The migrant crisis on the Greek island of Kos is pushing people to their limits.
Fights broke out during a registration procedure as more than 1,000 migrants gathered in a long, crowded queue outside a local football stadium.
Migrants demanding quick registration blocked the main coastal road staging a sit-in and chanting “We want papers. We want to eat!”
Police reportedly used fire extinguishers and batons to control the crowd. It comes amid heightened scrutiny of security forces after a policeman was suspended on Monday for ‘abusing a migrant’.
DDaltonBennett</a> 's video Policeman w/ knife hitting, shoving migrants on Kos <a href="http://t.co/SGFOnjGo6h">http://t.co/SGFOnjGo6h</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Greece?src=hash">#Greece</a> <a href="http://t.co/G1zhukMAqW">pic.twitter.com/G1zhukMAqW</a></p>— Derek Gatopoulos (dgatopoulos) August 10, 2015
Greece is struggling to cope with the increase of migrant arrivals. Some 124,000 people arrived so far this year mostly on the eastern islands closest to Turkey. Authorities are unable to keep pace. On Friday the UN refugee agency warned the country to take control of what it called the ‘total chaos’ on the Mediterranean islands.
No excuse for refugees going hungry on Kos. Local authorities and/or Athens could set up field kitchens in a day if they wanted to— Teacher Dude (@teacherdude) August 11, 2015
Many of those arriving in rubber dinghies are fleeing conflicts in the Middle East and Africa. Risking their lives and handing over their savings to people smugglers they are then left stranded on Europe’s mediterranean coastline.
In Kos, one migrant said that it cost him 100 euros per day to stay in a hotel.
A Syrian woman appealed, “I don’t have money, please, help me. I want to go, I don’t want to stay in Greece, I want to go to Europe. I am Syrian. Syrians (have) bigger problems!”
The Mayor of Kos called for immediate assistance, warning that blood will be shed and the situation will get out of hand.
On Monday the EU promised 2.4 billion euros in aid to deal with the migrant crisis. Greece is to receive 473 million.