ATHENS (Reuters) - About 200 unregistered migrants trying to board a ship scuffled with police and coastguard officials on the Greek island of Lesbos on Friday, a coastguard spokesman told Reuters, with television footage showing migrants throwing stones at police.
Police used teargas to disperse the migrants, a reporter at the scene for the Greek news channel ANT1 said.
“About 200 migrants that were not registered tried to get on a ferry at the port and they were pushed back by the police and the coastguard,” coastguard spokesman Nikos Lagkadianos said.
Greece is on a front line of a migrant crisis that has seen hundreds of people, many fleeing war and poverty, arriving on its shores every day.
European Union officials visiting Greece announced that the bloc would expand migrant quotas next week to take the pressure off those countries already struggling to cope with the influx.
The mayor of Lesbos’ main town made a public plea for help and for Athens to declare a state of emergency on the island.
“For four months now I have been saying that I am holding a bomb in my hands and the fuse is slowly burning,” Spyros Galinos, mayor of Mytilini told state TV ERT.
“Two days ago I sent a letter asking to declare the island in a state of emergency. Today I am asking the prime minister for immediate relief measures, the situation has become unmanageable.”
Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou and George Georgiopoulos; Writing by Matthias Williams; Editing by Louise Ireland