Refugee crisis in Greece: Tensions soar between migrants and locals

The European refugee crisis is now five years old. More than 120,000 migrants and asylum seekers arrived clandestinely in 2019, according to the International Organization for Migration, with the vast majority crossing the Mediterranean Sea. That’s a big drop from the more than 1 million who arrived in 2015. Yet due to a backlog of cases and closed borders in the North, the Greek islands have never looked like this.

…A common complaint from locals is that a thriving NGO industry — no doubt helping refugees that come ashore — comes at the cost of their businesses as more are encouraged to make the journey.

A meeting was held the following day in Moria village to discuss the situation. Angry shouts and applause reached Takis Bokolis, 50, smoking a cigarette outside of the town hall. Bokolis works pressing oil from his family’s olives. What bothers him most is the refugees cutting down the trees for firewood. “I want to cry. It’s so painful. We’ve grown up with these trees. They are my kid’s food,” he said. Local authorities haven’t intervened as refugees thin out the groves around Moria camp.

..No islander has been attacked by anyone from the camp. But businesses and homes were robbed. And Moria villagers, heavily outnumbered, worry about what will happen if things turn violent.

Refugee crisis in Greece: Tensions soar between migrants and locals

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