Tag Archive for 'repression'

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)

Statement by 5 of the Persecuted Migrants of the Moria 35 Tuesday March 13th, 2018

On the 20 April, we are scheduled to attend trial in Chios after waiting
nine months, trapped on Lesvos, while 30 of our brothers unjustly have
waited in prison for this same time period.  Our humanity has been
denied since we stepped foot in Europe, the supposed cradle of democracy
and human rights.  Since we arrived we have been forced to live in
horrible conditions, our asylum cases are not taken seriously, and most
Africans are denied residency in Europe and face deportation.  We are
treated like criminals, simply for crossing a border that Europeans can
freely cross.
Continue reading ‘Statement by 5 of the Persecuted Migrants of the Moria 35 Tuesday March 13th, 2018’

Solidarity structures in Greece confronted with criminalization, control and diverse obstacles

Since the dirty deal between the EU and Turkey was made on 18th of March the situation in Greece worsened rapidly. Safer formal ways through the Balkan-corridor were closed down already before by the European governments while more than 50,000 refugees are caught up inside Greece. More than 90% come from war torn countries such as Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan and the majority are women and children. More than one month after the closure of the border to FYROM / Macedonia they are still under shock by the sudden changes unable even to consider alternatives such as relocation, family reunification or asylum. They cannot realize and accept that this is the new reality they have to confront, with everybody being stuck in limbo under inhuman conditions in refugee tent camps all over Greece.


From Monday, 4th of April, on the return agreement with Turkey will be implemented with more than 500 people being readmitted from the Hot Spots on the islands of the Aegean which have been turned into detention and deportation centres in practice. Only the ones applying for asylum or family reunification and unaccompanied minors will not be deported back to Turkey. Asylum applications since a few days have reached unprecedented peaks while the Asylum Service is not able to deal with the many applications. Statistic concerning Asylum applications in Greece 2016 and Hellenic police statistics illegal migration according to nationalities 2016 first 2 months: 61022 Syria, 32776 Afghanistan, 21907 Iraq.

Resistance against deportations in the hotspots on the Greek islands started already: in Moria, Lesvos, the Hot Spot that is totally overcrowded with more then 2,000 detainees a group consisting mainly of Pakistani refugees started a hunger strike. They belong to the five nationalities that are already affected by the more than 700 readmissions that were conducted since the beginning of the year. In “Vial”, the Hot Spot on Chios, half of the people escaped after a revolt on 2nd of April from the closed camp and marched to the port of Chios city where they are staying since then. They are protesting and demanding their freedom of movement in order to travel further on. Today again another protest was started in Vial by mainly Afghan refugees against their deportation. In Athens demonstrations for open borders took place already twice with hundreds of refugees most of which were Afghans, a major group within the refugee population who can not take part in the relocation program and who are largely excluded from the few possibilities of adequate reception conditions. In several open camps on the mainland protests within the last week refugees all over Greece demanded open borders as well as for better conditions in the camps.

Already since several weeks solidarity structures are being increasingly criminalized suffering repression by the authorities and exclusion from different official refugee agglomeration sites. We declare our deep solidarity with all the people who have been since months on the ground, struggling for the rights and dignity of those on the way and a lot of times for their mere survival. The example of Lesvos, which was for the last year the island with the highest number in arrivals, shows how an amazing amount of solidarity and the many support structures could create a welcoming atmosphere even in the hardest conditions reacting immediately to emergency situations contrary to the formal structures of the government, UNHCR or many bigger NGOs.
Continue reading ‘Solidarity structures in Greece confronted with criminalization, control and diverse obstacles’

Pogrom against Turkish political refugees in Greece continues

In a press conference on February 18th, organised by the Solidarity Committee for Political Prisoners in Turkey and Kurdistan, the advocates Aleka Zorbala and John Rachiotis spoke about the recent arrest of four more Turkish refugees on February 10th in Gkyzi area in Athens.

The arrest is a continuance of a pogrom the Greek government carries out since all over 2013 against Turkish activists who live as refugees in Greece and during which more than 16 persons have already been prosecuted. The Turkish refugees in Greece have been exposed to threats, house searches kidnappings from the street, arrests, torture and arrests. As the lawyers stated during the press conference in case of a extradition to Turkey the lives of their clients are in immediate danger.
Continue reading ‘Pogrom against Turkish political refugees in Greece continues’

Pro Asyl / New Report released: ‘Pushed back’

Pushed Back – systematic human rights violations against refugees in the aegean sea and at the greek turkish land border
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On the Greek-Turkish land border refugees are systematically refouled with brutal, shocking and systematic violations of human rights: ‘When they left us in the Turkish waters they made waves again and six of us – all men – fell into the sea. The Greeks saw that, but they didn’t help, they just left.’ PRO ASYL documents these systematic pushback in the report “Pushed Back – systematic human rights violations against refugees in the aegean sea and the greek-turkish land border”. With few exceptions, all documented pushback took place in the area of ​​operations of Frontex. PRO ASYL raises the question of the involvement of Frontex on the human rights violations and calls: Frontex must end its operations in Greece.

Download Report (in English)
Summary (in German)

The new untouchables, An essay by Spyros Marchetos

The Monaghan Report on the scandalous death of Jimmy Mubenga during his expulsion from Britain highlighted the broader issue of the inhuman treatment of immigrants in Europe. We become more and more accustomed to their demonisation and dehumanisation; even worse, the recent “Go Home” vans campaign in Britain warns that immigrant-bashing might soon become something like official policy. A system in crisis needs scapegoats, and the immigrants come in handy here, being much sexier scapegoats than bankers. Could this be a prelude to a wider authoritarian turn? Just watch what is happening in Greece.

The plight of the newcomers has often been described in words and in film. It does not lack official sanction. Before the elections, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, whose extreme Right past and affiliations are no secret, decried that “our cities have been occupied by illegal immigrants; we will take them back”. This would actually be an act of charity towards Greek children: “Kindergartens are now full of immigrant children, and Greeks cannot enter. This will stop!” he added. Nikos Dendias, Minister for Public Order, put things into perspective: “Immigration is a problem perhaps greater than the [economic crisis]”. Such declarations are not taken by the police as implying that immigrant rights are sacrosanct. As for the judicial and the administrative system, they protect these rights no better. In all, asylum seekers are systematically detained and face inhuman or degrading treatment. This is not leftist rhetoric, but an official statement of the highest EU Court of Justice, which in 2011 put a ban on the deportation of asylum seekers to Greece for exactly that reason.
Continue reading ‘The new untouchables, An essay by Spyros Marchetos’

Uprising in Amigdaleza

ON August 10th detained migrants in Amigdaleza near Athens protested in an uprising against the extension of their detention from 12 to 18 months. 1.620 migrants are currently detained in this prison while it was built only for 820. In the past months different human rights organisations had reported about the inhuman detention conditions, about cases of police violence and forced “voluntary returns”.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ei-yh2FyPoQ&feature=player_embedded#at=15

Saturday 10th of August: Immigrants imprisoned at Amygdaleza detention center (near Athens) started a revolt around 21.00 o’clock. They protested against the deplorable conditions and the extension of their detention from 12 to 18 months. Many of the detainees face deportation following the negative decisions on their asylum cases and have lost hope.GREECE-IMMIGRATION-POLICE-RIGHTS Continue reading ‘Uprising in Amigdaleza’

Afghan man struggling for life / police guards in corinth detention centre denied him access to a doctor

The Afghan community of Greece denounces about the critical health condition of Mohammad Hassan who has been transferred to hospital on July 2nd from Corinth detention centre and is fighting to survive now. He had been detained more than 11 months. His inmates had protested against the ignorant police guards who were not bringing Mr. Hassan to any doctor despite his strong pains.

afghan community (in english)
afghan community in greece (farsi)
ert open

Migrants tortured with electroshock in their genitals at athens airport

I a recent visit of Elliniko detention centre Javed Aslam form the Pakistani community together representatives of KEERFA spoke with migrants who had been tortured in the Athens airport police. They had been first detained in Amigdaleza, then transferred for forced deportation to the airport. 0039

Now they are detained in Elliniko. The three detainees reported that they had been beaten and electroshocked. One of them reportedly had been boxed in the face, nine times electroshocked and kicked in the stomache. Another detainee had bruises on his back and sholder. The third one reported that he had been hurt with the Teaser’s electricity on his genital organs. He also showed injuries on his arm.

Furthermore, they reportedly were insulted and sexually harassed by police officers who asked them for oral sex.

roz karta (in greek)

The tortured activist whose fate tells Turkish protesters: don’t seek refuge in Greece

Bulut Yayla, a Turkish archaeology student and left-wing activist, says he travelled to Greece in April this year to escape imprisonment and torture he endured under the government of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Once in Athens he tried to seek asylum as a political refugee to escape an international arrest warrant issued against him after being accused of having links with an outlawed Marxist organisation.

On 30 May, Bulut, 26, left the restaurant where he worked, in the central Athens neighbourhood of Exarhia, to meet some friends He never made it. At around 9pm, witnesses say they saw five men beating him near the restaurant, forcing him into a car and driving off. Two days later, his family got a call from Turkish authorities, informing them he was in their custody, in a high-security prison. The head of Greek police later confirmed the car’s licence plates showed it was a police vehicle.

“He was seized, handcuffed and shoved by force in a car where they closed his eyes, nose and mouth, and tortured him,”

Continue reading ‘The tortured activist whose fate tells Turkish protesters: don’t seek refuge 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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