Tag Archive for 'EVROS'

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The construction of the Evros border fence is completed

10.365 metres of fence of 4 metres height lead now on the land border between Greece and Turkey from Fylakio of Kastanies until the river Evros. The construction that began in May 5th was completed on December 15 and costed 3 million Euro.

kathimerini (in greek)

Protest of migrants in Fylakio detention center

On December 5, 2012 the detained migrants in Fylakio, Orestiada protested against the extended length of detention of up to 18 months. On October 19, the government had published a change of law according to which detention duration would be extended form 6 months to 18. Currently there are 160 detainees in Fylakio.

The protest in Fylakio is only one among many in the past month following Corinth and Komotini uprisings. As in the other uprisings the police of Orestiada announced also for the case of Fylakio to punish the ones “responsible” for the protest and the respective damages by charges for criminal acts.

See video of thrakine here

Skai.gr (in greek)

UPDATE: see new article about Corinth detention center from December 8, 2012 in Efimerida sinadakton (in greek)

Syrians report push-backs in Evros

Syrian refugees ‘turned back from Greek border by police’
Asylum seekers crossing from Turkey say they have been illegally deported by Greek police or blocked from entering

by Rebecca Omonira-Oyekanmi in Edirne and Athens – Friday 7 December 2012

On the edge of Europe, where the river Evros meanders towards the Aegean sea, a new tragedy involving two of the world’s most troubled peoples is unfolding. On one side of the river border are gathered clusters of Syrian refugees, desperate to escape the misery of war and put the Turkish camps behind them. But beyond the perilous currents lies Greece, a nation so economically bereft it has little time or resources for them.

The Evros has always been a barrier to those seeking asylum in the European Union, but now the surging tide of migrants fleeing Syria faces something new. Refugees, non-governmental organisation (NGO) workers and lawyers have told the Guardian that border forces have been pushing asylum seekers back into their boats and escorting them back back across to the Turkish side.
Continue reading ‘Syrians report push-backs in Evros’

Statistics on Xenios Zeus police raid for the period 4.8.12.-4.12.12 – Attica and Evros

In Attica 58.293 migrants were temporarily arrested and finally 4.092 were arrested because they lacked documentation.

478 houses were raided and searched.

4.971 migrants were either deported or returned “voluntarily” with IOM programs.

In Evros the arrests of new arriving migrants decreased 95%. Within this period in 2012 1.501 migrants were arrested compared to 28.656 in the same period of 2011.
Continue reading ‘Statistics on Xenios Zeus police raid for the period 4.8.12.-4.12.12 – Attica and Evros’

EVROS: Fylakio detention centre planned to be expanded

On November 1st, the mayor of Orestiada anounced that the detention center Fylakio was going to be expanded for the purpose of improved detention conditions but also in order to offer the capacity to detain person for longer periods.

see local news (in Greek)

more arrivals in the Aegean – more Syrian refugees

Following a police crackdown in Evros region since August 2012 the influx of undocumented immigrants into the country from the land border with Turkey has virtually stopped. Meanwhile the number of refugees and migrants entering the country via the Aegean has skyrocketed, with some 60 percent of total arrivals coming from strife-torn Syria.
In the Aegean dozens of refugees and migrants are arriving on the islands every day. Local authorities there are complaining of a lack of personnel, infrastructure and funding to deal with the people.

Meanwhile statistics released by the Greek police show that 60 percent of immigrants detained in the Aegean and in the northeastern port of Alexandroupoli, in Evros, since the beginning of September are from Syria. In the same period last year, only 1.5 percent of detained migrants were Syrian.

ekathimerini (in english)

Four new detention centres for Lesvos, Samos, Chios and Rhodos planned

Authorities are planning to set up four new reception centers for immigrants on islands of the Aegean (Chios, Lesvos, Samos and Rhodos) to cope with the rising influx of migrants and refugees into Greece by sea that has been prompted by more effective policing along the Turkish land border. The Greek police announced that in the period between August 1st and September 17, 2012, 44 arrivals of refugee boats were registered with a total of 831 refugees being arrested on the Aegean islands.

The decision to set up the centres was taken during a meeting on Monday between Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, Defense Minister Panos Panayiotopoulos, Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias and Merchant Marine Minister Costas Mousouroulis. The aim is as they say to prevent the incoming migrants from traveling to the mainland until they are deported. Government officials also reportedly decided to intensify inspections by coast guard vessels and members of the European Union border monitoring agency, Frontex, along the sea borders.

Minister of Citizen Protection Dendias also presented to Samaras a plan code-named “Ioni” aimed at dealing with an anticipated influx of refugees from Syria ad deterring them form entering Greece. According to sources, the plan outlines three scenarios, foreseeing the refugees’ arrival in Greece, Cyprus and Turkey. In either of the latter two cases, Greek authorities would help the neighboring countries. In the event that the refugees arrive in Greece, the plan is to temporarily detain them on Crete. Turkey is believed to be accommodating 83,000 Syrian refugees though authorities have indicated they cannot host more than 130,000. Reports suggest that around 250,000 Syrians have fled their homeland.

The old detention centres of Chios and Samos are already in the hands of the police and a planned amount of 95.000 was decided to be invested for their renovation following complaints of local police officers concerning the devastating state of the buildings. On Lesvos island the police officers also filed complaints about the detention conditions in the overcrowded police stations. As they said in the main police station of Mytilini there were 60 persons detained instead of the possible maximum of 28.

Meanwhile during one of the most recent arrivals on September 13, 2012, of sans-papiers on Agathonisi island half of the 58 passengers who had not managed to disembark when a Frontex patrol boat arrived together with a boat of the greek coast guard almost drowned when they were afraid to be pushed back into the Turkish sea and jumped into the sea.
On September 9, 2012 another 16 sans-papiers had arrived on Symi island.
At the same time the police reported on September 5, that arrivals in Evros have been reduced by 84%.

See:
enikos.gr (in greek)
ekathimerini (in english)
samos times (in greek)
embros newspaper of Mytilini (in greek)
embros newspaper of Mytilini (in greek)
rodiaki (in greek)
greek police statistics of reduced arrival in evros (see table in greek)

New border crossings into Greece: A revival of the old routes in the Aegean?

Recently the greek news are talking of a revival of the old routes into Greece through the Aegean islands. Since two years Evros has been the main entrance for sans-papiers into Greece with steadily increasing numbers of arrivals. Since the beginning of the governments massive pogrom against sans-papiers in Athens but also in Evros and the further periphery in the beginning of this August, numbers of arrivals have been shrinking in Evros and increasing again slightly on the islands of the Aegean (mainly: Mytilini, Samos, Patmos, Leros, Symi etc.). In August 397 sans-papiers were arrested on the Aegean islands compared to 168 in 2011. The greek government following this increase and the medial hype around the “revival of the island routes” asked Frontex for more support in controlling their sea borders. The request concerns 4 additional aircrafts, 4 coast guard ships and specialised extra staff.
Concerning the fate of the arriving sans-papiers, as it seems, the authorities on the islands have the order to keep new arriving sans-papiers as long as possible in detention on the islands and not transfer them to Athens. In some cases solidarity group denounced the lack of access to the asylum procedure for the detained. In a long-term perspective if arrivals will continue and grow this could result in the creation of new detention places on the islands (or the re-opening of old ones). It is yet unclear if the slightly increasing arrivals on the islands can be interpreted as another change of routes or if it is more of a short term phenomenon. Clearly, the medial referral to a “revival” of the old routes and de facto arrivals of the last days anyway also lead to an increased use of a fascist discourse by some people within the local societies (i.e. in Symi but also elsewhere).

read also the press release of the Doctors Without Borders on the situation on the islands (in english)

In Samos the local solidarity group published a number of press releases concerning the very poor detention conditions of newly arrived Syrian and Afghan refugees (among them also children, women and UN-recognized refugees from other countries) and the lack of access to the asylum procedure for the about 50-60 refugees. Since a few days the Syrian refugees are on hunger strike protesting their inhuman situation.

see also earlier post with the press releases

In Mytilini the last month there have been also repeated arrivals (50 and more in the last period). Sans-papiers seem to be detained in the police stations of the island.

In Symi a boat carrying 38 sans-papiers was seemingly shot by the authorities and thereafter sank (on September 4th). The passengers were saved and are in detention now. In total there were about 100 (or more) arrivals in this period. The police station does not fit any more detainees so that the new arriving have to stay in the yard and next to it in outside spaces. The Doctors without borders are offering some medical first aid, while the police is responsible for the catering. At the same time during a recent municipal council on the island one of the speakers proposed to call members of the fascist party GD (golden dawn) to “solve the problem” and “so that the guys don’t allow the boats of the coast guard to disembark the sans-papiers on the island”. The mayor of the island at some point said: “if nothing happens (from the side of the government?) then we have to tak the weapens and protect our island!”.

In Leros a few days ago 60 sans-papiers arrived – originally having arrived on Farmakonisi. Amog them were also small children. They were all detained in the yard of the coast guard and the police station.

see: indymedia 4.9.12

In Rhodos 20-30 people were reported to have arrived in the last days. At the same time their are rumours about the construction of a new detention centre on Kos island.

Evros crossings down radically

The number of sans-papiers crossing into Greece via the Evros border has dropped by 84 percent since the government launched a massive crackdown on clandestine migrants this summer, police said Wednesday to the greek newspapers.

According to official figures, some 1,121 unregistered immigrants have been arrested in Evros since the start of the “Xenios Zeus” sweep on August 4 compared to 6,991 in the same period last year. Arrivals this month have dwindled drastically compared to last year. In 2011, border guards detained 403 immigrants on September 1 while on the same day this year none was intercepted.

The authorities now fear a renewed influx via the islands of the eastern Aegean.

The mayor of Symi, Lefteris Papakalodoukas, told Kathimerini newspaper that the past two weeks have seen a surge of would-be migrants from the neighboring Turkish coast. “It’s terrible, some 120 to 130 immigrants gather in front of the main police precinct every day and there are only five officers on duty to deal with them,” Papakalodoukas said. Meanwhile, sources said that as many as 6,000 immigrants are currently gathered in neighboring Turkey, waiting their turn to board ships to bring them to Greece. Papakalodoukas told Kathimerini that two coast guard vessels have been patrolling the sea between Symi and the Turkish coast this week and arrested two suspected smugglers on Tuesday.

Police says a total of 16,836 people were being temporarily detained in the broader Athens area, out of whom 2,144 have been arrested since the start of the sweep operation for lacking residence papers.

ekathimerini (in greek)

Massive sweep operation in Athens since August 2, 2012

Greek police evict immigrants from Athens

Greek police arresting women and children


Following the operation “Xenos Zeus” Greek police arrested on Saturday 4, August 2012 in Athens 4.900 persons of which 1.130 were brought in for questioning. The police in a press release of the same day claimed that “national survival” was at stake for debt-choked Greece. The aim of the operation was “to send them back to their countries of origin, close the borders and ensure that Athens returns to being a lawful city with a quality of life,” police spokesman Christos Manouras said. 88 of the arrested are planned to be deported on Sunday August 5 in the night from Athens airport. The majority of them are from Pakistan.
Operation Xenios Zeus, ironically named after the name of the king of the ancient Greek gods in his role as protector of guests, mobilised 2,000 police in Athens and another 1,800 on Greece’s eastern border with Turkey. Continue reading ‘Massive sweep operation in Athens since August 2, 2012’

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