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media captionThousands of migrants and refugees are demanding more permanent housing elsewhere

Police on the Greek island of Lesbos fired tear gas at protesting migrants who were left homeless when their camp burned down on Wednesday.

Around 13,000 migrants and refugees had been living in squalor in the overcrowded Moria camp, and are desperate to leave the island.

The clashes broke out near a temporary camp built by Greek authorities.

A fire was set there earlier in the day, near a police blockade, and had to be extinguished by firefighters.

A new camp, Kara Tepe, has now been set up.

Police said about 200 people had checked in at the new camp, while dozens – mostly families – queued outside, waiting for hygiene and safety checks.

media captionMigrants and refugees arrive at a new tent camp in Lesbos

Families have been sleeping in fields and on roads after fleeing the blaze on Wednesday.

The Moria camp was initially designed to house 3,000 migrants. People from 70 countries had been sheltered there, most from Afghanistan.

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On Friday, migrants and refugees approached police barriers blocking the road out of Moria camp, holding signs calling for “freedom” and opposing the construction of a new camp.

There is also strong resistance from the island’s permanent residents for a new camp, and they have been blocking roads to stop aid deliveries.

image copyrightReuters

image captionRiot police fired tear gas on Saturday

The question of how to deal with the mass arrivals of migrants, mainly to Italy and Greece, has divided the EU for years.

Italy and Greece have accused wealthier northern countries of failing to do more, while a number of central and eastern nations are openly resistant to the idea of taking in a quota of migrants.

What is being done for the migrants?

The new camp will begin hosting some of those left without shelter from Saturday, Greece’s Migration Minister Notis Mitarachi said.

On Friday, Germany announced that 10 European countries had agreed to take 400 unaccompanied minors who had been living in Moria.

The fire at Moria was “a sharp reminder to all of us for what we need to change in Europe”, Germany’s Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said.

But a group of charities and NGOs have written to the German government saying more has to be done for all of the migrants, not just those minors.

media captionMigrants are struggling to cope out in the open
“The shameful situation in the camp and the fire disaster are the direct result of a failed European refugee policy – now the EU must finally help the people affected,” the open letter reads.

What do we know about the fire?

Fires broke out in more than three places overnight on Tuesday, according to local fire chief Konstantinos Theofilopoulos. Further fires left the camp almost completely destroyed.

The fires started hours after reports that 35 people had tested positive for Covid-19 at the camp. Authorities placed the facility under quarantine last week after a Somali migrant was confirmed to have contracted coronavirus.

Eight of the 35 who tested positive for Covid-19 are since believed to have been found and isolated.

Mr Mitarachi said the fires “began with the asylum seekers because of the quarantine imposed”. Some of those infected with the virus had reportedly refused to move into isolation with their families.

He did not say, however, that the fires were a deliberate act of arson aimed at destroying the camp.

Meanwhile, some migrants told BBC Persian that the fire had broken out after scuffles between migrants and Greek forces at the camp.

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Turkey earthquake: Search for survivors continues

The search for survivors in Izmir, Turkey continues after a

powerful earthquake on Friday.

Work continued through the night to search for survivors in buildings that were destroyed as a result of the earthquake.

Around 100 survivors have been pulled out alive from the rubble so far, Turkey’s Environment and Urbanisation Minister Murat Kurum told reporters.

However many people are still trapped and aftershocks have hampered rescue workers.

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Poland’s biggest protests in decades stand against abortion ban

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Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski said more than 100,000 people were in attendance, while protest organizers put the figure at 150,000.

Police detained 37 people Friday evening, the vast majority of whom were football hooligans, Sylwester Marczak, spokesman for the Warsaw Police headquarters, said Saturday morning. Taking into account the huge number of participants, it was a “very peaceful” protest, he added.

Demonstrations of this scale were last seen in the Solidarity movement of the 1980s in Poland which led to the collapse of the government, analysts say.

The protest in Warsaw was the culmination of nine days of nationwide protests since a court ruling on October 22 deemed abortion due to fetal defects to be unconstitutional. This meant abortion in Poland would only be legal in two scenarios — if the pregnancy threatened the mother’s life and health, or if a woman became pregnant following rape or incest.

Demonstrators also turned out in Gdańsk, Białystok, Poznan, Kraków, Wroclaw, Torun, Sczescin, Myślenice, Gorlice and Jasło on Friday.

According to local media, 430,000 people attended more than 400 demonstrations across the country against the ban on Wednesday. Online supporters are using the tag #ThisIsWar to show solidarity with those marching.

Polish women disrupt church services in protest at abortion ban

The protests have been taking place in defiance of a ban on gatherings of more than five people due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Aerial footage of the demonstration in Warsaw posted to social media showed the vast scale of the turnout there on Friday evening.

Protest organizers urged protesters to make their way towards the residence of Jaroslaw Kaczyński, the leader of the ruling right-wing Law and Justice Party Leader (PiS) who is widely seen as the de facto decision maker in Poland. The demonstration ended there at around 11 p.m. local time and organizers urged protesters to make their way home safely.

Kaczyński on Wednesday called the protesters “criminals” and said people taking part in mass gatherings were endangering people’s lives given the surge in coronavirus cases in Poland.

Thousands of protesters march towards the residence of ruling party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski during the demonstration Friday in Warsaw.

Draft amendment

In an apparent softening of his stance, Polish President Andrzej Duda on Friday submitted a draft amendment to the controversial law which would legalize abortion in situations where the baby has “lethal defects” and would die soon after birth.

The amendment would mean abortion would remain legal in an event where “prenatal tests or other medical indications indicate a high probability that the child will be born still or burdened with an incurable disease or defect that will lead to the death of the child inevitably and directly,” according to a statement from Duda on Friday.

“It is an extremely delicate and painful situation for every mother, for every parent. In the case of lethal defects, the death of the child is inevitable. The protection of his life is therefore beyond human power,” the statement also said.

Duda had earlier clarified his stance on abortion in such cases in an interview with Polish radio station RMF FM. “You must clearly ask yourself whether anyone has the right to demand, or the law may require such a woman to… bear such a child in her womb and then bear the entire physical cost of birth,” Duda said.

Duda added that he did not think abortion should be legal in situations where a child has Down syndrome, for example, and the life of the unborn child is not at risk.

Poland moves to near-total ban on abortion, sparking protests

The ruling by Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal removed one of the few remaining grounds for legal termination in the country, which already had some of the strictest abortion laws in Europe.

Abortions due to fetal defects comprised approximately 98% of all legal abortions carried out in Poland in 2019, according to data from the Polish Ministry of Health.

Asked about the ongoing protests across Poland over the controversial court ruling, Duda condemned the demonstrators who disrupted church services earlier this week.

“If we are talking about acts of physical or verbal aggression, if we are talking about invading churches, if we are talking about insulting religious feelings, profaning places of worship, I am sorry, but the boundaries are definitely exceeded here,” he said.

Abortion rights protest leaders have accused the populist PiS party of pushing the court to tighten abortion restrictions in order to please the party’s base, and the Church. Church leaders have denied influencing the change in law.

Covid warning

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki on Friday urged protesters not to go out on the streets as he announced further steps to try to limit the spread of Covid-19.

“I understand your anger, but I urge you to stay at home, especially for the sake of seniors,” he said.

The measures include closing cemeteries for three days, urging business owners to allow employees to work from home and urging older citizens to remain at home.

Health Minister Adam Niedzielski told Polish news channel TVN24 on Friday that he looked with “great concern” at the protests and urged people to isolate themselves from those taking part, saying they could be more exposed to Covid-19.

On Friday, Poland recorded 21,629 new coronavirus cases, marking another record high in the country, where case counts have tripled in less than a month. A further 202 deaths were also reported by the Polish Health Ministry, with the total number of confirmed infections in the country surpassing 340,000.

CNN’s Zahid Mahmood contributed to this report.

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Coronavirus: Hungary and Poland see record cases

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Greece is the latest country to announce a partial lockdown, with restaurants and other leisure activities closed in major Greek cities from Tuesday. “We must act now, before intensive care units buckle under the strain of lives in danger,” Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Saturday. Greece has not seen as many cases as other parts of Europe, but there has been a steady increase since early October

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