Fights broke out Tuesday among migrants on the Greek island of Kos, where overwhelmed authorities are struggling to contain increasing numbers of people arriving on rubber dinghies from the nearby Turkish shore.
Hundreds of protesting migrants demanding quick registration began blocking the main coastal road in the island's main town, staging a sit-in.
"We want papers! We want to eat!" they chanted.
Hundreds of people arrive on Greece's eastern Aegean islands daily, many after fleeing conflict in Syria and Afghanistan. Authorities, locals and charity groups are struggling to register the new arrivals and provide food and shelter for them, many of whom are children.
Many of those on Kos, a popular tourist destination, had been camping in the main town's parks and squares. During an attempt to relocate them to a stadium, fights broke out among some of the roughly 1,500 people in a line for registration.
Police, who had just a handful of officers to maintain control and carry out the registration, sprayed the jostling crowd with fire extinguishers and used batons. Hundreds of people fled in panic.
Similar protests have taken place, and tensions have risen on several of the islands bearing the brunt of the migrant influx in recent weeks, including Lesbos, where the majority of new arrivals land.
Greece's coast guard said it rescued 329 migrants in seven search and rescue incidents off the coast of Lesbos and Kos in the 24 hours from Monday morning.
Those figures do not include the hundreds more who reach shore on their own in inflatable dinghies from Turkey, making their own way to the islands' main towns for registration.
Greece has been overwhelmed by the number of migrants arriving, with at least 124,000 people reaching the eastern islands in the first seven months of this year. The figure represents a 750 percent increase over the same period last year, according to figures from the UNHCR, the United Nations refugee agency.
Greek police said Monday that 156,726 migrants were arrested for entering or remaining in the country illegally from January through July 2015, compared with 32,070 for the same period in 2014.
The Associated Press