Asylum seekers on trial in Greece over camp protest
Lesbos Island (Greece) (AFP)
More than 100 asylum seekers went on trial on the Greek island of Lesbos on Thursday after protesting against over-crowded camp conditions, an AFP reporter said.
The mainly Afghan asylum seekers stand accused of occupying a central square on the island in April 2018.
Along with women and children, they staged a sit-in that was swiftly attacked by far-right militants who threw stones and flares, with riot police deployed to keep the two sides apart.
"We didn't do anything. We were attacked by some extreme people. We are innocent," one of the defendants, Afghan refugee Hadisse Hosseini told AFP outside the courthouse.
Among the attackers, 26 have been provisionally identified by police. Their trial date has not yet been set.
Over 70,000 refugees and migrants have been stranded in Greece following a mass influx from 2015 onwards. Most were fleeing war-torn Syria and want to go to wealthier EU states such as Germany.
Of these, some 15,000 are housed in badly overcrowded camps on Greek islands where living conditions have been repeatedly criticised by rights groups.
Conditions are worst on the islands of Lesbos and Samos, where over 10,000 people live in camps built to handle a third of that number.
At around 7,000, refugees and migrants on Lesbos currently outnumber the local population by 2.5 to one.
? 2019 AFP