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HUNDREDS of women refugees protested in Lesbos today against the horrific conditions and violence engulfing the Greek island’s Moria camp — which is now 10 times over capacity.
Grandmothers, mothers and children chanted “we want to be free, we want to be human,” as they gathered in the main square of Mytilene, Lesbos’s largest town.
Overcrowding, coupled with a lack of basic services in the notorious camp has led to a spike in violence. Earlier this month a 20-year-old Yemeni man was killed by camp residents.
One protester, a young woman from Afghanistan, who preferred not to be named, told the Star she lives in constant fear of attacks.
"Every night, they attack and put knives to our tents,” she said. “But the security people don't do anything.”
“We can't sleep at night, out of fear. We need to stay awake at night so no-one attacks."
Despite an official capacity of just under 3,000, Moria’s population has passed 20,000 and continues to grow as arrivals outnumber transferrals to the mainland.
Another protester from Afghanistan, who has two disabled children, said: “Night to day there are fights, knife fights, people kill each other.
“We are scared, we don't have security. Please open the way so that we can go.”
Protesters young and old filled the square overlooking Mytilene harbour, while hundreds of women were prevented from attending the demonstration by police outside Moria camp.
In the square, women also expressed deep fears about the heightened risk of deportation.
Greece’s new right-wing administration is rolling out a new asylum process to make it easier and faster to deport refugees.
Although the number of deportations this month remains low — around 100 — there has been a sharp rise in the number of people being incarcerated in Moria’s detention facility, according to a source working with a deportation monitoring group in Lesbos.
This suggests the number of deportations is set to rise dramatically in the coming months.
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