Greek government announces pogrom and ‘ghetto’ for immigrants
Posted by clandestina on 30 May 2009
The Ministry of Public Order announced the launching of a post-euroelection massive pogrom of immigrants from the center of Athens, and their displacement in a huge concentration camp off the city.
The Minister of Public Order, Mr Makroyannakis, has announced the launching of a mass-scale pogrom of immigrants in the center of Athens after the euroelections. He pledged to “clean” the center of the city from immigrants and displace them in what he called “a ghetto” at the outskirts of Athens. The camp which will use the old NATO base of Aspropyrgos in the city’s heavily industrially polluted rustbelt, is expexted to hold more than 2,000 ‘illigal’ immigrants. The premises had been proposed in the past as a temporary concentration camp for immigrants, addicts and homeless people during the 2004 Olympic Games but the plan was abandoned after a huge public outcry. A wide range of social and political forces, as well as mainstream media, have been denouncing the new plans as nothing sort of constructing a concentration camp.
As part of the post-election plan of “cleaning Athens”, the Ministry of Public Order has also announced mass sweeping operations against addicts, which will coincide with the closure of Athens’ central methadone center, moving the facilities to hospitals.
Also the Ministry of Public Order announced that a third leg of the operations will include “sweeping operations” against anarchist and anti-authoritarian squats and social centers across the greek capital.
Public tension over issues of immigration has been accentuated by malicious media reporting on areas hosting immigrant workers, and especially the neighborhood of Agios Panteleimonas where fascist parastate groups have been imposing a reign of terror in the last weeks [Agios Panteleimonas is a down-town area of Athens whose local police station was found guilty a few years ago of torturing underage Afghan immigrants]. Locals claim that the neonazis with the backing of the police have been threatening anyone who does not take part in their anti-immigrant stunts. Even the priest of the local church has announced that he has received life-threats for his unwavering support of immigrants [The local church of Agios Panteleimonas, whose priest is supporting the local immigrants in defiance of fascist threats fell victim, to a parastate arson attack last night which destroyed its ‘food for immigrants’ resources. Fascist elements who are now permanently stationed in the square and enjoy the protection of riot policemen also exercised physical violence against a member of the Communist Party (KKE) when he tried to stop them from beating an immigrant. As of last week all public happenings in the neighborhoods square held by local groups (puppet theater, book presentations etc) have been canceled after attacks by fascist thugs who even locked the local playground so as not to let “greek blood be polluted by afghans”. The wave of fascist terror in the area has reached its peak after the mobilisation of immigrants in response to a police racist incident the previous week which targeted the Koran.
The official repression of immigrants has been stepped up since December, due on the one hand to a general strategy of counterinsurgency and the imposition of a quasi-police state by a weak and staggering government, an on the other hand because of the participation of many immigrants in the uprising. In contrast to what the bourgeois media have been presenting, immigrants did not only partake in rioting and looting, but also engaged in a critique of the system, as evident in letters and articles featured in the three issues of REVOLT, the magazine published by the occupied Athens School of Economics during the uprising. As far as the unofficial or parastate repression of immigrants, there are several analyses of the stepping up of fascist racist attacks, which started to pass through the public attention threshold in spring 2008. Some analysts in the movement believe this to be a targeted attack of Pakistani and Afghan immigrants, especially ones politically involved in the left, as part of the Greek state’s involvement in the war in Central Asia, and its secret ‘war on terror’ commitments. Others simply detect an opportunistic tour de force of the usual marginal fascist elements, enjoying the cover of a favorable government with a clear anti-immigration agenda. Others again believe that parastate attacks on immigrants and mass propaganda in Agios Panteleimonas forms part of an effort by so-called junta droplets and allied ‘patriotic’ elements in the so-called ‘deep state’ to create a social basis for organised fascism of the post-civil war type, i.e. semi-armed nationalist ‘self-defense’ groups enjoying a half-fearful half-profiting local consensus in strategic enclaves of the urban structure, thus providing with a reserve civil army for operations that the police cannot legally undertake, such as attack on university grounds, breaking up of strikes, attack on social centers etc. A simple but perhaps simplistic answer to it all often heard in Athens is that this is all part of a ‘strategy of tension’ badly designed and performed by a generally incapable regime.