Not Quite 300: Small Group of Migrants Block Road at Thermopylae in Protest

Thermopylae, GREECE: The statue of King Leonidas of ancient Sparta stands over the battlefield of Thermopylae, some 170 kilometres north of Athens in central Greece, at sunrise 09 March 2007. The Battle of Thermopylae where 300 Spartans under Leonidas faced overwhelming Persian odds in 480 BCE is the topic of …

A group of migrants blocked a road near the famous “hot gates” of Thermopylae in Greece on Monday morning to protest living conditions at a nearby migrant camp.

The protest saw around 30 migrants, including several children, block the old national road near the area made famous by the 300 Spartans led by King Leonidas that defended the “hot gates” from the Persian Empire in 480 BC.

According to a report from Greek newspaper Proto Thema, the migrants had come from a nearby reception centre and were protesting living conditions and delayed relocation requests.

The migrants sat in the middle of the motorway, holding signs stating “we want out rights” and blocking traffic before police removed them.

While Greece has seen a substantial decline in migrant arrivals in recent months, largely due to the outbreak fo the Wuhan coronavirus, many reception facilities are still greatly overcrowded, particularly on the islands in the Aegean sea.

The Greek government has worked to transfer many migrants from the overcrowded islands to the mainland, but the move has been met with protests from residents.

Earlier this year, before the coronavirus outbreak, migrants on the island of Lesbos clashed with police after a demonstration became violent. The migrants had left the notorious Moria camp and travelled to the nearby city of Mytilene where they protested the government’s stricter immigration policy.

Tensions between locals and migrants on the Agean islands remain high, with several robberies by migrants reported in recent weeks, including that of a Greek Orthodox chapel in Chios last month.

Last week, a Greek man in Chios was arrested by police on hate crime charges after writing a post on Facebook demanding other residents act against migrants destroying local property, stating that the migrants were “wanted: alive or dead.”

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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