Greek islanders violently beat German journalist covering migrants

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Locals who prevent migrants on a dinghy from disembarking at the port of Thermi beat a journalist, as a woman tries to stop them, on the island of Lesbos, Greece, March 1, 2020. (REUTERS Photo)

Residents of the Greek island of Lesbos on Sunday beat to the ground and kicked a German journalist reporting on migrants’ arrival to the island.

A group of locals gathered at a beach to stop around 50 migrants – including families with young children and babies – from landing their boat. They shouted insults at a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) official and attacked journalists and photographers covering the event, including German freelance photojournalist Michael Trammer.

Members of the group were seen violently attacking and kicking Trammer, who later tweeted about the incident.

“My cameras were thrown in the water. I was beaten and kicked heavily. This lasted a while. No police on site, also as I left. Some locals that disagreed with what the attackers did took care of me,” Trammer wrote on Twitter, sharing photos and videos from before and after the attack.

Trammer shared a photo of his head bandaged after the attack.

He later tweeted that he had decided to leave Lesbos “for security reasons.”

A group of about 150 Lesbos residents set fire to a disused U.N.-run refugee center later Sunday evening.

The Greek islands have seen an influx of migrant arrivals since Turkey announced Friday it would no longer stop migrants trying to reach Europe. More than 500 people had arrived at the Greek islands from the nearby Turkish coast by Sunday evening, a clear increase in the usual number of people who arrive on the eastern Aegean islands from Turkey.

Existing migrant camps on the islands are already dramatically overcrowded, and tensions there have mounted.

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