Detention/ deportation centre “Vial” on Chios island: “Hurria means Freedom!”

Protest against readmissions to Turkey and for the right to continue the journey to Europe

Today, on Tuesday 22nd of March, in the afternoon, hundreds of refugees locked up in the new detention centre and former fabric “Vial” on Chios island started a protest raising their voices against the new Fortress Europe. They continue their struggle for freedom of movement as they became the first refugees affected by the new cruel detention / readmission measures following the dirty deal between the EU and Turkey.


Video of protest of refugees March 22th, 2016

Thousands of refugees are now behind bars directly after they survived the dangerous journeys by boat while simultaneously volunteers and many NGOs were kicked out of the former Hot Spots. At the same time UNHCR and also Medicines Sans Frontiers (MSF) left the camps openly critisizing the new system as unfair and inhumane.

UNHCR spokesperson Melissa Fleming: “UNHCR is not a party to the EU-Turkey deal, nor will we be involved in returns or detention.” Marie Elisabeth Ingres, MSF Head of Mission in Greece: “We will not allow our assistance to be instrumentalized for a mass expulsion operation and we refuse to be part of a system that has no regard for the humanitarian or protection needs of asylum seekers and migrants.”

More than that, authorities now even cut of any contact to people inside by confiscating their mobile phones. Greece nowadays returns to past horrors of “Pagani” if not worse.

In Arabic language Hurria means freedom and these are their demands:

These are the Voices of hundreds of refugees stuck on Chios. They simply demand freedom. They demand that the European governments take responsibility and treat them as human beings. They just want to continue their journey to Europe. Why can’t we access Europe? Why do you want to deport us to Turkey? They ask all other refugees to join their protest and to stand united against deportations.

Already earlier this day activists started to report on the terrible condition in the detention centre of Vial, and in an Arabic speaking facebook group the first video of the protest on Chios circulated as well.

This is not the only protest of today: In Idomeni at the border from Greece to Macedonia/ FYROM thousands started another protest demanding the opening of the borders in order to leave Greece while two refugees tried to burn themselves in dispair.

In the meantime Welcome to Europe tried to find some first answers on the most urgent questions of people who are now detained on the Greek island as well as of those who are stuck in the various open and closed mass camps on the mainland. Quite difficult as many things will still change and no one knows exactly how the situation will look like after weeks and months.

The infomobile

... is like a “paper boat”. We chose this as a metaphor for what we want to create and for the situation of refugees and migrants in Greece. The paper boat is a folded boat able to swim – for a while. Then you have to build a new one to go on travelling. A paper boat is symbolic for the journey of life, vulnerable but in your own hands and to be recreated again and again. It is simple, but it carries many hopes and dreams. It can dance on a turbulent sea. It belongs to everybody. And it might become the small version – like a first draft – of a welcome-space.

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