Truckers on the Aegean island of Lesvos staged a protest using their vehicles through the island’s main town of Mytilene on Sunday, demanding a solution for the thousands of migrants and refugees trapped on the island.
The drivers said the situation was causing them serious problems, since migrants, after several months of waiting, had come to believe that hiding in their trucks to board a boat was the only way to get off the island.
Talking to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA), their spokesman Argyris Hatziargyriou said that dozens of migrants were caught hiding in their trucks each day.
“Trapped on the island for many months, they are convinced that the only way to leave is to leave illegally, hiding in our trucks. And they attempt to do this by unloading goods so they can go in their place, causing damage and, what’s more, daily making us suspects for migrant trafficking, since we are called on to prove that this is not happening with our consent,” he said.
One of the truckers, Panagiotis Aggelis, reported being placed under arrest for migrant-trafficking after three migrants hid themselves in old refrigerators that he was taking to be recycled. “A few hours later, they were free to look for other ways to escape and I was arrested, tried and acquitted….apart from the hardship I went through, my truck has not been returned for days now and I am unable to make a living during these difficult times,” he said.
The truckers said they would present to the municipality their demand for a secure location, guarded by the authorities, to park their trucks. Otherwise, they said they would escalate their action and stop transporting goods to and from the island, with repercussions for all the inhabitants, including the refugees and migrants themselves.