Greek police abandoned plans to settle around 400 migrants in hotels on the seaside village of Vrasna in Macedonia, due to large protests by locals.
Buses carrying the migrants arrived in the area on Tuesday afternoon with the majority from Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan. They were being transferred from the hotspot island of Samos, which currently has an overcrowded camp.
The locals who had been notified of the migrants making their way, blocked the buses with barricades and didn’t back down when police arrived to try and move them.
“We warned authorities not to bring more people here because local residents are angry. They didn’t listen to us,” Volvi mayor Diamantis Liamas told local media.
“There was tension early on and eventually when the buses arrived, the hotels were closed.”
When the buses took a different route and made their way to the hotels, the owners of the accommodations said they would not take the migrants inside.
The buses left and were told by authorities to make their way to the island of Evia, which is around an 8-hour drive from Volvi.
Volvi already has around 500 migrants and the wider municipality is already home to 2,000 refugees and migrants.
Locals told Skai’s morning program ‘Simera’ that they are not racist but they do not believe that taking migrants from Greek islands and relocating them to their seaside town, which relies on tourism, is the solution to a huge problem that the country is currently encountering.
“We did not throw any rocks or act violently we simply blocked the road. We are happy to embrace refugees who are in desperate need but most of these people being brought here are not refugees they are illegal migrants and we have had issues with many migrants in our town with violence and thefts. As a local community who relies on tourism to live, we can not have this happen,” said a local lady from Volvi who took part in the protest.
Source: Greek City Times