Greek islanders block migrant boat from landing

Shouting "Go back to Turkey", furious locals at the port of Thermi blocked migrants from landing (AFP Photo/Aris MESSINIS)

Skála Sykaminéas (Greece) (AFP) - A group of local people on the Greek island of Lesbos on Sunday stopped around 50 migrants, including children, from landing their boat after several hours at sea, AFP photographers witnessed.

Shouting "Go back to Turkey", furious locals at the port of Thermi blocked the boats.

After Turkey's decision to open its borders into Europe, migrants have been arriving in greater numbers on the Greek islands in the Aegean, just off the Turkish coast.

The locals also shouted insults at the local official of the UN refugee agency the UNHCR -- and some also attacked journalists and photographers at the scene, hitting them and throwing cameras into the water.

On the road to the overcrowded Moira camp on the island, another group of local people used chains and rocks to try to block the route of a police bus transporting migrants who had arrived Sunday, the Greek news agency ANA reported.

A police officer was slightly injured in the incident.

More than 19,000 are already staying at the camp, which was built to hold fewer than 3,000.

Around 500 migrants landed Sunday morning in around 10 vessels, according to an AFP tally, their crossing made easier by the good weather conditions.

Another four vessels carrying 120 people landed on the neighbouring island of Chios, and two vessels carrying 80 migrants landed on Samos, further to the south, ANA reported.

According to the Greek coastguard, around 180 migrants arrived Saturday on Lesbos and Samos, making the crossing from Turkey despite strong winds.

Last week, hundreds of local people on Lesbos protested against government plans to build a new migrant camp, clashing with riot police sent to the island to protect construction workers.