clandestina

Migration and Struggle in Greece

Archive for May, 2009

So many reasons for anger to explode… Battles in Athens during march against police racism

Posted by clandestina on 22 May 2009

Text by the user taxikipali at lib.com org (here is the original post).  Photos: Athens indymedia post (there are more there).

clandestinenglish

Battles in Athens during march against police racism, many protesters injured

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Extended clashes broke our in Athens on Friday 22/5, during the second protest march in two days against police racism, after a cop tore the Koran and brutalised Muslims during anti-immigrant sweeping operations. During the clashes many protesters were injured arrested and hospitalised.

A second protest march against police racism took to the streets of Athens on Friday 22/5/08 in response to the incident of anti-muslim brutality two nights before during a police sweeping-operation against immigrants in the center of Athens. During what appears to be a typically offensive search of muslim immigrants at a local cafe, a policeman tore a Koran in pieces and stepped onthreatening the immigrants in compromising racist language. The incident led to a protest march on Thursdaywith limited clashes between police and demonstrators.

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During the Friday protest march immigrants and solidarity protesters of the left gathered in Omonoia square and clashed with the police outside the Greek parliament. The protesters piled the riot police with marbles, shoes and other projectiles, receiving tear gas and blast flash grenades in response.The march then proceeded towards the coveted Athens area of Agios Panteleimonas where the anti-muslim incident had occurred.

On the way, protesters smashed banks, expensive shops and government vehicles, before being massively attacked by strong riot police forces. During the battle that ensued scores of protesters were seriously injured, many being hospitalised, while 40 were arrested and remain in custody. One Syrian protester is said to be arrested during the protest march for allegedly throwing a molotov cocktail against the local police department.

7628885The riots that have once again reduced much of the capital’s center into a battle zone come at a time of increasing tension across the country, accentuated by both the political impasse after the surprise dissolution of the Parliament earlier this month, and the continuing pressure of urban guerrilla groups which once again demonstrated their resolve this week by bombing the offices of the Siemens affiliated corporation that has provided the greek police  with its new phone tapping and electronic surveillance system meant to frame the social antagonistic movement after the December uprising. The attack which injured none due to a previous warning call was claimed by the left-wing urban guerrilla group “Popular Will”, who also claimed responsibility for the bombing of the State Land Management headquarters last March. The greek branch of Siemens is involved in one of the biggest economic scandals of the collapsing  government, with its head on the run, and its deputy-head held in custody.

Here is a tvxs.gr video.

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URGENT support needed for the Ukrainian and Russian Anti-fascists!

Posted by clandestina on 22 May 2009

This is a libcom article reproduction.

Clandestinenglish

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

URGENT support needed for the Ukrainian and Russian Anti-fascists!

Submitted by Eastern Barbarian on May 22 2009

international call

Recent months have seen unprecendent levels of repression against
anti-fascists in Ukraine and Russia. Anti-fascists have been both framed
up and punished for defending themselves against Nazis. In Ukraine,
President proclaimed Antifa to be “extremists” and ordered
the law enforcement agencies “to scrutinize political motives” behind
the death of Nazi activist Maksim Chayka, who died in Odessa after an
attempt to attack 5 anti-fascists with his 15 friends. Referring to
Nazis as “patriots”, Yuschenko showed his sympathy with them. Soon
Ukrainian secret service SBU, controlled by president, announced that a
pro-Russian party was behind the death of Chayka. Obviously, this
incident is used by various political forces for internal political
struggle. 22nd of April, anti-fascist from Kiev was kidnapped, beaten up
and transferred to Odessa, but eventually released. SBU is also
claiming, that suspected killer of Chayka is hiding in Russia, and has
demanded his extraction to Ukraine. Even if that is the case, it is
unlikely that he will face a fair and unpartial court after
interventions of the president.

Meanwhile Russia, a country hinted by Yuschenko do be behind Antifa in
Ukraine, is also repressing anti-fascists with a vigor. 21st of April,
Moscow anti-fascist Aleksey “Shkobar” Olesinov was given one year
sentence for a fight in a bar in August 2008 which did not even took
place. 8th of May in St. Petersburg, anti-fascist Aleksey Bychin was
sentenced to 5 years in prison, for a fight with two Nazis (of whom
another was a police officer) in June 2008. 14th of May in Kazan,
anti-fascist Artur Valeev was given 4 year prison sentence for
inflicting minor wounds to Nazis who attacked him and his friend in
November 2008. In Izhevsk, police cooperates regularly with Nazis to
fabricate criminal cases against anti-fascists, during year up to 80
anti-fascists have been arrested for different cases and currently there
are at least two serious felony cases with 6 defendants going on. In
Vladivostok, court proceedings are going on against Yura M., who
accidentally killed one of the two Nazis who assaulted him in November
2008. And at last, Artyom Lokutov, anarchist artist from Novosibirsk was
planted drugs 15th of May, in a blatant attack against alternative
culture in the city as a whole.

Most of the provocations and repressions against Antifa in Russia are
organised by CPE, “Center of Counteraction against Extremism”, a new
police department founded in New Year to replace old UBOP,
“Administration of Struggle against Organised Crime”. Already before the
rebranding, UBOP was notorious for provocations and even murder of
political activists, so change of name was just final confirmation that
authorities are rather fighting political opposition than mafia.

But whatever they say, Antifa is not sponsored by powers of the “West”,
or “East”, we may only count on grassroot support around the world. In
face of increasing repression, and where a number of victims of fascist
violence is mounting (in Russia only, during first 4 months of 2009 at
least 23 people were killed and 98 wounded in racist attacks),
Anti-fascists are standing firm in front of attacks of both the state
and racist groups. Today, international solidarity for anti-fascists of
Ukraine and Russia is more necessary than ever!

Anti-fascists from Moscow, Kiev and all around the world

What to do?

Make an action, big or small, targeted against Ukrainian and Russian
authorities in your city 24th or 25th of May. If you do not have
embassies or consulates in your city, you may target any Ukrainian or
Russian major business, most proper target being the Gazprom
corporation, which is pretty much the same as the Russian state. List of
Gazprom subsidiaries is available for example here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Gazprom%27s_subsidiaries

If you make an action, please report back to abc-msk AT riseup DOT net!

For more information on recent repression:

http://antifa-action.org.ua/
http://avtonom.org/abc (site currently down at times due to server upgrade)
http://www.myspace.com/abcmsc

A call to action in London 24th of May:
http://www.ainfos.ca/en/ainfos22644.html
This text in Russian: http://avtonom.org/index.php?nid=2526

 

Read more about the situtation in Ukraine at Read more about the situtation in Ukraine at http://crossingborder.livejournal.com/

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Pakistanis in Greece: the misfortune of being a refugee in a state that participates in a war against the state you left your family and friends …

Posted by clandestina on 22 May 2009

This is the English version of an article in this month’s Sarajevo Zine (www.sarajevomag.gr).  It is about the organized assaults against Pakistani immigrants in Athens we have posted about and does grasp various things we agree with: that “spontaneous” racist violence is not that “blind” ; that the notorious political inactivity of the majority of immigrants is not a result of apathy but a decision under various heavy pressures – in this case the pressure of a war ; that Greece’s “soft” imperialism  does  play its “soft” but deadly part in the frame of its coalitions ; that “sophisticated” analysts do provide these policies with rational backbones by means of their “sophisticated” mystifications.

We retain the spelling of the original Greek text – and have changed slightly the paragraph struture.   Here are the first paragraphs of the specific article in the zine’s webplace.  We thank the Sarajevo Zine editors for their help.

clandestinenglish

 

Pakistanis in Greece: the misfortune of being a refugee in a state that participates in a war against the state you left your family and friends … 

 

The fasco-thugs took it off again to day work.  Ambushes, bully attacks, assaults against immigrants from Pakistan in “above suspicion”, so to speak, neighborhoods, such as N. Ionia, Galatsi, Perissos, Kalogreza, Iraklion[1] … This is one more link in the chain of districts that includes Redi, Aigaleo, Kolonos[2]The outset of this methodic violence coincided “marvelously”with the summer of 2005, when squads of the greek secret services in collaboration with the english one “wiped out legally” thousands of immigrants from pakistan – and kidnapped «illegally» a few dozens…[3] 
Does anybody want to buy into the fairy tale that some fascists themselves discovered that the immigrants from pakistan are “eligible targets”, after having discovered the very [national] importance of the state of pakistan?  We don’t.  In this case, for the particular national group of immigrants / refugees, things look worse, much worse than a «racists-clacker-foreigners» scenario. 

The immigrants / refugees from pakistan (along with the ones from afghanistan, iraq, palestine and some african states) do not come around here hunted by poverty alone.  They come here chased by fascist regimes, and, primarily, they come here chased by wars, the ones erupting under the ongoing 4th World War.  The greek state is directly involved in some of these wars. In these wars the Greek state plays an absolutely “positive” part, even if an indirect one, through the cooperation with its allies in the war’s “rear”. 

This is what the greek government did in July 2005, this is the frame under which it acted the way it did: it was involved in a war, the “war against terrorism” (ie: the alliance with the anglo-americans) – against the migrants from pakistan.   Why then pakistan in 2005?  Well, the greek state would conduct operations against pakistan because even then  –“that early”-  pakistan was the actual target of the anglo-americans, despite the fact they were still typically fighting in afghanistan. 

It is a mistake to see migrants, any immigrants, as apolitical.  And the mistake is grosser in the case of immigrants from areas with a long history of social or political struggles, emergency regimes, wars…   The fact that one goes away from home does not mean that s/he has no opinion about what one leaves behind.   Immigrant communities, if one insists to treat them as such – communities, that is – do not only bear particular political characteristics, but also strong political oppositions within.  How could the case of Pakistanis be different, since the (unknown to us) history of pakistan is in so many respects an intense history? 

What, then, should one expect immigrants to do, if their country of origin had been bombed by the usa; if it had been officially designated as an “integrated warfield” together with afghanistan; if it had been predestinated to disintegrate (in a bloodbath), huh?  As far as we are concerned, we would expect that they would do everything they could to grab the attention of the society where they now reside on the issue; they would try to secure support (and resources) for what they thought as the resistance to these developments; they would organize protests (which may depart from different political standpoints) against the americans; and so on.  These would be the core manifestations of their political characteristics “in exilio”.   One might compare here what the Greek immigrants (and refugees) were doing in germany, italy or france during the greek junta … 

The thing is that greece, as a state, participates in war against Pakistan as well!  It may be doing so “indirectly” – and the abduction and interrogation of Pakistanis in the summer of 2005, what else might that be if not participation?  So immigrants from Pakistan  know very well that they are politically clandestine here.   And they cannot get away with it only by operating in a discreet manner.  As the war in “afpak” progresses, they are and will be increasingly targeted by the greek State and/or its allies. Especially the most politicized or the most active ones among them… 

In our humble opinion, this – the “unorthodox” war carried out by the greek state against politicized immigrants from pakistan –  is where the para-statals, whatever the fuck they are, enter the picture. They undertake the job of terrorizing which is a component of the war in the rear.  And it is possible that, in addition to the general terrorism, they have undertaken the “special treatment” of specific pakistanis.   Since the greek government cannot officially act – yet – against “members of the enemy” in its territory, it might very well have assigned “informal” hands for the job. 

The timing might be a coincidence, yet, the stakes are clear for one to see.  Just two days after the immigrants from pakistan openly complained about the ambushes/assaults against them, on Sunday, the 26th of April, the official organ of the anglo-greek alliance, the “Kathimerini” newspaper, dedicated a full page tribute, assuming in a way the «political responsibility” for these attacks. When we say «in a way the political responsibility for these attacks» we mean that it provided with the the political context that makes them understandable, even «reasonable»; no, it does not encourage anyone to “break pakistanis”… That would be a gross approach on the issue!  This falls under jurisdictions other than the one of a daily newspaper of mass circulation. 

So reads the first page of the newspaper article: 

…The empowerment of Islamic guerrillas in Pakistan, with its nuclear armament, poses a threat to regional stability and generates fears for the potential for radicalization of Pakistani immigrants in European countries like Greece … 
What the author leaves out of his story’s morale is why such a radicalization would be against the Greek state… 

Meanwhile, in the full page feature, one may find comments such as: 
… The head of the State Department [the American Foreign Minister Hillary Clinton] said in the Congress that Pakistan faces an “existencial threat”. “I think that the Pakistani government is basically abdicating to the Taliban and to the extremists » she noted, adding that would the situation deteriorate, it would result in a «mortal threat to the security of the United States and the world» (by Declan Walsh, the Guardian).

… Today, nearly all leadership of the «global jihad» is concentrated on the Pakistani border.  When Washington realized this, it was already too late … (by Nikos Chrysoloras).

… At the same time, however, Greece is a western country, thus a potential target of radical Islamic organizations.  Moreover, the reluctance to fully incorporate a minimum percentage of immigrants – from all backgrounds – with the provision of citizenship to children born or raised in Greece may set the scene of the emergence of a pool of young people without future prospects, who could be recruited as members by either organized crime groups, or domestic or Islamic terrorist organizations.  Of course, the overwhelming majority of Pakistanis are very hard working and peaceful people, but the despair and intolerance stand for strong motives … Moreover, given the poor international image our country bears today , we do not want to turn into the soft underbelly of Europe’s security, the easy passage of radical elements from Pakistan and other Islamic countries to Western Europe … (by Thanasis Ntokos, Executive Director of the ‘Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy’ – ELIAMEP)[4].

… Migration from Afghanistan since five years or so has its own dynamics, due to a very wide spectrum of reasons which are not directly related to the occupation of this region by the Talibans. Pakistanis on the other hand, and the immigrants who come mostly from other provinces, northeastern Punjab, that is, they also move to Europe in the context of wider upheavals … (by Plamen Tonchev, head of the Asian Studies Department at the Institute of International Economic Relations’ – IDOS). 

It comes as no surprise of course that none of them says “break their heads”! This can’t be written by serious analysts; this is done by thugs. The good and serious analysts do other things. 

  • They misrepresent any internal tension in pakistan as «the work of fanatics», not as the implementation of planning by Washington, London and their allies around there and anywhere the world. 
  • They misrepresent any active politicization against the imperialist war in central asia as [products of] «hopelessness and intolerance». 
  • They misrepresent the resistance against the occupiers of afghanistan (the greek army included) as “terrorism”. 
  • They misrepresent the forced flee of refugees as some general and vague (and possibly fraudulent) “moving of populations”. 

Everyone, whether in Washington, London, or Athens, agrees, that, along with the emphasis on the necessity to “prevent evil”, the above are the essential elements of  “in a way assuming the political responsibility” for the prolonged campaign of terrorizing “the extremists, the desperate ones, and the intolerants anywhere in this world”…

 


[1] Clandestinenglish note: “Typical” lower middle class districts.

[2] Clandestinenglish note: Mostly working class/low income districts, with high rates of long residing immigrant population.

[3] Clandestinenglish note: the “Abduction of Pakistanis” and their interrogation on CIA airplanes of that period “leaked”, creating some short-lived scandalous sensation for the involvement of Greece in “Guantanamo-like” operations.

[4] Clandestinenglish note: a Greek “think tank” institute, strongly associated with the “EU-convergence-integration” orientation of the “modernizing” paradigm/discourse in the Greek politics  that prevailed since the mid 1990s.  It is also working  on the “INTERATLANTIC” (Angloamerican/NATO) axis of Greece’s alliances [isn’t this supposed to be a contradiction 😉 ]? Among its executive council members one may find the ceo of coca cola hellas.  It does have an active department about immigration, human rights blah blah…

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No Concentration Camp Nowhere! Demo at Patras against the construction of refugee camp

Posted by clandestina on 22 May 2009

 

no to concentration camps in MOMA, in Drapano, nowhere... no to the destruction of refugees'last resorts

no to concentration camps in MOMA, in Drapano, nowhere... no to the destruction of refugees'last resorts

A demo took place yesterday in Patras called by Antiauthoritarian Movement, ΝΑΡ, νΚΑ & ΕΕΚ against the under construction refugee concentration camp at the area MOMA at Patras and the demolition of the Patras port refugee camp (this means that the police today attacked both Afghans at the Port refugee camp and Roma people at the new camp construction site area, source: patras indymedia).  Here is the call for the demo in Greek.   A report from the demo said it was a succesfull one and lasted almost 4 hours covering a long distance in Patras.  Despite the constant attacks by the police, the tightening of surveillance and the pressures by various sides which have made many immigrants reluctant to fight against this development, many immigrants joined the demo.  

Below is a text in English from Patras indymedia about the demo and the developments there, source: here.

What is happening and will happen these days and weeks with Immigrants and Refugees in Patras

Until the end of this month, the government has announced new decisions for Patra and Immigrants. After pressure from local authorities, media, racist people, police and port police, the government decided to clear the city from immigrants, from you, in order to satisfy all the previous. So, for the next days and until the end of this month the police forces are planning arrests of migrants/refugees without papers and to transfer them in a army-camp, about 6-8 kilometers out of Patra. This camp will be closed with fences, controlled by the police, meaning that the immigrants will be like prisoners, until the time to deport them. At the same period, the places/camps where Afghans, Somalians, Arabs and other immigrants live now, will be destroyed. The authorities promise that in the new camp they will provide food, water and cleanness. But what’s the worth of that, neither papers and job nor freedom they give to immigrants. And referring to the conditions inside the new prison camp, it is just lies. As we can see from other detention centers in Greece, after some weeks the arrests are increased, the prisoners inside the camp are increased, with final result the immigrants to be piled on each other, like animals. Also, the police and the port police will be increased, in order to make more arrests and locate the immigrants that go inside the port and the tracks.

It is obvious that all these decisions are against you. They just want to make you disappear, because for all these people you are just a problem in their feet. Not only in Greece, but also in every country in Europe. Most countries have started the same effort to get rid of the immigrants, by jailing and deporting them , by denying to offer them any type of help. All countries, and Italy and France and England and Germany…..ALL! So, the war for you is everywhere, not only in your homeland.

a refugee hit by car.  despite his condition he followed the demo.  in the background the barbwire fences of Patras port

a refugee hit by car. despite his condition he followed the demo. in the background the barbwire fences of Patras port

What we propose to do these days and weeks

Because of all these things, we must finally react, fight, if we want to hope for a better tomorrow for us and for our children. To react all together, Afghans, Somalians, Palestinians, Iranians, Moroccans, Algerians, Tunisians, Iraqis, Africans, Greeks, all. Not each one alone, no more fighting between immigrants. All together we stand, we are many, we have common needs, we are equal. We react all together, because if we not, then we are all going to lose. This is what we propose for the next days: We propose to have a meeting all together, to discuss and to take decisions on how we will react to the future that they prepare for immigrants without asking them. We have nothing to lose, neither you nor we.

Who are we that we say these things and what we have done in the past.

We are students, workers, unemployed, common people that we have papers, but our freedom is half freedom, when the people next to us are like prisoners, without freedom, like immigrants are. As you don’t have home, job and rights, in the same way our home, jobs and rights are in doubt every day. These people who chase you, put you in prisons, make laws against you, deny you every right in decent and respectful life, these are the same people who put in doubt and attack our rights and needs. So this is a common struggle for our rights, our needs, our lives against those who contestate and steal them. We want equal rights for all, and for you also. The enemy is common, the needs are common, so and the fight must be common. We believe that we are not different from you, that you deserve the same rights (education, work, insurance, medical care). We are against human to human exploitation, we express our solidarity to/with anyone who gets oppressed and resists to this oppression. We do not ask for your votes and we do not aim to take votes by helping you. We are common young people, workers and unemployed, ready to stand side by side with anyone who resists, reacts and fights. We will stand next to you, not behind you, not in front of you. We are equal, we decide all together.

Last year we resisted together with the Afghan Camp against its destruction, we provided as much material, medical, educational and legal support as could. We tried through demonstrations, open discussions, concerts to make the voice of the immigrants for dignity and freedom gets heard.

DEMONSTRATION ON 21st of May, meeting at 7.00, Olgas Square

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Pogrom against Somalis and Sudanese in Patras

Posted by clandestina on 22 May 2009

Around 60 Somalis and Sudanese imigrants were virually hunted and captured (=arrested) by the police in Patras.  They were then detained at the police headquarteres of the nearby town of Patras.  Now in the detention room there are 80 immigrants, despite the fact that the space there is hardly enough for 30.  The detainees were yesterday visited by members of the Movement for the Advocacy of Migrant and Refugee Rights.  10 migrants have applied for political asylum, but communication is dificult since there is no interpretator.   There is some info suggesting that the immigrants will be either tranferred to Athens or deported.  There is a protest gathering today outside Pyrgos police at 13.00.  

info: Athens Indymedia Article, Patras Indymedia Article, tvxs article.

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Sweep operation in Aghios Panteleimon, Athens, demo for the “respect of religion”, and more achievements of the Acropolis’ cops

Posted by clandestina on 21 May 2009

sources: athens indymedia articles here & here, and tvxs article

clandestinenglish

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The “tough” public order minister’s doctrine is clear: cops should listen to “citizens”, provided that they are racist enough.  Building on the para-statal “indignant citizens” (ie a few dozens of fascists, their cops dressed up as citizens and their paid for the job collaborators) bullshit, the cops launched an attack on Agios Panteleimonas district last night with hundreds of “stop-and-search” controls and about 12 arrests of “sans-papiers” (the rest of the anti-criminal crusades grand achievements were the arrests of 26 people for prostitution, 2 for illegal gambling, 1 for forged documents and 1 for possessing  guns).  [Aghios Panteleimon has been the epicentre of the miserable efforts by Golden Dawn fascists to present themselves as protesting residents of districts flooded with immigrants].

During the operation one of the cops tore the Quran one of the immigrants had with him.  At the moment (Thursday afternoon) a protest for the respect of religion is taking place on the spot.

UPDATE # 1: According to this indy.gr article 3000 immigrants joined the protest.   The demonstration was predictably assaulted by riot police with teargases.  

UPDATE # 2:

news agency report

Immigrants, Athens’ cops clash over Qur’an

Greek police fired tear gas at hundreds of Muslim immigrants in Athens protesting reports that an officer had desecrated a Qur’an.

Around 1,500 demonstrators marched through the working class district of Kypseli towards the Omonia Square in the city center, where there were scuffles with officers and tear gas was fired, the police said.

Some demonstrators also threw dustbins and stones at the police station in the Kypseli district, injuring one officer and damaging a car. Officers fired tear gas to break up the crowd.

The people who took to the streets said that on Wednesday, when police officers stopped four Syrian immigrants to check their papers, one of the officers had torn up a Qur’an and stomped it with his foot.

After word spread of the alleged incident, the local Muslim immigrant community, mainly from Afghanistan and Pakistan, organized Thursday’s protest.

Immigrant’s rights groups have called another protest for Friday. Police said that they had opened an investigation into the affair.

SG/SME/HAR

libcom report

Immigrants march in Athens after incident of policemen beating a Muslim when they found a copy of the Koran in his bag which they cut into pieces in an orgy of racist bigotry.

On Thursday 21 May afternoon 1500 immigrants took to the street of Athens marching to the police station of Kypseli, the most densely populated area of the Greek capital. The protest march was organised in response to yet another incident of police racism against Muslims the previous night. When as part of the now common anti-immigrant sweeping operations the notoriously racist greek police stopped a Syrian immigrant and found in his bag a copy of the Koran, they severely beat him, tearing the Koran in pieces and jumping on its torn fragments on the ground.

The incident comes as yet another example of greek police fascism which has reached new levels after the active involvement of immigrants in the December uprising. The most common target of both police, the secret services and paramilitary thugs are members of the Pakistani community, which is despised by the police state for its active involvement in left wing politics. An increasing number of attacks against Pakistani activists has been reported after December, recalling the infamous arrest of more than a thousand Muslims in Athens after the London July metro bombing, and the setting up of secret interrogation camps in the greek mountains, uncovered by the British media in the winter of 2006. In a bravado of racist policy unique to Europe, no public worship of Islam is allowed in Athens or other major cities, and the State does not allow the creation of a Muslim cemetery.

The police sweeping operations against immigrants are concentrated on the area of Agios Panteleimonas where a number of Greek residents allied with neo-nazi groups have been launching an racist hatred campaign in the last year. Thursday’s protest march began in Omonoia, met at the square of Agios Panteleimonas with solidarity protesters and marched to the Kypseli police station where limited clashes occurred, with one policeman injured. New marches are planned for the following days.

On Monday, just a day after the beating of Senegalese immigrants at the Acropolis police stattion, cops broke the fingers of an immigrant from Senegal in the Omonoia square.

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Amnesty International says “the Proposed changes to asylum procedures in Greece flagrantly violate international law”

Posted by clandestina on 20 May 2009

Here is the document at Amnesty International website.  Here are the similar complaints by the UNHR.

clandesstinenglish

 

Greece: Proposed changes to asylum procedures flagrantly violate international law

 

Amnesty International is deeply concerned about a proposed Greek Presidential Decree that would introduce extensive amendments to Presidential Decree 90/2008, which incorporates into Greek law the provisions of the EU Procedures Directive. This Directive regulates the minimum standards for asylum procedures across the EU.

The proposed decree would abolish the second stage of asylum procedures in Greece, leaving asylum-seekers with no recourse to a substantial appeal. If the changes are adopted, asylum-seekers whose applications have been rejected at the first stage would only have access to a review by the Council of State, which does not cover the substance of the request, but only examines procedural aspects.

Amnesty International believes that the proposed changes, if implemented, would deprive asylum-seekers of their right to an effective remedy, which is guaranteed under Article 13 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Article 39 of the EU Procedures Directive. The lack of an effective remedy to negative asylum decisions would lead to violations of Greece’s obligations not to return anyone to a country where they would be at risk of serious human rights violations under the UN Refugee Convention and other international human rights treaties.

Amnesty International have said that incorrect decisions on asylum applications would effectively be left unchallenged and people at risk of persecution in other countries may have their asylum claims rejected and returned to countries where they face serious human rights abuses. If these changes are introduced, it would cast severe doubts over Greece’s commitment to human rights.

Further, Amnesty International believes that there will continue to be serious concerns regarding the fairness of the first stage of asylum procedures. Under the proposed changes asylum decisions will be taken by local police directors instead of national level. Amnesty International has repeatedly pointed out that the examination of asylum applications by police officers, who also undertake immigration control tasks, undermines the fairness of the asylum procedure.

Public Document

For more information please call Amnesty International’s press office in London, UK, on +44 20 7413 5566 or email: press@amnesty.org

International Secretariat, Amnesty International, 1 Easton St., London WC1X 0DW, UK

http://www.amnesty.org

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“Frontex officers are using heartbeat and carbon dioxide detectors, along with heat cameras and other sensors….”

Posted by clandestina on 19 May 2009

They came to help.  They did an operation together, for 8 days.  “40 officers from 20 countries came to work with 165 Greek border guards in the exercise”.  FRONTEX came to help Greece.  Together they ‘ll render crossing the borders even more life – risky.  Together they will justify the higher prices traffickers are going to be asking for the job.  

High tech surveillance on the borders…..”Frontex officers are using heartbeat and carbon dioxide detectors, along with heat cameras and other sensors to scan vehicles, and are watching the border with a surveillance helicopter and aircraft” at “the hottest area of illegal immigration in Europe”, the border with Turkey that is.   And we thought the tech imports were for the flu thing…

 The legal stuff for the advent of totalitarian surveillance had already been in place… 

clandestinenglish

EU border agency helps Greece with immigration

By The Associated Press COSTAS KANTOURIS, Associated Press Writer

 

KIPI, Greece (AP) Officers from an EU border protection agency used high-tech sensors to search trucks and monitor clandestine crossings along Greece’s frontier with Turkey on Tuesday, as part of an eight-day exercise to help local authorities stem a spike in illegal immigration.

Greek authorities said the EU agency, known as Frontex, has sent 40 officers from 20 countries to work with 165 Greek border guards in the exercise. Border guards from new EU-member Bulgaria are also assisting.

Athens is seeking greater assistance from the European Union to help stop immigrants illegally crossing over its rugged borders with Turkey or reaching dozens of islands in the Aegean Sea.

Frontex officers are using heartbeat and carbon dioxide detectors, along with heat cameras and other sensors to scan vehicles, and are watching the border with a surveillance helicopter and aircraft.

Officers involved in the exercise, which ends Wednesday, reported the arrest of 12 illegal immigrants during vehicle searches.

“This border region is the hottest area of illegal immigration in Europe,” Gil Arias, Frontex’ deputy executive director, told The Associated Press.

Officials here say smugglers are targeting EU countries that are members of the open-travel Schengen Agreement, allowing illegal immigrants in Greece to move onto other EU countries.

“Frontex has set up a rapid response force to help European Union countries deal with emergency situations,” said Brig. Vassilis Kousoutis, director of the police’s department for immigrant affairs in greater Athens.

In 2008, Greek authorities arrested 146,337 illegal immigrants, a 30 percent increase from the previous year and a 54 percent jump from 2006, according to figures from the Interior Ministry.

It said 2,211 smuggling suspects were arrested last year, a 56 percent increase from 2008.

Iraqis make up the largest group of those arrested at the Greek-Turkish border, followed by illegal immigrants from Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Last week, the U.N. refugee agency criticized procedures in Greece for examining asylum applications, as well as proposed changes to toughen the rules.

A UNHCR said the proposed abolition of an appeals board for migrants whose applications are rejected “would deprive asylum seekers of access to an effective remedy as required by EU law.”

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Eurofortress Elections: anti-immigrant legacies…

Posted by clandestina on 19 May 2009

Government and Opposition parties (Nea Dimokratia and Pasok) compete in hypocricy, resorting to the scant residues of pretexts.  After the Euroelections the parliamentary ones will come, the Opposition will be government… The anti-immigrant legacy will be in good – and familiar – hands, no worries… Bilateral aggreements, bilateral crimes.

This is a mix of Kathimerini and ANA-MPA articles…

clandestinenglish

PASOK leader George Papandreou yesterday slammed the government’s immigration policy as a complete failure, as Alternate Interior Minister Christos Markoyiannakis heralded the creation of a separate body that would oversee the management of the center of Athens, which a growing number of illegal immigrants are making their home.

Papandreou was speaking in Patras after visiting the coast guard at the local port, close to where hundreds of migrants have set up a makeshift camp as they wait for the opportunity to board ferries for Italy.

“In Patras, we can see the complete failure of the government’s policy on illegal immigration,” said the PASOK leader.

He accused the government of lacking a clear policy on who should be granted asylum, of failing to develop a coherent policy on how to assimilate migrants in Greek society, of not ensuring the proper protection of the country’s borders and of being unable to reach bilateral agreements to secure the repatriation of some migrants.

Papandreou said he has ascertained “the full and overall failure of the governmental policy on the issue of illegal migration and on refugees”, adding that the result of that policy was hardship and suffering for the local societies, and downgrading of the lives of migrants and refugees, as well as hardship on the Harbor Corps employees.

He said that “a serious government should have done six things, which have not been done”, elaborating that the country today lacks: serious guarding of its borders due to a downgrading of the Harbor Corps with respect to means and staff; a clear-cut policy on how and who is categorised as a political refugee and who is sent back; a clear-cut policy on how to incorporate the legal migrants and refugees into the Greek society and economy; and a clear-cut policy on boosting the guarding of the country’s ports so as to send a powerful message to all the illegal immigration rings that Greece will not be a gateway for illegal immigrants to the rest of Europe.

Further, Greece has not activated its bilateral agreements with neighboring Turkey that provide for the return of all illegal immigrants coming to Greece via Turkey which, Papandreou said, PASOK had implemented when it was in government.

Also, the establishment of immigrant/refugee camps only worsened the situation rather than solved the problem, adding that the problem can be solved by a serious government through cooperation in the European Union.

“This problem can be solved by a more serious government that is capable of working with the European Union,” said Papandreou.

The government responded by announcing that it would be adopting a plan put forward by Athens Prefect Yiannis Sgouros to create a body that would coordinate the work of various services, including the police, in the so-called historic center of Athens.

Markoyiannakis gave no further details about how or when this body will operate but he told Skai Radio he has plans to increase the police presence around Omonia Square, where the crime rate has reached alarming levels. It is also the site of an abandoned court building where over 500 migrants are squatting.

Markoyiannakis added that there are plans to move a methadone center from the area, which many locals believe is the cause of the drug-related crime in the neighborhood.

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The sub-humans of Acropolis Police Station puke again their hatred on immigrants.

Posted by clandestina on 18 May 2009

 

solidarity against oppression, racism, exploitation.  freedom, dignity, resistance

solidarity against oppression, racism, exploitation. freedom, dignity, resistance

source: athens indymedia article

It is Sunday afternoon and about five cops in the center of Athens at Ermou str. go on for their daily routine of head hunting.  What they hunt is immigrants, who work in the streets as vendors.  They  arrest two of them, of Senegalese origin.  They take them at the Police Station of Acropolis and lock them in a cell. Two hours later, 10 cops prepare themselves: they wear their gloves, open the cell, lead the two immigrants in a nearby room and begin to swear on them, kick them, punch them, hit them with police clubs.  After puking their disgusting egos on them, they let the immigrants go,  with bruises on the hands and feet and swollen heads.

This is but one incident of the “battle of the square”, the daily trench operations of the police who hunt, beat, detain the immigrants who sell their merchandise (hand bags, accesories, dvd’s, paintings) in the street in order to survive.  In this battle the Municipal Police has an active role: almost daily they assault the immigrants, beat them, confiscate their merchandise and then let them go.   This is the daily terror of downtown Athens, where rights and jurisdiction are luxurious concepts.  

Here is a post in Athens Indymedia (in Greek) about an initiative that was formed to defend an other Senegalese immigrant who was not only abused, beaten up and robbed by the Acropolis cops, but also charged and brought to court  for “resistance to authority”.   Tomorrow May 19 is the trial and a solidarity gathering.   The relevant poster is on the left.  

There are some encouraging attempts of self-organising defense on the immigrants side.   Of course they meet with furious violence on the cops’s side.  Here is a relevant post about an incident in Peiraieus.

UPDATE of 20 MAY: The Senegalese was finally convicted with a 5 month bail sentence.  The court was particularly aggressive and the decision was based solely on the testimony of cops. For the beating of the Senegalese immigrant, the judge kept saying that was irrelevant for his trial, as there will be another trial for the case.  The Cops witnesses were two police officers of AT Acropolis (one woman and one man) and one Municipal policeman.  The rest of the cops attending the trial were extremely invidious, and kept calling the immigrant with racist  swear-words.  Upon exiting the court they were appropriately vituperated by those who had come in solidarity with the immigrant .

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