In Brief

Greek police accused of abusing refugees on island of Kos

Authorities warn of bloodshed as country faces humanitarian 'crisis within a crisis'

Greek authorities have been accused of abusing refugees arriving on Kos by a leading medical charity.

Médecins Sans Frontières said it was "very worried" about the Greek response to the evolving crisis on the island.

"What was previously a situation of state inaction is now one of state abuse, with police using increasing heavy-handed force against these vulnerable people," said Brice de le Vingne, MSF director of operations.

His comments come after up to 2,000 refugees, including women, children and young babies, were locked in a stadium overnight with no access to hygiene facilities, shade or shelter.

They were taken there after being rounded up from makeshift camps across the island, The Guardian reports. Scuffles broke out between police and refugees, with officers using batons, fire extinguishers and sound cannons to control the crowds.

"The situation on the island is out of control," warned Kos mayor Giorgos Kiritsis. "There is a real danger that blood will be shed."

Prime minister Alexis Tsipras has said Greece cannot cope with the huge influx of refugees and faces a "crisis within a crisis" because of the country's economic problems, the BBC reports. 

The United Nations refugee agency says more than 124,000 people have arrived on Greek shores this year alone. The vast majority of them are fleeing conflict in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

There is not enough food or shelter for the estimated 1,000 refugees arriving every day from Turkey and much of the response is being coordinated by volunteers and NGOs.

"The Kos authorities have clearly stated that they have no intention of improving the situation for these people as they believe that this would constitute a 'pull factor,'" de le Vingne said.

"But the truth is that people fleeing war will keep on coming whether or not the authorities are trying to stop them from doing so."

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