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.
25 July 2013
Two boat tragedies leave migrants dead and missing off Europe’s shores
Separate boating incidents putting the lives of dozens of migrants at risk in the Aegean Sea today are a tragic reminder of the dangers faced by people seeking to reach Europe’s borders, Amnesty International said.
A search and rescue operation continues off the Turkish coastal city Bodrum, where a boat believed to have 13 migrants on board went missing early this morning.
Also today the Greek coastguard rescued 21 migrants who fell from a rubber boat carrying 46 people near the island of Chios. One of the migrants was unconscious when pulled out of the sea and was later pronounced dead.
“The sad truth is that we’re likely to see more tragic incidents like these as migrants and asylum-seekers flee economic hardship and conflict with the hopes of finding safety and a better life in Europe,” said Jezerca Tigani, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Europe and Central Asia Programme. Continue reading ‘AI: Two boat tragedies leave migrants dead and missing off Europe’s shores’
Yesterday the 159 migrants from Afghanistan, Syria and Egypt had started from turkey some days earlier heading towards italy when their ship got at distress at sea close to the Calabrian coast. Among them were 8 children, one newborn and four women. Four migrants had to be transferred to hospital.
Syrians are currently the second-largest refugee group to cross illegally into the European Union. Most of them arrive in Greece.
DW’s Marine Olivesi accompanied one Syrian-Palestinian family on their arduous adventure.
Sixteen Syrians minus a baby girl are putting their shoe laces back on. The extended family has just been released from the police station of Mitilini, on the Greek island of Lesbos.
“Did you eat in the prison?,” asks local activist Efi Latsoudi. “Did they give you food regularly?”
“Bad food,” answers one of the teenagers.
“And how many days did you stay inside?”
“With the kids?”
“Yes, with the kids.” Continue reading ‘DW: Syrian Families Greek Odyssee’
In the early hours of 5 November, a 31 year-old irregular migrant of Iraqi origin was attacked with a knife by a 50 year-old Turkish truck driver at the new port of Igoumenitsa. The incident occurred when the driver realised that the irregular migrant was trying to hide in the truck in order to pass through the port of Igoumenitsa to Italy. The Iraqi migrant was transferred to the General Hospital of Filiaton, while the driver was arrested by Greek police and prosecuted for grievous physical harm and the use of a weapon.
During the past few days the murder of a 30-year-old Greek in Patras on Saturday morning (May 19) was assigned in local mainstream media of Patras to “afghan” perpetrators. The increasing discourse on the violent death rose on MAy 20, the day of the burial ceremony. A group of approx. 150 indignant locals but also fascists members of “golden dawn” party started to move in the evening towards the industrial area of Peiraiki Patraiki where currently some sans-papiers live in transit. The fascists among the protestors planned to revenge the death of the 30-year-old some of them holding rods and other truncheons. Indignant locals argued with golden dawn members who wanted to use the tragic death of the 30-year-old for their own purposes. The police forces arrived just in time to prevent the fascists from entering the industrial area. The mob outside the industrial area was shouting: “Foreigners out of Greece!” After a while of struggle between police and fascists, the latter left only to meet again the next day as they announced. Small groups of migrants and refugees spread in the city were chased by fascists. There are yet no news about injuries.
video showing the protest of the indignant locals and the fascist mob
On May 22 the atmosphere in Patras is remains heated. Police forces arrived in the early morning in the industrial area and arrested some sans-papiers in order to transfer them to Athens (about three busses) – as they said in order to protect them. Anyway, for the authorities the incidents of the last days might be seen as an opportunity to empty the buildings from the sans-papiers as they are trying already since some months by daily sweep operations. In the afternoon of May 22 the sans-papiers who had been transferred earlier that day to Athens were all released. During the arrest there was no possibility for the sans-papiers to collect their few personal belongings. Some of their items were allegedly burned by the police forces.
In the afternoon members of the neonazi GD gathered from other Greek cities and marched to the abandoned factory space (Peiraiki Patraiki, opposite the new port). The approx. 350 nazis tried to storm the factory, brandishing crowbars and pelting rocks to the migrants inside the building. During the night eight police officers were injured and five fascists arrested.
21:55 GMT+2 Meanwhile, the situation at the southern front of Patras, by the new port, is escalating in a nazi riot, as allegedly a couple of hundred Golden Dawn supporters try to break through the police lines to reach the abandoned factory building of Peiraiki Patraiki used by undocumented migrants for shelter.
22:00 GMT+2 People attacked Golden Dawn MP Michalis Arvanitis, who was scheduled to speak at a local TV station. The nazi was attacked inside the station building.
22:05 GMT+2 An antifascist gathering has been called for this Thursday, 24/05, at Olgas Square in Patras.
On May 23 the police entered again the industrial area which is a provisory shelter for migrants and refugees, arrested and transferred the last 50-60 to Athens. Meanwhile the municipality is holding an emergency meeting concerning the escalation of violence in the area of the new port and the “problem of illegal migration in the city”. The plan of the local government is to increase police patrols. In a telephone conference with the Minister of Citizen Protection the prefect of Western Greece demanded an increase of the police forces in Patras to face the militias of the neo-nazis but also and mainly to force refugees and migrants out of town.
In the night of May 23 again fascists started attacking the riot police next to the port and the industrial area of Peiraiki Patraiki.
On May 21, 2012 an inflatable boat with 17 undocumented refugees was found during a FRONTEX aircraft-patrol on the west of Paleokastritsa in Corfu. The boat was driven to Paleokastritsa accompanied by a floating vessel of the coast guard.
On the same day another boat with 53 sans-papiers was found by the Frontex patrol in the Ioanian Sea at the coast of Preveza. The boat sailed with an escort of the coast patrol to the port of Preveza. The sans-papiers were arrested. A preliminary investigation was conducted by the Port Authority.
A big sailing boat with 60 migrants on board was discovered on May 13 at 4am by an airplane of Frontex flying over the Ioanian. The sailing boat was heading towards Italy. The coast guard of Kerkyra arrested 58 Afghans and two Iranians, as well as two Russian citizens. The boat had collected the migrants from different points near Parga.
Frontex is since months patrolling the Ioanian Sea.
... 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.
A 13-year-old girl of Serbian origin has died of carbon monoxide poisoning in an apartment in Thessaloniki, northern Greece. The young girl and her mother used indoors a barbecue apparatus in order to heat themselves, as DEI (the electricity supply company in Greece) has cut-off electricity because of unpaid bills. The mother was arrested for […]
On 25. November 2013 the Five-Member Naval Court of Piraeus found two out of three accused coast guards guilty for having committed acts of torture against an asylum seeker, including restricting the victim's breathing so as to simulate drowning and suffocation ('wet and dry submarino'), carrying out mock execution, as well as other serious at […]
Statement of the network “Welcome to Europe“, 6th of August 2013 Since Sunday night, 5th of August, the tanker “Salamis”, whose crew rescued 102 boatpeople is blocked on open sea by Maltese maritime forces. The refugees came in distress while fleeing via Libya in direction of Europe. Since more than 34 hours the ship is […]