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Idomeni: eviction has started

idomeni-eviction-ISince the early morning hours of today, Greek riot police started to evict Idomeni. Idomeni became a symbol since the closure of the Greek-Macedonian border. It became a symbol of Europe at a crossroad. It became a symbol of a militarized and repressive borderregime violently gaining back force. And even more then this it became a symbol of hope and of the strong commitment of thousands of families, women, men and children in their daily struggle for freedom of movement and open borders.

hope1Maybe Idomeni will be emptied. Maybe all will be forced into isolated camps all over Greece. But not only is the soil of Idomeni now full of the stories of resistance.

It is the travellers who will keep this struggle alive and tell the stories to those who will follow. A friend in a very similar situation, stuck in Greece many years before said:

Noone can stop the rain.

 

For updates on the eviction, follow the Live-Ticker of Moving Europe:

http://moving-europe.org/24-5-2016-updates-from-the-eviction-in-idomeni/

 

Already yesterday Moving Europe published an article on the upcoming eviction:

            Source: http://moving-europe.org/idomeni-eviction-on-early-tuesday-morning/

Since heavy clashes between the Greek police and inhabitants of the makeshift camp of Idomeni erupted and most of the people had to experience police violence by tear gas1, the situation in Idomeni has not calmed down. During the weekend, intense rain transformed the camp into a mud place again2, and supporting structures were increasingly limited in accessing the camp. Cars have been stopped and searched, and volunteers were taken to police stations for several hours for questioning.

In the night to Monday, several sources were reporting massive police force movements towards Idomeni in order to prepare for an upcoming eviction. According to media sources, it is likely that police will start the eviction on early Tuesday morning3. Due to high pressure from the opposition and the latest heavy clashes in Idomeni, the government changed their mind on waiting for a voluntary closure of the camp. The police is hoping for a non-violent eviction, but this seems nearly impossible given the the situation of tension, frustration and desperation into which Greek and European authorities have forced the people in Idomeni. Members of supporting structures in and around Idomeni expressed their concerns about the physical and psychological conditions of the people, were they to be confronted with massive police and military forces: “It is insane to conduct an eviction at the moment. There are hundreds of familes, thousands of children and many people in bad physical conditions, this will create enormous damage and raise frustration even more”, S. explained. Referring to the current developments regarding the agreement between Turkey and the EU, which seems to be at a crossroads4, she added: “Everything is unsure at the moment, we cannot understand why the authority is creating facts when everything is unstable and nothing working as they want”.

On Monday morning it was reported from Idomeni, that authorities closed the waterlines at several points5. In addition to the severe limitation of food supplies, this gives an idea about the authorities‘ strategy for emptying the camp: Creating a lack of basic needs and forcing the people, particularly the vulnerable people, to leave by themselves –  which accordingly to posts on social media is working for many people6. This was also confirmed by an inhabitant of the camp on Monday morning on the phone: “There are several buses this morning waiting for people, I think several will take this, since it is maybe the last chance”. He added that a few NGOs are present, but one NGO worker told him that they probably will not be able to come anymore from tomorrow onwards.

According to CNN Greece, the upcoming eviction might take up to 7 days and is following a strategy, which we heard about as a rumor two month ago already: The forces will separate the camp into several sectors, which will be isolated from each other. Subsequently, these sectors will be emptied over several days, outside the view of media and volunteers in order to avoid witnesses7.
The future of the about 9.000 inhabitants of Idomeni camp is unsure. Some sources report people are going to be brought to Thessaloniki to guarantee health service and housing8, but supporters are doubtful that there are places for everybody. Moreover, the situation in many other camps is worse than in Idomeni and disillusioning.

Notes

[1][1] Statement by MSF: http://www.msf.org/en/article/greece-msf-resumes-activities-idomeni-after-clashes-and-tear-gas-cause-temporary-suspension
[2] Rain: https://twitter.com/Laura_Naude/status/734431370550861825
[3] http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/fluechtlinge-in-idomeni-polizei-soll-camp-am-dienstag-raeumen-a-1093562.html
[4] http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/merkel-refugee-deal-with-turkey-in-danger-of-failure-a-1092331.html?platform=hootsuite
[5] https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1579995312299371&id=1469254766706760
[6] https://www.facebook.com/yusufphotographie/posts/10154799444858906
[7] http://www.cnn.gr/news/ellada/story/33102/etoimazoyn-epixeirisi-ekkenosis-tis-eidomenis
[8] http://sputniknews.com/europe/20160523/1040067038/greece-evacuates-idomeni-camp.html

Voices from Inside VIAL / Chios: Unaccompanied minor detained since 49 days

On the March 19, 2016, one day before the implementation of the EU-Turkey deal, Hamid* and his three friends arrived in a boat with 46 people on the shores of Chios. They where transferred to detention in VIAL. From that day on they suffer mostly from the lack of freedom and protection. They have expressed fear and anxiety due to a lack of information on their rights and growing tensions among inmates. According to the teenager many refugees in VIAL suffer severe psychological problems due to the detention conditions, the violence (also by law-enforcement officers) and the fear to be the next returned to Turkey.

„If every one gets to know about our problems in VIAL it will be good. I don’t have any one in this world. I swear. There is no one but God I can rely on.
Continue reading ‘Voices from Inside VIAL / Chios: Unaccompanied minor detained since 49 days’

Report: Infomobile Greece 2015

Nobody could have foreseen how quickly the situation in the Aegean changed in 2015, due to unpredictable migration movements. More than 7.000 people arrived on the Greek island of Lesvos on a single day in late October 2015 and more than 56.000 people arrived on the island in the last week of October. When we stood on the beaches of northern Lesvos and experienced how one boat after another arrived there, while volunteers from all over Europe welcomed the newly arrived, one could have thought that this border had long been overrun and become a fact of the past. But, at the same time, we became witnesses of the loss of hundreds of people who drowned in the Aegean Sea. Even the mayor of Mytilene demanded ferries that would transport people from Turkey to Greece so long as no safe paths to Europe existed. 2015 was an incredible year. Since we have followed the refugee situation in the Aegean for a long time, we detected major developments here: in 2015 and still today, more and more women and children, as well as old people, those injured through war, and the sick were now travelling. And while the first groups of travellers had to assert themselves at every border anew, as of September, people were able to move more quickly than ever before. Many of those we had encountered along this route in previous years needed months, if not years, to arrive because they were repeatedly arrested for months or had run out of money and thus could not move on. But now, at the end of 2015, the average time of travel amounted to merely 2 weeks, from Turkey to Germany.

 

In early 2016, circulating threats concerning the closure of the Balkan corridor and the massive militarisation of the border between Turkey and Greece, for example through a novel mandate of the Greek military in coordinating reception and registration, the Frontex Rabit-mission as well as the recently deployed NATO vessels to the area, raise various questions and make it difficult for us, maybe more than before, to make a prognosis. What is clear, however, is that the eastern maritime border of the European Union will remain a contested space and our presence there will continue, to support those on the move who enact their freedom of movement. In the following we will provide an overview of the Infomobil activities in 2015:

 

Infomobile-Report in English: Infomobile+Report+2015_english.compressed

Infomobile-Report in German: Infomobile Bericht 2015 kl

 

120 refugees pushed back at the Greek-Turkish land-border in the night from 12th to 13th of February 2016

On 4th of April 2016 refugees in Idomeni reported to us a push-back operation they experienced at the Greek-Turkish land-border in February. Among the witnesses are a 63-year-old woman and several families with small children.

In the night from 12th to 13th of February they crossed the land-border coming from Edirne/Turkey, fleeing to Greece. They arrived in Greece around 6am. It was a big group of about 120 refugees, among them many children and also several elderly. After the border-crossing they divided into three groups, each group about 40 persons, because it seemed too difficult to walk with the big group. They hide in a forest until it was dark again. At 8pm they started to walk and they walked until 6am.

This was the way the group had already walked by foot.

This was the way the group had already walked by foot.

After the whole night walking the smaller children were unable to continue. In their group of 40 there were 13 children and also 3 elderly, one of the woman sitting with us is about 63 years old, another couple was much older then her, in their 80ies. In this group all people were refugees from Syria, all Kurds from the region of Qamishli.

At about 6am they found a kind of closed compound, maybe belonging to the military (see GPS-position and pictures they had sent via WhatsApp to relatives).
This was near the Greek village Asimenio, between Orestias and Didimoticho. It rained heavily. They entered there, but there was nobody.

They found some pallets and they used them to light a fire, because everyone was wet and they were afraid the children would die of hypothermia, because it was very cold. They were very afraid that the children could die and so one woman called the Red Cross (maybe it was an international emergency number, we cannot say exactly because we did not speak with her).
Continue reading ‘120 refugees pushed back at the Greek-Turkish land-border in the night from 12th to 13th of February 2016’

Lesvos 21.3.2016: Detained Pakistanis transported with Blue Star in handcuffs to Piraeus / additional information

A witness account

pakistaniWe were traveling with the ferry Blue Star 1 from Mytilene to Piraeus on the 21.3.16.
As we entered the ship at 19.45 o’clock we saw an overcrowded bus entering filled with with sitting and standing persons. Outside media representatives and volunteers where watching the situation.

The bus on which was written EURORIDE on the front right side and which had the plate nr. PAZ1316 stopped inside the ship and we could see from a distance of 1 meter the people running handcuffed two by two up the stairs. We asked how many they are and someone from the crew said 150. Continue reading ‘Lesvos 21.3.2016: Detained Pakistanis transported with Blue Star in handcuffs to Piraeus / additional information’

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.
Continue reading ‘Detention/ deportation centre “Vial” on Chios island: “Hurria means Freedom!”’

Aegean islands: Government evacuates thousands from Hot Spots

copyright: Marily Stroux

copyright: Marily Stroux

The Greek government yesterday emptied the Hot Spots on the islands of the Aegean in order to start implementing the newly decided measures as concluded during the EU-Summit with Turkey on 17./18.th. About 2,700 were transferred from Chios, 4,000 from Lesvos and 800 from Samos. Tragically, as activists report, the refugees were not informed where they would be brought and were highly stressed and in fear.


Thessaloniki port Continue reading ‘Aegean islands: Government evacuates thousands from Hot Spots’

Athens: Hundreds take to the streets and demand open borders

copyright: Salinis Stroux

copyright: Salinis Stroux

During an antiracist rally that started from Victoria Square in the centre of Athens and passed the Greek Parliament to reach the Offices of the Representation of the European Commission in Greece, hundreds of antiracists along with many Afghan refugees demanded the opening of the border, protection and a safe passage instead of deportations. The Afghans came from different transit camps as Elliniko and Schisto.

Freedom of movement is everybody’s right!


copyright: Salinia Stroux

Larissa: Letter from Afghan refugees in former Roca factory to the authorities and the UN

prosfyges-roka-larisaAbout 400 refugees from Syria and Afghanistan are currently hosted in the tent camp near the former Roca factory in Larissa half of which are children. Now refugees sent a letter demanding for better conditions.

15/3/2016

To: Representatives of United Nations, the Mayor of Larissa city and his assistants, the Head of Police of Larissa and the representative of volunteers people of Larissa

We – Afghans refugees – resided in Pireaus port of Athens city under Mr. Satery’s management. After a few days responsibles of the camp promised us that we would be transfered to a camp in some building in Larissa city which has sanitary facilities like bathrooms, showers and so on but unfortunately, they lied to us. That’s why refugees don’t believe responsibles and top brass of Greece goverment. Continue reading ‘Larissa: Letter from Afghan refugees in former Roca factory to the authorities and the UN’

Moria, Lesvos: Refugee protest against Readmissions to Turkey

copyright: Marily Stroux

copyright: Marily Stroux

Refugees are stuck the islands of the Aegean as Greek government forbid them moving on to the mainland in order to control the distribution of thousands to different mass camps. Currently more than 4,000 persons are caught up in Piraeus port at different gates in warehouses and tents outside. There is no more space for newcomers. Among the refugees in the port are many who were transferred to new mass camps in the periphery but denied to stay in these nowhere lands and returned. Continue reading ‘Moria, Lesvos: Refugee protest against Readmissions to Turkey’

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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email: infomobile.w2eu@gmail.com

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