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Dozen refugees injured in attack by Greek far-right group

A dozen refugees have been injured in an attack by members of a far-right group in the Greek island of Lesbos.

Reports on Monday showed that refugees came under attack overnight by members of the radical Patriotic Movement in the island's main city of Mytilene.

The attack came days after some 200 Afghan refugees staged a protest in Mytilene’s main square, demanding that authorities pay attention to their squalid living conditions in refugee camps.

Far-right attackers chanted slogans against refugees like “burn them alive” and “throw them in the sea.” They also threw stones, bottles and flares at the asylum seekers.

The tension intensified after members of a leftist group came to the help of the refugees and clashes continued until midnight when police used tear gas to disperse the crowd and evacuate the square. Police also forced Afghan refugees to return to their camps, reports said.

Smoke rises as riot police officers stand guard separating protesting groups of locals and refugees demonstrating against conditions in Moria camp and delays in asylum applications, in the city of Mytilene on the island of Lesbos, Greece, April 22, 2018. (Photo by Reuters)

Those injured in the attack were taken to hospital. Police said most of them were Afghan refugees who suffered light injuries.

Local authorities said the clashes erupted mainly because of police inaction. They said the attack on refugees took place in the presence of police officers.

Spyros Galinos, who serves as mayor of Lesbos, sent a letter to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and other opposition leaders, saying police intervened too late.

In this photo taken on April 22, 2018, refugees link arms to protect their families as riot police, in the background, try to keep local protesters away at the port of Mytilene, Greece. (Photo by AP)

In his letter, Galinos also accused the government of neglecting the refugees in Lesbos, saying its “inertia and wrong handling” of the refugee crisis had “stranded thousands of people in miserable conditions in a city of 27,000.”

Lesbos is home to some 6,500 refugees although its camps can only handle 3,000.

 Tsipras is due to visit the island to assess the situation.

Along with Italy, Greece has been a main entrance point for hundreds of thousands of refugees who have sought to cross into Europe from countries in the Middle East and Africa over the past years.


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