Violent riots broke out on the Greek holiday island of Kos today. Police officers beat refugees with batons and sprayed them with fire extinguishers at a football stadium on the island, writes the French news agency AFP.
- There is a risk that the situation will turn bloody if it escalates further, warns the island's mayor Giorgos Kiritsis.
An estimated 7,000 refugees have arrived at the resort island, which has a resident population of 30,000. The majority has arrived over the sea from Turkey in rubber boats, according to AP.
For weeks, the refugees - mainly Syrians and Afghans, many of them children - have stayed on Kos' beaches and along the roads.
The riots occurred as refugees would be reallocated to the stadium for registration. At one of the entrances, a woman fainted in the intense heat.
An unnamed police source told AFP that it occurred because people were trying to make their way to a police post for issuance of documents.
Today's riots comes in the midst of a number of other incidents involving refugees and Greek police. Yesterday an officer at Kos was suspended because he filmed while beating and pushing refugees who waited in line outside a police station.
Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has asked the EU for help to deal with the refugees flowing into the country. This year 124,000 have arrived, according to the UN. This is a considerable increase since the same period last year.
The UN refugee agency criticizes Greece in sharp terms for the treatment they give the refugees, and characterizes it as "shameful." They say that many arriving to the Greek islands, have to sleep in open air, without access to showers and toilets.
In Athens hundreds of refugees sleep in the city parks, but Greece has promised to resolve it by making parts of a container port into temporary shelter.
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