1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Clashes between police and refugees in Greece

August 11, 2015

Police officers have hit refugees with truncheons on the Greek island of Kos. They claim to have taken the action to prevent a stampede while moving hundreds of migrants from makeshift camps to a soccer stadium.

Image: Getty Images/AFP/A. Tzortzinis

Violence broke out between police officers and asylum seekers on the Greek island of Kos on Tuesday as the mayor warned that the crisis could end in "bloodshed." The mostly Afghan and Syrian refugees were beaten with clubs and sprayed with fire extinguishers and overwhelmed police tried to move them to the Kos town soccer stadium, away from the camp sites along roads and beaches where they have been living for weeks.

Police said force was used to prevent a stampede as the crowd tried to squeeze through the small stadium doors just one day after Greece's handling of the influx of refugees was criticized by the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR, which called it "totally shameful."

Once calm returned, the police continued to usher the crowds of people, at least one of whom had already fainted from heatstroke, into the stadium. Witnesses said that police in riot gear stood by while migrants set up tents in the stadium.

Stretching limited resources

Kos mayor Giorgos Kiritsis told Greek news agency ANA that there was a "risk of bloodshed if the situation degenerates further" as 7,000 migrants have arrived on an island that has only a population of 30,000. On Monday, a Kos officer was suspended after video surfaced of him slapping and shoving refugees standing in line outside the police station, waiting to be documented so that they could travel on to Athens.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has called on the help of the European Union to address the issue of the around 124,000 who have landed in his cash-strapped nation since the beginning of the ear, saying the needs of the situation far surpass Greece's resources.

es/rc (dpa, Reuters)

Skip next section Explore more
Skip next section DW's Top Story

DW's Top Story

A wide shot of the three-train accident in Odisha, India on June 3, 2023
Skip next section More stories from DW
Go to homepage