Greece plans to build two new temporary camps to house hundreds of additional asylum seekers who arrived after a surge enabled by Turkey, the migration minister said Saturday.
‘We want to build two closed centres in (the northern region of) Serres and the greater Athens area with 1,000 places,’ migration minister Notis Mitarachi told Skai TV.
‘We need the backing of local communities. We cannot leave all (these) people on the islands,’ he said.
Mitarachi said the camps would host asylum seekers who arrived after March 1, when Turkey announced it would no longer prevent people from trying to cross into the European Union.
Residents of a Serres town rumoured to host one of the camps staged protests earlier this week and local officials declared their opposition to the plan.
Over 1,700 migrants have landed on Lesbos and four other Aegean islands from Turkey over the past week, adding to the 38,000 already crammed into abysmal and overstretched refugee centres.
The new surge has ramped up already high tensions on an island that has been on the migration frontline for years.
Frustration exploded into violence last weekend with mobs setting up roadblocks, attacking cars carrying NGO workers and beating journalists.
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