Greek police fired tear gas at hundreds of children who protested in a packed migrant camp on the Greek island of Lesbos on Wednesday, the state news agency ANA reported.
Some 300 unaccompanied minors joined the protest at the overcrowded Moria camp, demanding to be transferred. The young migrants set fire to rubbish bins before being dispersed by teargas.
Some asylum seekers have already been transferred from Moria to a new camp on the Greek mainland, but many complained that their living conditions have only worsened.
“We left Moria hoping for something better,” said Sazan, a 20-year-old Afghan, referring to the main camp on Lesbos. “And in the end, it’s worse.”
Sazan is one of around 1,000 Afghans ferried in from Lesbos – where conditions have become increasingly unsanitary and unsafe – to the mainland. After six months of what he described as “hell” in Moria, Sazan said he had hoped for better.
But at the Nea Kavala camp near the major northern port city of Thessaloniki, new arrivals complain of lack of access to basics such as water and electricity, he said.
Staff at the camp are struggling to find enough tents and to put basic facilities in place.
There were currently only 200 tents for 1,000 people, a source at the citizen protection ministry told AFP. Other migrants ferried off Lesbos would be transferred to other camps, the source said.
The ministry had taken over responsiblity for migrants after new conservative Prime Minister Kyriakos Mistotakis did away with the migration policy ministry after taking office in July.
But a summer surge in arrivals took the government by surprise, as migrants made the crossing to the Greek islands that sit in the Aegean Sea just miles from the Turkish mainland.
The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said the island of Lesbos was sheltering nearly 11,000 people at the end of August – four times the capacity of its camps.