Some 3,000 protesters in Germany are calling on their own government and countries across the EU to accept all refugees from the Moria refugee camp in Greece.
Moria camp on the Greek island of Lesbos has burnt to the ground after fires ravaged the settlement this week. Some 20 firefighters tackled the blaze.
Some 13,000 people, including roughly 4,000 children, are now displaced and without shelter, with many sleeping on the side of the road or in fields.
The camps should have been evacuated long before the fire, rights groups have said, after repeated warnings over the dangerous conditions there.
Between January and August five people were stabbed at the Moria camp, which has a capacity for less than 3,000 people yet 13,000 had been crammed into it.
Over the summer, Greece was criticised for deporting refugees to Turkey amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Secretary-General of the Norwegian Refugee Council told DW: “This was a time bomb, now it has gone off and hopefully this is a wake-up call that the leaderships in the European capital need. The people of Moria should have been relocated years ago.”
Remember when the banks were threatened some years back, there were meetings every week to save the banks. Let’s have meetings now to save human lives.
Also this week, campaigners put 13,000 chairs outside Germany’s parliament, calling for all the Greek island camps to be shut down. One chair for every refugee holed up in the Moria camp.
As demonstrators took to the streets in Berlin, Hamburg, Frankfurt and Leipzig yesterday, conservative backers such as the Development Aid Minister Gerd Muller, member of the Bavarian CSU, have joined the centre-left in making the demands, according to the Berlin Spectator.
Several of Germany’s federal states have said they are ready to accept the refugees, including the North Rhine-Westphalia state which has pledged to accept 1,000.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass has called on other EU countries to step up and take refugees.
Germany has the fifth highest population of refugees in the world. Between 2015 and 2019 1.7 million people applied for asylum in Germany, three quarters of a million applicants in 2016 alone and 18,000 Syrians in 2020.