Seven arrested for planning to beat migrants on Greek island

ATHENS (AFP) – Police on the Greek island of Lesbos on Friday said they had arrested seven people on suspicion of planning attacks on migrants in the wake of anti-camp demonstrations this week.

The seven men, aged 17 to 24, were arrested on Thursday in possession of makeshift clubs and a metal rod, police said.

“An investigation showed that the suspects had banded together to carry out illegal acts mainly against foreign migrants,” the police said in a statement.

Two more minors are sought in connection with the case.

Overpopulation in migrant camps on Lesbos and other islands near Turkey has led to an outpouring of anger in recent days, with locals accusing asylum-seekers of stealing livestock and damaging agricultural property.

On Monday, hundreds of migrants on Lesbos staged a protest against tougher new asylum rules and camp conditions, demanding to be allowed to leave.

When some of the protesters neared the village of Moria – which is close to Greece’s largest migrant camp – residents called on the police to deny them entry.

Riot police observe migrants in Mytilene port on the northeastern Aegean island of Lesbos, Greece. PHOTO: AP