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Greek riot cops evict refugees from Lesbos's only decent camp

Human rights organisations condemn ‘absurd decision’ to evict the asylum seekers

by Bethany Rielly

GREEK riot police forcibly evicted refugees from one of Lesbos’s only decent camps today. 

The 72 residents of the Pikpa camp, among them children, victims of torture and people with severe health conditions, were removed in the morning by police in full riot gear. 

All were transferred on coaches to Kara Tepe, another camp on Lesbos run by the local authority. 

Lesbos Solidarity, the local non-government organisation that ran Pikpa, said that it had only  been told where residents would be taken the day before the eviction. 

In a statement posted on Facebook, the group said: “Pikpa self-managed open camp totally empty after eight years of being a model of solidarity and mutual support.”

The eviction was condemned by humanitarian organisation Medicine San Frontiers (MSF). 

“This morning, the minister of migration has taken a completely absurd decision to take people living in Pikpa camp away from their home,” Stephan Oberreit, head of the MSF mission in Greece, said in a video message from Lesbos. 

“This is absurd because the focus, the priority, should be the many vulnerable people living in the main camp on Lesbos … in a completely inadequate situation,” he said, referring to the facility that has replaced the Moria camp – which burnt down last month – where asylum-seekers have no access to basic services. 

Pikpa was founded by locals in 2012 to house refugees passing through the eastern Aegean island.

Over the years it has housed thousands of people, sparing them from living in the squalid Moria camp. 

In September, just weeks after Moria’s destruction, the Ministry of Migration announced the decision to close Pikpa. 

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