Ioannina, Greece: “Cleansing” operation against migrants

At around 7 AM GMT+2 on Saturday, May 26th, a large police contingent surrounded the building complex of the former Chatzikosta Hospital, located on central Papandreou Avenue in the city of Ioannina. This complex, apart from being a temporary home for migrants and refugees, is also were the Antiviosi squat is located.

Various anti-riot squads, including some from other cities, as well as fire fighter units and municipal utility workers sealed the entrances to the complex under the orders of mayor Filippas Filios, the governor of the region of Epirus Alexandros Kachrimanis, the director of Chatzikosta Hospital Fotis Vavvas, and in the presence of a prosecutor.

The climate preceding the repression was prepared by the local far-right newspaper Proinos Logos and the television station TV1, which systematically promote the neo-Nazi and xenophobic discourse of Golden Dawn candidate Christos Pappas. Under the slogan of cleaning the “health bomb”—supposedly presented by the migrants—the local authorities, the prosecution authorities, cops, neo-Nazis, and the bastard snitches of the local media have launched a veritable manhunt against undocumented migrants. This repression wave in Ioannina comes a few days after the pogroms and neo-Nazi riots in the Peiraiki–Patraiki ex-factory in the city of Patras.

As reported live by the rebel Autonomous Radio of Ioannina, there have thus far been two detentions and searches of comrades (short after, police let them go at the spot), while an antifascist demonstration in support of the migrants has been taking place in front of the City Hall of Ioannina since 10:00. At the same time, other groups of comrades are remaining in the Antiviosi squat, ready to resist any attempt by the cops to attack it.

While the city council workers continue to seal the entrances to the former hospital, other forces of repression moved in the direction of the old military prisons, located on Gennimata Avenue, looking for undocumented migrants who may have sought refuge there because, thus far, the cops have not been able to arrest anyone. This complex was supposed to be evacuated and sealed off as well, but we still wait for confirmation (there are neither police squads, nor migrants there as of 13:00).

Despite the authorities’ “cleansing” operation, amidst a ruthless campaign ahead of June 17th repeat elections, no migrant was caught inside the aforementioned buildings, while our comrades and other antifascist supporters still safeguard the Antiviosi squat. Nevertheless, a total of 30 migrants (apparently, with and without papers) have been detained across the city, even with police raids in migrants’ residences.

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