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Displaced migrants on Lesbos island protest in wake of fire at Moria camp

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Displaced migrants on Lesbos island protest in wake of fire at Moria camp
Copyright  Apostolos Staikos, euronews Athens
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At least three men were arrested on Saturday (September 12) following protests by migrants displaced by the destruction of the Moria refugee camp on Lesbos in fires earlier this week, according to AP.

A few women fainted due to tear gas used to disperse those who joined the protest and one man was evacuated by ambulance after collapsing while having a seizure, the news agency added.

Earlier, thousands had gathered for a demonstration demanding to be allowed to leave the Greek island, gathering on a road blocked by police buses.

The rally was loud but peaceful, with mainly children and women in attendance.

A few of the demonstrators wore masks in the tightly packed crowd of people who recently had lived in the camp, which had dozens of confirmed coronavirus cases before it burned down on Tuesday and Wednesday night.

With the camp gutted, men, women and children have been sleeping under improvised shelters made of reed stalks, blankets and salvaged tents.

More than 100 people moved into a new camp built with UNHCR tents after being tested for COVID-19.

Over 12,000 people were left homeless after the fires ripped through the camp.

Officials say the blazes were deliberately started by camp residents who were angry at quarantine orders imposed after 35 people in Moria tested positive for COVID-19.

The Moria camp was built to house around 2,750 people, but overcrowding led to more than 12,500 people living there.

It has been held up by critics as a symbol of the European Union's migration policy failings.

The new camp has a capacity of around 3,000, although authorities have said they will provide housing for all those left homeless. Plans to use a ferry as temporary accommodation for migrants have been stymied after local officials demanded to know how long the ship would be used for.

Authorities say none of the camp's residents — except for 406 unaccompanied minors — will be allowed to leave Lesbos. The teens and children were flown to the Greek mainland on Wednesday, and several European countries will take some of them in.

Other countries have pledged assistance for a new camp to be built on Lesbos — a development that neither local residents nor the migrants want.