Migration and Struggle in Greece

Prison and Deportation for holding a cell phone charger!

Posted by clandestina on 19 December 2008

A wave of repression against immigrants during the riots in Greece

In the last few days, there has been an explosion of violence and racism against immigrants by the police and the courts. In Athens only, over 50 immigrants have been sent to trial in flagrante delicto, with ridiculously insignificant accusations. This is the general picture: Express trials, no legal representation, no interpreters and a pre-decided charge of 18 months in prison followed by deportation. Most immigrants were arrested on the streets and not inside shops. Some were found carrying looted wares, some weren’t. In one characteristic case, an immigrant was charged with robbery while he insisted that the single cellphone he was found carrying was actually his own! He was imprisoned and is awaiting deportation. In another incident, an immigrant was incarcerated for carrying a cellphone charging device! He was also sent to prison. He will be deported too.

In Athens, Patras and other cities, cops, para-State groups and fascists seized the opportunity to organize pogroms against immigrants. According to the denouncement by Elias Ahmed, representative of the Union of Bangladeshi Workers: “In the last days extremist nationalists are ambushing immigrants’ meeting places. Most immigrants return home late at night, since they work in restaurants or do other evening jobs, and wherever the nationalists find them, they beat them up and terrorize them.” The representative of the Afghan Community Zacher Mahmat issued an accusation stating, amongst other things: “Two nights ago at Attiki Square 4 or 5 Syrians were beaten up. They were attacked by a group of 10 to 15 (…) Everyday policemen beat up immigrants”.

The police is working hard these days, with the excuse of lootings and unrest: Multiple arrests of immigrants, threats of deportation, beatings and mass transportations to police stations. On Monday evening, in an exhibition of atrocious violence in Omonoia Square, policemen were beating up immigrants for hours on end and dragging them to the nearby police station to be held (- let us note here that the Omonoia police station is notorious for its brutality).

And while all this is happening, the sensitive Interior minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos, -also head of the Greek Police (a post which he publicly announced he wanted to resign from, expecting that the prime minister would never accept his resignation)- is zealously getting on with his own business: On Friday 12 he and Merchant Marine, Aegean and Island Policy Minister Anastasis Papaligouras signed a declaration for the supply of equipment with the European agency FRONTEX, responsible for coordinating efforts to curb illegal immigration into Europe, at the former public order ministry with the executive director of FRONTEX Ilkka Laitinen. In other words, FRONTEX is congratulating the Greek police and coast guard for doing a good job and is offering them more arms and equipment…As minister Pavlopoulos proudly stated: “This initiative was taken by the Greek prime minister, and after this FRONTEX could eventually evolve into an organisation like Europol…I warmly thank mister Laitinen that the greatly successful NEPTUNE Operation [by FRONTEX], which was so important to us, was given an extension until March 1, 2009”. Ilkka Laitinen returned the compliments by especially thanking the “Greek Police and the Greek Coast Guard for their cooperation”.

But that is not the only cooperation beyond borders that is going on. The same goes for social struggle and solidarity. Governments in various European states are expressing their fear and caution…Let us prove them right.



We shall meet in the streets

Group of immigrants and refugees –

One Response to “Prison and Deportation for holding a cell phone charger!”

  1. […] late November the trial of 25 immigrants (mainly Arabs and one Afghan) took place; they had been arrested during the events of December 2008 and had been detained ever since.  All this period they were considered missing.  All of them […]

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