When it comes to seeking asylum, Greece is the gateway to Europe. But the Greek asylum system is a mess. Paul Mason spoke to one man who has spent more than a year on the road – in squats, living rough and for a time in detention – about the experience of trying to claim asylum on Europe’s frontier.
It was hard to forget Mohamed Lamhoud. I met him in a shattered factory in Patras, Greece, squatting there alongside hundreds of other young, male migrants. Their clothes were filthy; many had wounds consistent with being beaten up, or fleeing being beaten up. They were drinking and washing from a standpipe.
Mohamed was different in one way only: in his pocket he had a book by Jean Paul Sartre. And while I tried to engage him about the conditions in the squatted factory, he tried to engage me in a discussion about Nietzsche.
That was in February 2012. The 26-year-old Moroccan had been living there for months. As I left that factory, I never thought I would see any of the men living there again.
But three weeks ago, on Facebook, somebody friended me and immediately sent me a pop-up message: “C’est moi, Mohamed, sociologique.” Through Facebook and Franglais he was speaking to me from inside a migrant detention centre in Corinth. And he had big news. He would soon be released.
More than 150 temporary arrested and 40 arrested migrants until now. The arrested will be transferred to the detention centre of Corinth.
November 10th, 2012
We are a group of immigrants, illegal ones, who managed to avoid arrest during the “Xenios Zeus” operations that took place in Patras on the 1st of October. During this operation many of our friends were arrested and are now being held for no reason whatsoever in concentration camps (prisons). The reason for writing these words is because our wish is that our message will reach everyone who lives in Greece so that we can make certain things clear, because the State has molded a much distorted image of us.
Continue reading ‘Message from Migrants concerning sweep in Patras’
It is now commonly accepted that the previous months saw an immense increase in racially motivated violent attacks in Greece. Relevant reports in printed and electronic media reveal that racist attacks have become an almost daily occurrence. According to reports by migrant and refugee organizations, the number of known racist violence incidents does not represent the real extent of this phenomenon in the country.
Continue reading ‘Racist Violence Recording Network Findings (1.1.2012-30.9.2012)’
In the early morning hours of Monday Okctober 1, 2012 the authorities of Patras together with police from other areas started one of the biggest police raids that the town has seen. As the media wrote, the arrested might get transferred into the detention centre of Korinthos, in Patras and other cities/ villages around.
The currently 320 provisory arrested are closed up until now in one building of the Patraiki Peiraiki Factory in Patras were the police register them. As reported among them 208 have no legal residence in Greece- The ones who have no valid papers will be transferred with busses into detention.
The police sweep is still not completed and might be continued also tomorrow.
“Hate on the Streets”
On June 15, 2012 PRO ASYL together with the Greek Council for Refugees published a report on the systematic ill-treatment of refugees and migrants by law enforcement officers in Patras.
On June 24, 2012 a young refugee was attacked by a group of persons who had arrived at the place on their motor bikes. They beat him unconscious. It is yet unclear if he will survive the attack. As civilian witnesses observed, one of the perpetrators was a known member of the fascist party golden dawn. The civilians also witnessed that the police hesitated to react and save the victim.
Statement by the migrants of the Peiraiki Patraiki Factory
We are very sad about the death of the 29-year-old. We give our condolences to his family and friends. We are angry and sad about the barbaric behavior of those who killed him. Such individuals are not representative for all immigrants.
We declare our solidarity with the victim’s family and we hope that the perpetrators will be punished according to Greek law. We hope that the political parties and organizations don’t turn this tragic incident against all immigrants, because what happened is the individual behavior of a few and doesn’t characterize us all.
We are against anyone who participates in this kind of bloodshed. We don’t want any deaths and killings. These were the reasons that forced us to leave our countries because this is what happens there. Bloodshed, humiliation, exploitation, abuse of people from dictatorial governments is what we have experienced back there and why we left. What we are looking for is asylum, peace, security and a friendly relationship with the local society. In Patras, once we arrived, we encountered respect, hospitality and the help of the people.
We do not agree with some people behaving like criminals killing or robbing. We reiterate our deep regret for what happened. What we write is our view and we would like it to be heard by the people, the victim’s family and friends. We want the society of Patras to understand that what happened does not represent us. We are humans and we are very sorry for what the perpetrators did leading to the victim’s death.