Babies And Children Tear Gassed During Refugee Protest On Greek Island Of Lesbos
4 February 2020 International News
Babies and toddlers were tear gassed by police on the Greek island of Lesbos during a protest by refugees against the conditions in which they are being held.
Volunteers used Coca-Cola to try to wash the tear gas out of the eyes of screaming children after riot police fired tear gas canisters at the peaceful demonstration.
Coca-Cola and similar fizzy drinks are acidic and, like lemon juice and vinegar, can help lessen the effects of tear gas.
The clashes took place after around 2,000 refugees and migrants marched out of the notorious Moria camp on Lesbos with the aim of walking to the island’s main town, Mytiline, to stage a protest.
Designed to hold less than 3,000 people, the camp now holds around 19,000, with many living in tents and makeshift shelters in muddy olive groves outside the perimeter fence.
Raw sewage trickles between tents and container accommodation, sacks of rubbish are left uncollected and scabies is widespread, earning Moria the reputation of being Europe’s grimmest refugee camp.
Afghan and Syrian women held up placards which read “Freedom” and “Moria is a prison for refugees” as they headed from the camp towards Mytilene, about five miles away.
When police blocked them, some staged a sit-in on the road while others tried to go round the police lines by scattering through fields and olive groves.“People were attacked with tear gas even though it was peaceful,” a British volunteer helping refugees on Lesbos told The Telegraph.
“Women and children were beaten by the police. We helped people who had been affected by the gas by giving them Coca-Cola to wash with. People were crying. People collapsed,” said the volunteer, who did not want to be identified for fear of repercussions from the authorities.