs” who he said had set up roadblocks across the island and threatened NGO workers and volunteers, Die Zeit reports.
The NGO vessel Mare Liberum, which claims to monitor the activities of authorities off the Greek coast for potential human rights violations, say they were also attacked by “fascists” on Monday evening.
“Our crew was attacked by a mob of fascists while the Mare Liberum was docked in Skala Loutron, Lesvos [Lesbos]. They shouted, threatened us & poured gasoline on our deck! Our crew saw themselves forced to leave & is now anchoring offshore. We’ll stay & continue monitoring!” the group said on Twitter.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has also claimed that there have been several attacks on journalists operating on Lesbos, as well.
The alleged attacks from the island locals came after several riots against the building of new migrant camps to house the migrants already on the island due to the massive overcrowding of the current migrant reception centres on the island.
Anger among locals has been noted for years, with Moria community leader Nikos Trakellis stating in 2018 that locals could seek to take the law into their own hands due to the rising tensions on the island.
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Tensions have only escalated after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government ordered the opening of the border to Europe for any and all migrants in Turkey, leading to some estimates of 100,000 or more migrants heading for the Greek border since last week.
Others have accused the Turkish government of shipping migrants to the border area with buses and state-owned trains.