Tag Archive for 'corinth'

Refugee squats in centre of Athens under attack by new government while thousands housed in state-run camps are dumped in tents and containers under inhuman conditions

NO PASARAN! Against state repression. Solidarity to the squats.

In a wave of sweep-operations against refugees and migrants the new right-wing government of Nea Dimokratia (of July 7th) within the last month has evicted five refugee squats and announced more will follow. Meanwhile, nothing is done to improve reception conditions in the official camps – in contrary things get worse. The state literally denies dignified housing and integration to thousands of refugees and their kids. New camps built; old camps re-opened or expanded; more tents set up… this is how the state deals with protection seekers. Not to mention, the undocumented who are threatened by arrest, detention and deportation. 

“They are trying to bury us but they forget that we are seeds, that we are more than just a number, more than an occupied building, we are a community.”

5th school
copyright: Marios Lolos

On 23 September, 143 refugees and migrants were evicted from 5th school in Exarchia. During the sweep operation Photoreporter Alexandros Stamatiou got arrested for “breach of domestic peace” during his professional news coverage, as the Greek Union of Photoreporters denounced, “a fact that does not remind anymore of a democracy”. The raid in the building housing many families with kids was based on a complaint filed in 2016 by neo-Nazi and former parliamentarian I. Kassidiaris from Golden Dawn, as EFSYN newspaper uncovered.

“It was this that triggered the prosecutor’s intervention and the recent sweep operation during which nothing was found. As it turns out, the “law and order” doctrine even takes advantage of the neo-Nazis’ racist actions.”

EFSYN

The Greek Federation of Secondary Education State School Teachers (B-ELME) denounced the violent sweep and the arrest of the photoreporter. As they state, many of the 56 kids residing in the 5th school squat had been visiting public schools in the neighbourhood of Exarchia and have now been once again uprooted and out of the educational system since their transfer to distant refugee camps. According to the Federation, the 5th school was closed and left empty for some years by earlier governments, until being turned into a refugee housing space, after the fusion with another school – a procedure which in the year 2013 led to the closure of three schools alone in this area.

“The State must provide decent living conditions within the urban centres for refugees and migrants, the vast majority of whom are victims of imperialist wars, with equal access to health and education. Children – without any exception – have the right to education in public schools. We are opposed to the long-term entrapment of thousands of people who were forced to get uprooted from their countries, through the flagrant EU Turkey “Deal”. We are opposed to the totally unacceptable living conditions in the hot spots on the islands and in the camps in mainland Greece. The “law and order” that the new government is trying to impose on human souls, trampling on labor and trade union rights, is targeting universal human values ​​and achievements.”

Greek Federation of Secondary Education State School Teachers (B-ELME)

Also the parents association of 35th and 36th primary schools publicly demanded their kid’s school mates back.

“In recent days, buildings in downtown Athens have been evacuated where refugees had found shelter, waiting for what law, what government, what bureaucracy will proceed their asylum procedures. Their children were enrolled in the schools of downtown Athens, trying to integrate, learn the language, make their lives a normal one even under these conditions. But while it is the state that should ensure that all children are enrolled and attending school, while having ratified the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, it is the state that most violently deprives them of their rights, it pushes them to the margins, it does not respect their fundamental rights, it does not respect their existence. Because the school year has begun and children are removed from their schools without any notice, without even registering them and transferring them to other schools.

We want our children’s classmates back. Because it is the obligation of all of us to finally ensure a safe environment for them. Thanks to them many of the city center’s schools were actually not closed. Because political games cannot be played on the backs of children and oppressed people!”

Parents Association of 35th and 36th primary schools

On 19 September already 269 people (46 families) had been evicted from the two refugee squats Jasmin School (also known as 2ndschool) and Acharnon22. These raids followed earlier evictions of Spirou Trikoupi 15 and 17 on 26 August where in total another 143 people had been residing. Following the raids, the former “homes” got sealed up with barbed wire; windows and doors locked with bricks and cement and people taken away from their neighbourhoods.

Mostly families with kids but also many homeless single men fleeing from war and conflict areas to Europe to find safety, have been attacked during these raids and were taken away their homes and communities. Protection seekers already traumatised found themselves in early morning hours waking up by the shouting and threats of armed special forces, the massive police presence invading their temporary “homes” supposingly in order to “combat drug trade and lawlessness” – as government and mainstream media propaganda frame it. Refugees and migrants were transferred first to Petrou Ralli Aliens Police Directorate for hours of control. The ones with papers from Trikoupi Squats were temporarily transferred to an empty building, to Schisto camp and then spread to different camps. In Schisto they stayed outside in small tents for days. In Eleonas eight persons shared one room in a container “piled up like animals in a farm”.  Many rejected a transfer to distant camps such as Katsikas in the Northern Greece or Koutsochero near Larissa (also to Eleonas, Skaramangas, Thiva and Lavrio) and are homeless again today. The ones from Jasmin school and Acharnon22 were brought to the newly established state-run tent camp in Corinth from where they will be reportedly divided likewise the others to other camps all over mainland Greece.

People transferred to Corinth reported of miserable conditions as they were placed on a dusty field with 16 rub halls (big tents). Some already returned back to Athens, as they couldn’t follow their daily lives from such distance, with their kids being subscribed in downtown schools, medical cases being followed by doctors in the capital, people having found jobs there and legal cases being proceeded in Athens asylum service and the diverse embassies located in the city. Also residents of 5thschool residents were brought to Corinth. The undocumented from all squats were arrested and brought to the pre-removal detention centre Amygdaleza. (10 from Trikoupi Squats, 14 from Yasmin and Acharnon 22 while two families and 19 persons from 5th school remained in Petrou Ralli for their papers – information by 24. September) Reportedly, some of the detainees in Amygdaleza started a hunger strike.

„Most of us had to move to places around Thessaloniki, over 400 km from here. We don’t want to do that. They are playing with us. They have evicted us from our house and they have destroyed it, but they will not also take away the life we have managed to create here in Athens. Our children are going to the school in Exarcheia and we refuse to make them leave it and have to adapt to a new place once again. We want to stay here. We answered them that we will not go anywhere against our will. We keep strong.“

Trikoupi 17
Protest against the evictions of squats in Exarchia

“We are scared about our lives and our freedom and some of us have chosen to stay on the streets to avoid being chased and arrested one more time. They have tried to divide and separate us, but we continue to struggle together. They destroyed our home, but the family that we have created in Trikoupi’s community remains united. Against their repression, solidarity is our weapon!“

Trikoupi 17
Ideas cannot be evicted!

The governments attacks against refugee squats have to be understood in the broader frame of a (re-)introduced anti-migratory policy, increasing police repression, institutionalised racism and right wing populism which is used against any from of solidarity.  

With more than 29.000 refugees and migrants trapped in the Aegean Islands, of which 12.000 alone try to survive currently in the hell of hotspot Moria / Lesvos and a 5-year-old boy just lost his life there while playing in a carton box (24. September)…

With 5.000 who could actually officially leave the islands but have nowhere to go…

With more than 88.000 refugees and migrants currently stuck in Greece most of which are dumped in overcrowded camps far from local society and under squalid conditions… 

The focus of the state is to impose “law and order” in a hypocritical fight against “crime and lawlessness” while actually sacrificing what has been hardly achieved: peoples’ freedom, dignity and respect.

We denounce the attacks on refugee squats in Exarchia and elsewhere! No Pasaran! Solidarity will win!

Employ teachers, not police officers! 

Close the camps! Open homes!

For freedom of movement of all and the right to stay! 

NO ONE IS ILLEGAL!

W2eu / infomobile greece

For further information read following statements:

Press Release of the Greek Refugee Council (GCR) (in Greek)

Detained refugees and migrants in pre-removal centres in mainland Greece left to survive

The situation in the pre-removal centers in Greece is becoming more and more tragic. While the big NGOs focus on helping refugees in the open camps, about 2,000 other refugees – most of which are asylum seekers – are suffering inhuman conditions in silence as they do not receive sufficient aid and have to endure inhuman and degrading detention conditions. Recent photos from sick persons lacking proper treatment inside the pre-removal center of Corinth are shocking.

Corinth pre-removal detention centre is a 1 ½ hour drive from Athens an has a capacity of 768. While it had been used extensively in the past and was considered by the new SYRIZA-led government in beginning of 2015 as closed for a while, it was “re-opened” in December 2015 with the re-use and transfer of more than 150 Morroccans planned to be deported. On the background of a closing Balkan corridor, the government at that time chose return to all infamous policies of systematic detention starting with the Maghreb nationalities who as a total were not considered to belong to the classical refugee producing nations, but are generally seen as migrants.
Continue reading ‘Detained refugees and migrants in pre-removal centres in mainland Greece left to survive’

Refugees on hunger strike

In Samos hot spot and corinth pre-removal detention center refugees are protesting devastating living conditions and lacking access to asylum procedures as well as long waiting periods.

copyright: Hessam Ghafelpour

On 31st January refugee from Iran and Afghanistan in the hot spot in Samos started a hunger strike protesting against the long lasting asylum procedures, inhuman detention conditions and the restriction of their freedom. On the second day, one of the strikers

watch the strike here

copyright: Generation outside of Afghanistan

Yesterday detained refugees in Corinth pre-removal detention centre denied to eat lunch and dinner in protest against the bad detention conditions and lack of access to the asylum procedure. According to refugees, some of the detainees have been more than six months in detention. They suffer from bad food and the lack of warm water amongst others. Mainly people from Pakistan and Algeria are detained in Corinth these days. The refugees on hunger strike demand first of all their freedom.

interview from Corinth

Hunger strike against 18+ detention in Corinth detention centre

On June 9th, 2014 refugees detained in Corinth detention centre began a hunger strike to protest against indefinite detention. In February 2014, the Greek authorities had announced a policy of indefinite detention until repatriation, based on an opinion of the Legal Council of the Greek State. Only recently Athens court considered in an appeal-case of an Afghan refugee that the detention of more than 18 months is against national and European legislation and asked for it to be revoked.

Letter from the detainees:

Many undocumented refugees were arrested by the Greek authorities since a year and a half (August 2012). The massive controls and arrests were realised in a very racist and cruel way. People were brought in detention centres all around Greece. Without going into a lot of details about the bad situation that we, all these refugees, went through, our only fault was that we didn’t have a piece of paper.

When the detention centres were opened the Greek government published a law where the maximum detention period of a refugee was 6 months. Then they increased the detention period to a 1 year, then to 1 1/2 years and this is the maximum period that the Greek law allows today.

But then suddenly some weeks ago they even increased the detention duration to open end periods!!!!! This step was a racist decision. It is injustice. The aim of this is only to stop us refugees from coming to Greece, us whom we left our countries due to our suffering. Now we are forced to suffer in Greece.

With the systematic and open end detention the Greek government is massacring us. They are wasting our lives and killing our dreams and hopes inside the prisons. All of that while none of us has committed any crime.

Most of us are having severe health problems: both physical and
psychological. Specially those who stayed already more that 18 months are in a devastating state and desperately need support.

Today on 9.6.2014 we people detained in the detention centre of Corinth have started a hunger strike. We feel an immense pressure due to our unknown destinies. We protest against the illegal extension of the detention duration to more than 18 months! Continue reading ‘Hunger strike against 18+ detention in Corinth detention centre’

Refugee tries to commit suicide second time in Corinth detention centre

Members of the antiracist initiative of Corinth report that they were not allowed to enter the detention centre as “the was an incident” on May 2nd. Shortly after police cars and fire brigades arrived at the place where a young man was threatening to throw himself from the roof of a building. It was the second time this man tried to commit suicide. He could be finally hindered from jumping after a long period. He was in a miserable state of health as he had also tried to cut his veins being full of blood al over his legs and arms.
image002-7

antiracist initiative corinth (in greek)

Announcement of new rule on detention duration causes wave of protests

Protests in the big detention centres after declaration of an extension of the detention duration to more than 18 months

Today the authorities of the mass detention centres in Drama/ Parenesti, Komotini, Corinth and Xanthi informed the detained sans-papiers that they might stay even longer than 18 months, up to 24 months, or 36 or for an endless period if they do not co-operate with the authorities according to a new rule. In fact co-operation means here “voluntary return”. The only alternative is an asylum application.
It has to be noted though that according to the European Directive 18 months are the maximum period for administrative detention and this only if the deportation is feasible. Nevertheless, the greek authorities detain many people belonging to nationalities that can not be deported, such as Afghans, Eritreans, Somalis and even people from Syria.

copyright: Ta NEA 2013

copyright: Ta NEA 2013


The detainees in the so called pre-removal centres that opened with the initiation of Xenios Dias police raid in beginning of August 2012 have been already psychology broken by getting every three months the information of their prolongued detention for another 3 or 6 months. The limit of 18 months seemed already so far but at least gave a hope to an end of their imprisonment. Today the shocking information of even more time behind the bars led to uprisings, self-injuries and hunger strikes.

Yet it will become clear in the next days if the threat of another extension of the detention duration will get real or not when the next detainees complete 18 months. Reportedly a few of them have already received detention decisions that with an extension of the maximum detention period of 18 months for another 6 months – even before they have completed 18 months.

Refugees describe dire conditions in migrant detention centre Corinth

GlobalPost documentary shows footage recorded inside Corinth camp

Granted political asylum in December, Farhad, detained for 14 months at the detention centre in Corinth, said detainees were packed scores to a room and often beaten by police. In protest at the appalling conditions, he and others sowed their mouths together and went on hunger strike

“We didn’t have any choice so we started a hunger strike, we sewed up our mouth and we stopped eating and drinking. Anyone will do whatever it takes to get his freedom. Some people have tried to commit suicide to get free, others went crazy in there,” he told Anna Giralt Gris, who made the documentary.

Former detainees have spoken out about the appalling conditions inside the government’s migrant detention centres, in a short documentary that offers a rare glimpse into what the government calls migrant pre-removal facilities.

Amigdaleza detention centre (photo: reuters)

Amigdaleza detention centre (photo: reuters)

Continue reading ‘Refugees describe dire conditions in migrant detention centre Corinth’

Second Afghan refugee dies in Corinth detention centre

According to the Afghan community in Greece, Nezam Hakimi died on November 4th, 2013 after four months of detention. His cancer had not been treated during that period. He is another victim of the new mass detention centers for migrants.

Only four months earlier, in July 27th, Mohammad Hassan had died after 11 months of detention in Corinth.

facebook of the afghan community in greece (in farsi)
tvxs (in greek)

for more information on the new detention centers in Greece see:
AI 2013: Frontier Europe

for more information on the arbitrary arrests during police raid Xenios Dias operation see:
HRW 2013: Unwelcome Guests

Suicide attempt by Afghan sans papiers in Corinth detention center

On August 24th, 2013 an Afghani migrant jumped out of the window of the detention center in Corinth. He was seriously injured. Earlier, the detainee had climbed the iron bars of the windows, threatening he would jump, to protest his prolonged and inhuman detention. Only recently authorities in Corinth had announced to extend detention from 12 to 18 months. The injured man has been transferred to the General Hospital of Corinth. At the moment there is no further information about his health condition.

Around 5,000 immigrants have been arrested and detained in Greece since the launching of “Xenios Dias” police operation in August 2012.

al jazeera / Bridge to nowhere: Syrian refugees in Greece

Bridge to nowhere: Syrian refugees in Greece
Abuse and a cash-strapped government make it a difficult destination for those fleeing the war.
fotos: anna psaroudakis

Athens, Greece – Passage to Greece was probably easier for Daoud Abdo and his family than for most Syrian refugees. It took the family of five just two weeks to travel by bus to Istanbul and cross the Evros river, which forms Europe’s southeastern-most land border. But the journey was still fraught with danger.c8b6a3a576c11c5bcdd99807ba173974

Daoud said he and his wife fell off a platform over the river that they were walking across and into the marshes. It was raining and the swamp surrounding the Evros was deep. Daoud is convinced they would have drowned that day, were it not for a group of refugees from Bangladesh.
Continue reading ‘al jazeera / Bridge to nowhere: Syrian refugees in Greece’

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... 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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