Asylum seekers burned down European Union offices Monday in frustration over long processing times on the Greek island of Lesbos.
About 70 migrants of predominantly Pakistani and Bangladeshi background took their anger out on the European Asylum Support Office’s (EASO) temporary offices on the island. Protestors threw petrol bombs and burning blankets into the building and at containers inside the camp where the migrants are held.
No injuries were reported, but four shipping containers where interviews are conducted were completely destroyed. The fire caused EASO to shut down operations and move out its staff temporarily, causing wait times to increase further.
“They burned our offices this morning … The process will not resume for the time being,” EASO spokesman Jean-Pierre Schembri told Reuters. “We have to evaluate security issues and in our view we need more presence of Greece police to be in place.”
The camp in Lesbos is currently home to nearly 6,000 migrants, twice its intended capacity. The migrant stream to Greece has curbed significantly in 2016, but the handling of asylum claims still takes months in many cases.
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