Police in northern Greece say migrants at a holding site near the country's border with Turkey have staged violent protests following weeks of delays in processing their asylum claims due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Authorities said the protests also involved unaccompanied minors at the closed facility which currently houses some 250 asylum seekers. No injuries were reported.
Some spoke of dire conditions in the centre and the growth of gangs stealing from and assaulting other residents.
Others, migrants trying to reach Western Europe, said they had been left out in the cold despite seeking refuge at the centre, its doors closed under a lockdown across the country to confront the coronavirus pandemic.
The tension was palpable at the weekend at migrant facilities on the eastern Aegean islands of Lesvos, Samos and Chios, with asylum seekers frustrated as they are not permitted to move outside the camps and are forced to wait in line for hours for food as a result of the problems created by the coronavirus restrictions.
In 2019, 13 800 asylum seekers applying for international protection in the 27 Member States of the European Union (EU) were considered to be unaccompanied minors, nearly 20% fewer than in 2018 (16 800), continuing the downward trend that started after the peak year 2015 (92 000). In 2019, at the EU level, unaccompanied minors accounted for 7% of all asylum applicants aged less than 18.