Today, a group of anarchists occupied a building in central Athens to be used as an open refugee shelter. Demos in solidarity with refugees/immigrants will take place in the cities of Thessaloniki and Patras on September 24.
The summer is coming to an end. The weather here on Samos continues to be sunny and in the midday the temperatures can be in the low 30s. But the evenings and nights are getting cooler. In the past 10 days six refugees that we know of have died whilst trying to get to Samos from Turkey. In a few weeks we can expect this number to rise as the weather and sea cools. We regularly meet with refugees when they land on the beaches. They are nearly always soaked through. The rubber inflatables are so overloaded that they quickly flood. They are not good quality which leads to them being easily punctured by a sharp buckle or belt. The engines, already under powered, often run out of fuel. The result is that the sea journey is nearly always wet, terrifying and arduous when you have to paddle with your arms and hands to keep moving on. This journey is bad enough in the summer but in the winter ……?
On Sunday morning, a boat with more than 100 immigrants capsized in the Aegean, near the island of Pharmakonisi. 34 immigrants lost their lives, among them 15 children. Port police saved 68 immigrants, 29 others managed to swim to the shores.
EXCLUSIVE: Migrants claim rogue Greek coastguard are ROBBING them at gunpoint and puncturing their dinghies in the Mediterranean
Migrants claim that they have have been robbed of their life possessions while on the perilous crossing to Greece by pirates
They claim that the masked, armed men may be a rogue element of the Greek coastguard and claim their descriptions fit
The UNHCR, Doctors Without Borders and Save the Children are told MailOnline they are looking into the claims
Greek coastguard deny the claim, adding pirates are ‘posing as authorities’… but admitted last month that one was a government employee
By Hannah Roberts In Kos For Mailonline
Masked gunmen from the Greek coastguard’s special forces have turned pirate and are robbing refugees in boats in the middle of the Mediterranean, migrants and aid-workers claim.
Migrants have told MailOnline shocking stories of how ‘commandos’ wearing balaclavas and armed with guns have struck in dozens of attacks between Turkey and Greece during July and August.
In some instances, the pirates made off with tens of thousands of euros in cash that the migrants had taken with them to find a better life in Europe – as well as mobile phones.
Victims say the mysterious assailants, who are light-skinned and speak in English and Greek, beat them with sticks and cut off their clothing and underwear to find any hidden phones and money before stealing the boats’ motors.
They then allegedly slice a hole in the rubber boats abandoning them to their fate. At times, the migrants have even been forced into the water.
Migrants, who call the gunmen ‘commandos’ because of their masks, have told MailOnline they believe the attacks are racially motivated and have pointed the finger at a rogue extreme right wing element of the Greek coastguard.
It is a claim supported by some aid organisations.
ISTANBUL — Just off the Turkish coast Tuesday morning, 40 Syrians were crammed on a rubber dinghy, desperate to reach Europe.
On board was Tanya Ibrahim, a high school art teacher from Aleppo, her 3-year-old son, Mohammed Jan, and her husband Abdeqaden, who filmed their dangerous journey. CBS News correspondent Holly Williams and her team first met them in Turkey before they set out.
They fled Syria two years ago, after their home was bombed, but they told Williams there was no regular work for Syrians in Turkey, so they borrowed $2,000 to pay a smuggler.
“We can’t live in Syria, and we can’t live here,” Tanya told CBS News. “For the sake of our son we need to leave.”
The family gave Williams and her team permission to follow them as they tried to reach Greece. They had good luck to start, with fairly calm waters, though their boat was overcrowded.
About five miles from the Greek coastline, however, an unmarked speedboat arrived from Greek waters. Abdeqaden said five men dressed in black pointed guns at them. He quickly hid his camera.
ISTANBUL (Reuters) – At least 11 migrants believed to be Syrians drowned as two boats sank after leaving southwest Turkey for the Greek island of Kos, Turkey’s Dogan news agency reported on Wednesday.
It said a boat carrying 16 Syrian migrants had sunk after leaving the Akyarlar area of the Bodrum peninsula, and seven people had died. Four people were rescued and the coastguard was continuing its search for five people still missing.
Separately, a boat carrying six Syrians sank after leaving Akyarlar on the same route. Three children and one woman drowned and two people survived after reaching the shore in life jackets.
Contrary to the claims made by the port police (that the young refugee died because of suffocation), the doctor in charge of Symi medical centre stated that the young refugee death was most probably caused by the gunshot he received.
A 15 year old refugee was, according to initial reports, shot and killed when port authority and FRONTEX officers stopped a boat with refugees in the southeastern Aegean island of Symi.
An officer and a suspected smuggler were also injured during the incident on Saturday noon.
According to reports, the port authorities identified a boat approaching Greek territorial waters carrying suspected undocumented immigrants. Then, there was an exchange of fire, during which the young refugee was killed.
Update: Port authorities unofficially say that the 15-years old refugee was already dead because of suffocation.
71 refugees have been found dead in a truck in Austria, as German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Balkan leaders gathered in Vienna to decide on how to tackle together “the biggest migration crisis to hit Europe since World War II”.
The vehicle was found on a parking strip off the highway in Burgenland state, police spokesman Hans Peter Doskozil said at a Thursday press conference with Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner.
Once, a long time ago, but not so far so as to pretend we have forgotten about it, thousands of people – familiar faces, and even more familiar names – began their trail seeking a better tomorrow. They were crammed up in trains, welcomed by hostile police squads, registered by authorities, slept in areas unfit even for animals, worked the worst jobs – and to top it all, they were branded as subhumans, scum and blackheads, so they would be belittled as workers, and become dispossessed as human beings.
Presently, the history of refugees and immigrants – which never ceased to exist, since states, nations and wars are ever present – is going through a revival, only this time, we are on the other side of the sea, awaiting the arrival of scores of thousands of migrants, risking their lives to cross the borders of Europe; a Europe that is culpable for what goes on in the lands these people left behind. With its army scattered all over the world, and in league with every authoritative powers-that-be residing in these areas, usurping resources and soils for centuries, Europe remembers its security whenever there is a price to pay for the choices it has made. How else could it be, when its policy, stretching from the English Channel to the shores of the Dodecanese, aims to devaluate human existence until it reaches bottom, and to promote a denigrated workforce in order to fill in the vacancies of its hemorrhaging industry?
In this context, it is not at all surprising that the “first time left” government passes the buck further away, being essentially indifferent to what will become of the immigrants, and attempting – in vain – to put on a charitable face. The hollow labors of this government, and mostly the attitude of its police (see police violence, money paid under the table, cover-ups of illegal acts in the process of looking after its own etc.), proves that all the above are true beyond any shadow of doubt. Besides, the Greek army continues, even in financially difficult times, to maintain its presence in twelve countries, based on the strategic needs of a state that never strays far from its militaristic humble beginnings.
The expression of a misanthropic and racist speech from the part of the municipal authorities is also unsurprising; whenever their façade cracks, all rhetoric about human rights disappears, the city’s public toilets are closed, the water is turned off, and their previous attitude is replaced by a far right discourse (“recapturing the city”, “there will be blood”, “not even water…”) typical of European governments; and neonazis, bulked-up thugs and other invertebrates are being paid to clean up the parks by force, dispersing threats all around.
At least six refugees drowned on Thursday as a boat carrying Syrian asylum seekers sank off the shore of Turkey’s north-western province of Çanakkale.
10 refugees have so far been rescued. The refugees were trying to reach Greece’s Lesbos Island through illegal means. The boat sailed from the Ayvacık district of the Çanakkale Province in the Marmara region, but it soon sank off the shores of Turkey’s Gülpınar village for unknown reasons.
The search team first rescued 10 migrants, two of whom were children and four were women. The team later reached the bodies of six Syrian asylum seekers.
The team is continuing its rescue and search operations in the region
Up to 19 people are feared to have drowned trying to reach Greece from Turkey, in the deadliest Mediterranean shipwreck since May.
A people smuggler’s boat carrying up to 40 passengers capsized on Tuesday morning between the small Greek islands of Agathonisi and Farmakonisi, 10 miles from the Turkish coast. One passenger has been confirmed dead and 21 have been rescued, leaving as many as 18 still missing. “We don’t know their nationalities,” said Stella Nanou, a UN refugee agency spokeswoman.
Saturday, the 13th of June, will be a day of mobilization of migrants in Italy and in Germany, with demonstrations in Bologna, Bari, Brescia and Frankfurt.
Migrants, together with precarious and industry workers, will say laud and clear that they are not going to be the ones who pay the most violent backlashes of the crisis. While migration enters the public debate as a steady «emergency», only when the massacres in the Mediterranean keep happening, a true and daily war against migrants is fought on the internal and external borders of Europe. The division between economic migrants and refugees, as well as the new measures to face the arrivals from the Mediterranean, are just other tools to create hierarchies and to reinforce the widespread belief that migrants are something to be «managed» and «relocated», to be «used», while they become an unwelcome «burden» when they are not needed anymore. Migrants are supposed to pay double, with the risk of losing the residence permit, the general lowering of wages, the precarity of the working conditions, the high rents, the cuts in welfare, the inattention of the local administrations. Something that is not anymore difficult to understand for all those EU citizens that are moving from one European country to another and face the accusation of being «welfare tourists», the impossibility to get welfare benefits, the need of bringing evidence of one’s own usefulness.
Europe is a space of transit and of ungovernable mobility, no matter how much the European government of mobility seeks to turn the movements of migrants to the sake of profit and political stability. On the 13th of June, we will say loud and clear that we want the end of the Dublin regulations that do not allow millions of people arriving in Europe to move freely across the borders. We ask to be a part in the management of the funds for migrants reception against the business that is flourishing on the skin of migrants. We demand equal access to social infrastructure like housing and health care so migrants can live their lives in a independent and self-determined way like everyone else. We mobilize for a European minimum residence permit of two years, independent from wage and income, against the European government of mobility, to overcome the distinction between refugees and migrants, to fight the hierarchies in society and workplaces created by differences in legal status that go at the detriment of all. The European minimum residence permit is a step forward to fight against the constitutive principle of the European policies on migration – that is the connection between residence permit and labor contract –, as a first step towards solidarity and freedom of movement!
On April 17, 2013, nearly 200 Bangladeshi immigrants working in the strawberry production fields of the Peloponese town of Manolada, in Greece, demanded to be paid the six months outstanding wages that they were owed. In response, their supervisors opened fire on them, injuring 28 people.
The controversies surrounding the Manolada case and it’s judicial proceedings seem to keep unfolding. The Bangladeshi migrant workers have not only been denied any sort of witness protection or financial compensation, they are now expected to pay legal fees related to the case.
The court recently ruled their employer—strawberry trader Nikos Vaggelatos—as well as one of the accused gunmen, Kostas Chaloulos, not guilty. Two of the other supervisors were, however, charged. One for grievous bodily harm and the other for aiding by omission.
During the trial, the legal team defending the workers asked for the president of the Mixed Jury Court of Patras, to be removed from her position. They said the judge’s attitude seemed biased towards the accused throughout the proceedings. Eventually, the judicial council rejected the request and, given that they considered it unfounded, ruled that the migrants should pay the costs incurred.
Fourteen migrants believed to be from Afghanistan and Somalia have been hit by a train and killed while walking along railway tracks in Macedonia, police said on Friday.
The migrants, who were part of a group of between 30 and 40 people, were struck by a passenger train north of Veles, in central Macedonia, at around 8.30pm on Thursday. The express service had been travelling from Thessaloniki, in northern Greece, to the Serbian capital, Belgrade.
MEDITERRANEAN HAS BECOME A MASSIVE GRAVE FOR MIGRANTS
More than 1,200 dead immigrants in one week, 1,750 people in search for a better life already drowned just in 2015. Human life is constantly devaluated and dead immigrants are treated as mere statistics. Fortress Europe murders daily.
The International Organization for Migration said the 2015 rate of migrant deaths in the Mediterranean is much higher than last year, when a total of 3,279 migrants died. That, in turn, was much higher than in 2013, when around 700 died, IOM said.
So far this year, 1,776 have died, according to the U.N. refugee agency, which also estimates that 219,000 people made the crossing last year. The deaths in 2015 so far are 30 times higher than the same period last year.
IOM spokesman Joel Millman told reporters in Geneva: “The 2015 death toll now is more than 30 times last year’s total at this date… when just 56 deaths of migrants had been reported on the Mediterranean.
The total number of deaths this year “could well top 30,000,” said Joel Millman. “We just want to make sure people understand how much more … rapid these deaths have been coming this year than last year.”
UNHCR has now interviewed most of the survivors of Saturday’s boat tragedy in the Mediterranean. According to the survivors, their boat departed from Tripoli in Libya on Saturday morning with some 850 people on board, including many children. Among those on board were some 350 Eritreans, as well as people from Syria, Somalia, Sierra Leone, Mali, Senegal, Gambia, Ivory Coast and Ethiopia.
Only 28 people are known to have survived the shipwreck, including a young man from Bangladesh who was transported by helicopter to a hospital in Catania, Sicily, on Sunday, and 27 people who were disembarked later by the Italian Coast Guard in Catania. From available information and the various accounts we’ve had, UNHCR now believes the number of fatalities to have been over 800, making this the deadliest incident in the Mediterranean we have ever recorded.
Here are the 10 points put forward by the European Commission and backed by EU foreign and interior ministers at a meeting in Luxembourg:
The EU will reinforce the EU’s maritime patrolling operations in the Mediterranean, called Triton and Poseidon, by giving them more money and equipment. The EU will also extend their scope to patrol a wider area of sea.
The bloc will make a systematic effort to capture and destroy vessels used by the people smugglers, using the EU’s counter-piracy “Atalanta” operation off Somalia as a model. EU officials said it would be a combined civilian and military operation but gave no more details.
The EU’s law enforcement, border control, asylum and prosecutors’ agencies will meet regularly and work closely to gather information on how the smugglers operate, to trace their funds and help investigate them.
The European Union’s asylum support office will to deploy teams in Italy and Greece for joint processing of asylum applications.
EU governments will fingerprint all migrants.
The EU will consider options for an “emergency relocation mechanism” for migrants.
The European Commission will launch a voluntary pilot project on resettling refugees across the EU
The EU will establish a new return programme for rapid return of “irregular” migrants co-ordinated by EU agency Frontex from the EU’s Mediterranean countries
The EU will engage with countries surrounding Libya through a joint effort between the Commission and the EU’s diplomatic service
The EU will deploy immigration liaison officers abroad to gather intelligence on migratory flows and strengthen the role of the EU delegations
Seeing the massacre in the Sicily Canal, we migrants, on the front lines of the daily struggle against the government of mobility and movement, declare that in the war of borders we side with the women and men who seek freedom. Whatever the reason: escaping war, dictatorial regimes, persecution or simply the desire to change life.
We fight every day to guarantee our rights against institutional racism, which seeks to silence us and make us no more than labor force to be silently exploited. Through assemblies, demonstrations and strikes we organize to demand freedom for all, against exploitation, precarity and racist laws like the Bossi-Fini legislation. We are here and here we fight. But we know that our condition comes from having crossed a border, a border that continues to follow us in the residency papers in our pockets and the daily racism we face. For this reason we struggle so that all the women and men who like us must move to conquer a future for themselves can do it without being blackmailed or forced to seek help from criminals to reach their objective.
Seeing the massacre in the Sicily Canal we say clearly that the “organizations without principles” are many: human traffickers, The European Union, the Italian State, the governments that use migrants as an exchange commodity. European policies, which continue deny freedom to thousands of women and men, are the main reason it is today impossible to reach the Italian coast safely. Those who want to go on vacation can take a ferry, those who wish to find a better life must seek out human traffickers.
If the Mare Nostrum operation had for a time limited the number off deaths, the effects of its end and the beginning of patrolling operations of the Schengen area’s southern borders coordinated by Frontex are evident. Those who now express sadness on camera that speak of migrants as a European problem are the same that said that Triton would be a step forward: merchants of death and killers of freedom. If the rumors of a naval blockade of the Mediterranean were to be confirmed, the result would be that we migrants would end up as the expendable pawns of a game of cops and robbers, between the “forces of good” of the democratic EU and the “evil agent” human traffickers. Two different sides, but both without moral principles.
Faced with the political crimes committed by governments on both sides of the Mediterranean we demand the right to move across borders by any means, without dying.
Coordinamento Migranti – movimento dei/delle migranti contro razzismo e sfruttamento
Last night at least 650 people drowned about 73 nautical miles north of the Libyan coast when seeking to reach Italy. They were on board of a 30 meter long boat that capsized when the container vessel King Jacob approached them for assistance. There were only 28 survivors.
This is the biggest refugee boat catastrophe in the recent history of the Mediterranean Sea. With its decision from the 27th of August 2014 to scale down rescue operations at sea, the EU is responsible for this mass dying. The EU has the means and possibilities to rescue refugees in the Mediterranean Sea. But instead, they let people drown.
Over the last weeks, we, as the Watch The Med Alarm Phone, became direct witnesses of struggles over life and death on these boats and of the relatives’ worries. We also witnessed how the coastguards of Italy and Malta as well as the crews of commercial vessels made great efforts but could often not prevent the dying as they were not sufficiently equipped to conduct rescue operations. And this is due to political decisions made on the level of the European Union.
Fortress Europe has caused ten thousands of deaths in the Mediterranean Sea in the last 25 years.
Those responsible are:
Politicians and police forces that have created, through the Schengen Regime, the general visa-duty and the organised manhunt of refugees and migrants without visas;
The politicians, police and military forces that have established Frontex in the past 10 years and have turned the Mediterranean Sea between Libya and Italy since the Arab Spring into a maritime high security zone;
The EU politicians who decided on the 27th of August 2014 in Brussels to scale down the Italian rescue operation Mare Nostrum in the Mediterranean Sea and enforced a politics of deterrence through Frontex’s Triton operation along the Italian coast!
They carry responsibility for the thousands of deaths that have occurred in the last months in the maritime zone between Libya and Italy.
The dying needs to end:
We demand an immediately created direct ferry line for refugees from Tripoli and other places in Northern Africa to Europe.
We demand safe and legal corridors for refugees to reach a place of refuge without the need to risk their lives.
We call out, beyond all confessions and political sides, to take immediate direct action against these murderous EU policies and politics.
A rescue operation is under way after a boat carrying an estimated 700 migrants capsized in Libyan waters, 120 miles south off Lampedusa.
Twenty-eight people have been reported rescued, while a number of bodies have been washed ashore in Libya.
The migrants reportedly fell overboard when they ran to draw the attention of a passing vessel. The boat is said to have capsized at midnight.
The disaster could become one of the worst over the decades of the migrant situation in the southern Mediterranean, which has seen the death toll rise over 1,500 since the beginning of 2015, Reuters reported.
“At the moment, we fear that this is a tragedy of really vast proportions,” Carlotta Sami, a spokeswoman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, told SkyTG24 television.
“The first details came from one of the survivors who spoke English and who said that at least 700 people, if not more, were on board,” Sami added.
Another boat carrying refugees has reportedly sank in the Mediterranean leaving more than 40 people drowned.
Four survivors of the shipwreck told Italian police in Trapani, Sicily, their rubber vessel carrying 45 people sank off the Libyan coast, the International Organization for Migrants (IOM) told IBTimes UK.
They were among 580 migrants brought to the port on Thursday. The agency said the migrants were found floating in the sea by a helicopter and were rescued by the Italian Naval ship Foscari.
ROME—Survivors of the wreck of a migrant boat headed to Italy from Libya said that as many as 400 people had died in the wreck, according to Save the Children and the International Organization for Migration.
According to some among the 150 survivors from that boat, who were interviewed by migrant assistance groups including the IOM and Save the Children, the wreck happened in the past few days, 24 hours after the boat left the Libyan coast, and involved migrants coming from sub-Saharan Africa. “Many young men, probably minor,” were among the victims, Save the Children said, citing the refugees.
The incident happened in the part of the detention center where minors are held. A minor refugee initially attempted to commit suicide by cutting his wrists and then set fire to the prison chamber, which was completely destroyed.
„We are on hunger strike. Close Paranesti camp. Bring liberty to obtain documents on our names. Being free is the natural right of a human being. We have to go on hunger strike for our request to the greek government. Being free is our human right that should belong to us. To go un hunger strike is to strike out on our freedom. Death is to continue strike. Or death or freedom.“
While in Greece the final phase of the hunger strike of left-wing revolutionary (17 November), anarchist (Revolutionary Struggle and Network of Imprisoned Fighters), and nihilist (Conspiracy of the Fire Cells) prisoners is ongoing2, getting a lot of attention in Germany especially from fans of the fire cells, another important struggle goes unnoticed in mainstream as well as movement media. On 23 March 23 migrants incarcerated in the camp3 of Paranesti near Drama in Northern Greece went on hunger strike. Their demands are: closing down of the camp of Paranesti, release and papers. Their hunger strike continues to this day (as of 04.04.2015) and represents thus the hitherto longest hunger strike of migrants in one of the Greek camps. In the following text we’ll report on the hunger strike, give the context and call for actions of solidarity.
You will get to know this country for real only if you don’t get drown somewhere in Aegean or if you manage somehow to cross the fence in Evros. From the detention centers in Amygdaleza; Korinthos; Paranesti to Patision; Amerikis sq.; Acharnon, the daily life for all those who have the wrong color or the wrong papers is suffocating. Or to put it better; unbearable.
I am on behalf of other prisoner in pranesti Drama Camp express our deep appreciation to the people who came to pranesti Camp and start demonstration and describe their supporting to us today afternoon at 4/4/2015. I can dare say that with the supporting of you people we can continue our strikes against imprisonment or detention . as a young teenager I cannot tolerate being in jail for this long time. we want the supporting of you and our demand is to be free . and as human being this is the right of each persons to freely live in every community. once again thanks alot for your supporting . we are with you and we hope that you send our demand to the high ranking officials . about closing of the Pranesti Drama Camp as soon as possible. because we have lots of problems here in the Camp like: food , health and other facility .
On Saturday April 4 2015, a solidarity action took place outside Paranesti detention center where a hunger strike is on since March 23. The inmates and the people in solidarity exchanged notes via soccer balls.
Hunger strike in Korinthos concentration camps started by 300 immigrants and refugees in Greece!
Many sick/No medical support/
Inhuman conditions, insufficient nutrition and dirt.
They demand their Freedom
Nine immigrants from Romania were kept as slaves in a village in Peloponnese. Bosses kept them imprisoned and unpaid under the thread of a gun and forced them to work for 19 hours, while they had to sleep among the animals.
Some escaped and revealed the story.
I am sitting next to Walid Talb. He is a very gentle and shy man. He smiles a lot and is willing to answer any question I throw at him; about his life in Egypt and then about what happened three years ago. I am not a journalist, you see, so I cannot keep up with the flow of a proper interview. Every time he refers to a detail of what they did to him in Salamina, I get a sudden, almost instinctive urge to change the subject, to get out of the café and get a breath of fresh air. I admire him for his courage. Walid Talb is seating next to me; his hat, his smile, his very existence act as a series of reminders.