Fights Among Migrants Break out on Greek Island of Kos

Yorgos Karahalis, My Way, August 11, 2015

Fights broke out among migrants Tuesday on the Greek island of Kos, where overwhelmed authorities are struggling to contain increasing numbers of people arriving clandestinely on rubber dinghies from the nearby Turkish shore.

Hundreds of protesting migrants demanding quick registration began blocking the main coastal road in the island’s main town, staging a sit-in.

“We want papers, we want to eat!” they chanted.

Hundreds of people arrive on Greece’s eastern Aegean islands daily, many after fleeing conflict in Syria and Afghanistan. Authorities, locals and charity groups are struggling to provide registration, food and shelter to the new arrivals, many of whom are children.

Many of those on Kos, a popular tourist destination, had been camping in the main town’s parks and squares.

An attempt to have them relocated to a stadium for registration degenerated, with fights breaking out among some of the roughly 1,500 people gathered in a long, crowded queue in the stadium.

Police, who had a force of just a handful of officers to maintain control and carry out the registration, tried to impose order on the crowd by spraying the jostling migrants with fire extinguishers and using batons. Hundreds fled in panic.

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