Greek PM Faces Protests Over Migrant Numbers, Tax Hike in Lesvos

Lesvos is beefing up security for the visit of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and a host of ministers who will participate in regional conference on the Aegean island on Wednesday and Thursday.

Seventeen squads of riot police are travelling from Athens as local organizations are planning rallies against the government’s policies on migration and VAT hikes.

At a news conference, organizers said the protests surrounding Tsipras’ visit are the “last effort to pressure the government not to increase VAT on islands from July 1”.

Shops and local government offices are expected to close down in protest on Thursday, during Tsiras’s speech at the conference.

The Greek premier’s visit comes amid a fresh spike in migrant arrivals from Turkey.

In April, dozens of migrants were injured after far-right extremists attacked a group of 200 migrants and asylum seekers who had camped out in the main square of Lesvos’ capital, Mytilini.

The local authority warns that similar incidents may occur again as tensions are hotting up in the island which is at the forefront of the migrant crisis in Greece.

Refugees and migrants who arrived on Greek islands after the March 2016 deal between Turkey and the European Union are barred from travelling to mainland Greece unless they obtain permission from the authorities.

Although a Greek court ruled last month that new arrivals will be allowed to move on to the mainland, those who arrived during that two-year period are still confined to the islands.

Read More on: Greek PM Faces Protests Over Migrant Numbers, Tax Hike in Lesvos

Tasos Kokkinidis

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