More clashes on Lesbos, as number of migrants reaches 20 000

There have been more clashes between migrants and police on the island of Lesbos, as they sought to board a ferry for the Greek mainland. The ferry has since arrived in Greece’s main port of Piraeus.

Police armed with batons struggled to control a crowd of thousands of migrants surging forward in an attempt to board the ferry that had been charted by the government to help relieve some of thepressure on the Greek island.

The Eleftherios Venizelos has a capacity of 2,500, but the DPA news agency reported that more than double that number had tried to board the vessel. The ferry was eventually able to set off and arrived at the mainland just before noon on Tuesday. Another ferry was reported to be on its way to Lesbos to pick up more migrants.

Lesbos, which has a population of around 85,000 people, has been struggling to cope with an influx of thousands of migrants from conflict zones such as Syria and Iraq in recent weeks. The United Nations refugee agency, the UNHCR, on Tuesday put the number of refugees on the Aegean island at 20,000.

On Monday, Greece’s interim migration minister, Yannis Mouzalas, said the island was currently hosting 15,000 to 18,000 migrants – three to four times more than it could cope with.

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(Photo: Χρήστης Templar52)