Police fire tear gas at migrants in Greece

Ile de Lesbos (Grèce) (AFP) –


Police fired tear gas at protesting migants on Monday on Lesbos, a Greek island on the frontline of the migrant crisis, an AFP photographer said.

Sordid conditions in the camp of Moria, one of the most overpopulated in Europe, triggered the latest clashes, with angry migrants demanding to be released.

Clashes also erupted at Kastanies, on the Greek-Turkish border, according to footage from the Greek government.

More people have been trying to get to Greece since Turkey on Friday said it would open the gates for refugees wanting to travel to Europe, as a way of pressuring the West to intervene in the Syrian conflict, where many refugees come from.

About 10,000 migrants were blocked from entering Greece at the weekend.

At Moria, police fired tear gas at demonstrators, some of whom hurled back projectiles, the photographer reported.

Built to house 2,840 people, the population of the camp is now more than 19,000.

"We are not prisoners" read one sign held by a protester, while another summed up the general feeling about the camp with "No good Moria".

Greece has declared a state of "maximum" alert to protect its borders and has suspended asylum applications by those who entered the country illegally.

The UNHCR said Monday that Greece had no legal justification for suspending asylum procedures.

Greek asylum official Manos Logothetis said there has been "a substantial increase" in the number of arrivals on Aegean islands.

"We have gone from an average of 200-300 last week to 500-800 in recent days."

Over a 24-hour period from Sunday morning to Monday morning, around 1,300 people landed on Lesbos, Chios, Leros, Kos and Samos, the five islands that have centres to register asylum seekers, he said.