“We could die without anyone even learning about it. It is our fifth day on hunger strike in the detention facilities of the Police Station of Moshato. We live like dogs”, says Armen Mourantian: “We sleep in shifts in a room full of dirt. Six people sharing three mattresses. Three full rooms. In the fourth one, which is the largest, they have cornered more than 15 people”.
5th day of hunger strike in the detention facilities for immigrants in Moshato
It was already past midnight when the young Armenian made a phone call to ‘E’ in order to make a plea for help. “This moment we are aloud to make phone calls. We were arrested by men of DIAS group [special police group on motorbikes] in the street. Our papers were expired. None of us has been charged with theft or any felonies. We are held for 7-8 months with a deportation decision”. Continue reading ‘We live like dogs and sleep in shifts’
On Thursday April 18 a Moroccan detainee jumped from second floor of Corinth detention center. He was transferred to hospital after falling on the cement. Authorities claimed he had fallen on a special mattress but his inmates saw him fall on the mere floor. While authorities claimed he had only slight injuries, his ankle is destroyed. The young man had started earlier together with other migrant detainees a hunger strike. Reportedly more and more detainees try to commit suicide. Only that day there have been 6 suicide attempts the hospital of Corinth informed!
The young Moroccan after falling from the second floor.
Just a few days earlier detained migrants had threatened to jump of the roof but were talked off doing it. At the same time large numbers of detainees inCorinth and Amigdaleza had started refusing food. These protests emerged once again due to the anouncement of the authorities to keep them for another 3 months in prison. Many of them are detained since the summer 2012. In October 2012 the detention period for undocumented migrants had been increased from 6 to 18 months.
Manolada strawberry farmers shoot immigrants who demanded 6 months salaries. More than 20 wounded in hospital.
The immigrant workers had reportedly gathered to demand six-months’ worth of unpaid wages when one of three work supervisors whom they were negotiating with shot them. About 20-30 of the 200 strawberry pickers from Bangladesh got injured. Local media reported that four of them are in a serious health condition. The employer has been arrested and investigations are going on.
Only one day later some of the in Patras hospitalised migrants instead of left to go home were arrested for lacking valid residence permits and transferred to detention for deportation.
Several thousand migrant workers (many of them reportedly undocumented) are empoyed as strawberry pickers in the area.
This is not the first time that immigrants in Nea Manolada have protested against harsh working conditions.
In 2008, immigrant farm workers staged a two-day strike (delaying the shipments of strawberries by at least a few days) to protest against harsh working conditions. Their strike exposed slave wage exploitation, shocking living conditions and prejudice.
The government at the time responded to the strike by ordering labour inspectors to crack the whip on farmers exploiting migrant workers in Nea Manolada.
Despite the country’s soaring rate of unemployment, agriculture is heavily reliant on immigrant labour.
In 2009, two farmers in Manolada, alleged to have tied two Bangladeshi immigrants to a motorcycle and reportedly dragged them through a central square.
No concentration camp, never and nowhere! … not even on Mars!
What started with a protest by detainees at the migrant detention camp at Amygdaleza in northern Attica, has reportedly spread nationwide. As many as 2,000 migrants being held at detention centers around the country have reportedly gone on a hunger strike since Saturday April 6, to protest the deplorable conditions, police violence and prolongued detention periods.
Riot police entering Corinth detention centre
On Saturday three detainees in Amigdaleza even had tried to commit suicide: one with a broken glass, another by drinking shampoo and yet another by cutting himself with a sharp object. The hunger strike was encountered by the guards with mere violence: beatings, tear-gas and other forms of cruel treatment as standing outside on one spot for 5 hours or denying visits of relatives and friends. On Monday some hunger strikers had fainted. The guards refused to call for medical help. “If you want to keep on with your hunger strike, then die,” some officers said. Police violence has been a constant issue in Amigdaleza and in other detention centers before. Specifically the violent responses of revolts and other forms of protest seem to be a rule. On April 20, police officers charged of ill-treatment of detained migrants in Amigdaleza will be brought to the court.
Riot police in the detention centre of Corinth. On the roof a migrant detainee threatening to jump.
On Tuesday April 9 at 21 o’clock two migrant detainees climbed up a chimney at Corinth detention center threatening to jump if they were not let free. After long negotiations they were talked into backing off.
The next day ongoing tensions have resulted in 47 arrests. Human rights groups claim the riots were sparked after police beat up a detainee who had refused food to protest the extension of his detention. Specifically, when authorities informed the detainees that their detention periood was extended for another 3 months more 65 migrants declared to start a hunger strike. One of them upon denial of food got beaten by officers. He reacted by threatening to throw himself from the roof of the building. Since the early morning riot police has started throwing tear gas inside the cells. Two cells were on fire. Around 13 o ‘ clock police forcibly entered the cells to repress the protest.
A police statement says officers fired tear gas at detainees alleged to have thrown roof-tiles at them and set fire to buildings in the complex outside the town of Corinth. Ultimately, a group of 47 Afghan migrants were arrested and taken to a nearby police station. They await criminal prosecution for offenses of – amongst others – resistance, disobedience, revolt of prisoners, criminal association, arson, attempt of causing dangerous and unprovoked bodily harm, aggravated damages, abuse and violation of the arms legislation. These are common charges for detainees who protest. In other protests in Corinth, Komotini, Fylakio and elsewhere, migrants have been charged the same offenses to frighten them off protesting.
The protest in Corinth detention center:
The general demand of all these protests is: freedom!
It is not the first protest since the opening of the new mass detention centers for sans papiers in Greece during the police operation “Xenios Dias” – a raid that started on August 4 nationwide.*
Repeatedly migrants in new and old detention centers but also in police stations that are being used also to close up sans papiers have protested with hunger strikes, through self-injuries and revolts. Hundreds were beaten when riot police was send to end the protests by force. Tear gas was thrown into closed cells almost as a rule. Dozens of detainees have been criminalised in the following when they stood up for their rights and brought to the court with different charges following the different revolts.
While hundreds of detained migrants in Greece are on hunger strike protesting prolongued detention and inhuman detention conditions the Greek government announces the creation of further detention centres. Six are existing at the moment in Xanthi (currently 440), Komotini (427), Drama (320), Aimgdaleza (1.665), Fylakio (2.034) and Corinth (1.022) with a total capacity of 5.000. With the new detention centres planned in Ipeiros and at least four islands in the Aegean, capacities are planned to rise to 10.000! In the centre of Athens police raids continue and many sans papiers as well as migrants with residence permits find themselves in one of the many busses carrying them to the Aliens police for further control and later – some of them – to the above described detention centres.
* During half a year since the beginning of Xenios Dias, approx. 80.000 migrants have been temporarily arrested, 5.000 finally detained for “lacking legal residence permits”. At the land-border to Turkey in Evros, where most sans-papiers would enter the country until the beginning of 2012, Xenios Dias included the massive influx of additional police forces to prevent border crossings. Since August border crossings at the land border consequently decreased by 95%, police reports. migration routes since then shifted back to the sea border in the Aegean.
On March 14th, 70 refugees started to protest in Drapetsona detention centre of the police station with a hunger strike against the extended detention periods. Two of the detainees had received another extension of their detention period for two months more. They were already nine months in prison at that point. the reason: lack of papers.
Only a few days later detainees who had been on hunger strike in the police station of Nikaia but had been split up and some of them transferred to Drapetsona police station were beaten by inmates on order of the guards. The hunger strike of 12 detainees in Nikaia had started following the beating of a inmate by the police. The detainee got beaten up when he requested to be transferred to a cell that could fit the 12 persons in a way that they would not need to sleep in shifts due to overcrowding.
On February 23, 2013 Riot Police antered Amigdaleza detention centre near by Athens in order to violently stop hunger strike that had begun on February 21. The riot police beat the detainees with clubs. Some detainees reported of broken hands and legs as a consequence of the beatings. The police used tear gas in closed rooms.
The struggling detainees protested against the extended detention periods since many of them are closed up since more than nine months.
On Friday 8th the detainees of Fylakio, near Orestiada, Evros started in the early night hours to protest until the early morning hours. The police reacted with their usual violent repression. Police forces came even from the next town in Didimoticho.
The migrant detainees protested against the extended detention period of 18 months by putting fire on matresses and blocking their cells doors. Eight detainees were arrested. A representative of the police sindicate of Orestiada said: “We demand the symbolic punishment of the arrested so that all detainees stop behaving in this manner.”
... 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.
Manolada strawberry farmers shoot immigrants who demanded 6 months salaries. 28 wounded in hospital. The immigrant workers had reportedly gathered to demand six-months’ worth of unpaid wages when one of three work supervisors whom they were negotiating with shot them. About 20-30 of the 200 strawberry pickers from Bangladesh got injured. Local media reported […]
SOLIDARITY WITH THE TURKISH AND KURDISH POLITICAL REFUGEES AND ACTIVISTS THAT ARE AT IMMINENT RISK OF EXTRADITION TO TURKEY NO POLITICAL REFUGEE MUST BE EXTRADITED TO TURKEY 19 APRIL 2013 AT AREIOS PAGOS (09:30 am) – SUPREME COURT ON THE APPLICATIONS FOR THE EXTRADITION OF ZEKI GORBUZ AND COMERT BULENT AYTUNC The deterioration in the protection of civil, pol […]
Since November 2012 more than 100 Afghan refugees have been protesting against the social conditions and the lacking reception system for refugees in Hungary. Already twice they went in front of the Hungarian parliament. Another demonstration took place in in front of the EU House in Budapest. Most of the protestors have been granted protection […]