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Thursday, 24 June 2021

Greece: Rioting at migrant center as pandemic halts asylum process

AP , Tuesday 12 May 2020
FILE PHOTO: Migrants clash with police outside the Kara Tepe camp, Lesbos, Greece, February 3, 2020. (Photo: Reuters)

Police in northern Greece say migrants at a holding site near the country's border with Turkey have staged violent protests following weeks of delays in processing their asylum claims due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Authorities said the protests also involved unaccompanied minors at the closed facility which currently houses some 250 asylum seekers. No injuries were reported.

The asylum service's operations have been scaled back due to the pandemic restriction measures that have affected many public services.

Greek authorities are struggling to cope with a spike in migrant crossings from Turkey, at the land border and islands, that occurred before the lockdown.

Greece and Turkey were also involved in a standoff at the border for more than two weeks in late February and early March _ after Turkey's government announced it would no longer prevent migrants trying to reach the European Union. Greece used police and its armed forces with assistance from the EU border protection agency Frontex to stop thousands of migrants trying to force their way over the border.

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