Migration and Struggle in Greece

Archive for July, 2009

What’s happening in Calais and ways to help

Posted by clandestina on 31 July 2009

If you are coming to Calais to show solidarity and want information call (from UK) 00 33 6 34 81 07 10 from France 06 34 81 07 10

Latest information from activists on the ground in Calais

*Friday 31st July (3.30pm)

We have been continuing with the patrols early morning and at night.
We do not have news yet on the 2 migrants who were attacked
yesterday. Generally everything seems quite calm. Today we saw a CRS
(riot police) van with 6-7 Afghans but the police had not been to
the ‘jungle’ so they must have picked them up elsewhere.
The patrols are essential, but time consuming so we are also trying
to find residents near the jungles who will help us monitor

We have been doing some basic first aid and taking maalox. If anyone
is coming from England alcohol gel which doesn’t require water is
cheaper there so please bring some for us to distribute!
Medecins du monde has called for all NGO’s to work together to take
action on scabies between 17-21 August. The operation will take place
across Calais.
Treatment of scabies, Hygiene kit, Shower, Medical consultation,
Clean clothes, ‘Coverage’
MDM and MSF will provide most of the materials and do lobbying.
People are trying to find out where the NGO’s are meeting to get
more info(we haven’t been invited!) will send more info soon

-are the migrants being cleaned up ahead of being put on charter
flights and deported?
-need to mobilize to make sure activist’s in the area at this time
even if deportations do not take place the migrants will be very
vulnerable if their homes etc are being ‘cleaned’
-how will it be organized?
-how will it be maintained?
(stopped from coming back if still no water?)


We really need one! People looking this afternoon at apartments.
Funding is still an issue;
Please help with these if you can and email to confirm they are
Needed desperately!
-design a window display/flag
We talked about making something really simple (using barbed wire to
birds logo maybe) that local supporters could display in their
windows (and could be given out or even sold at the market)
-leaflets and letters to residents
About Calais that can be given out at events in town and door to door
-improve the business card for migrants
At the moment we have a card in English only with the emergency phone
number on it 0650734104. We have been giving it out, so far not many
people have been using it but trying to improve this. Would be good
to have it in as many languages as possible, small business card
size that just says ‘in case of raids call 0650734104′ and that we
are from no borders/Calais migrant solidarity.
-UK arrivals leaflet
Being distributed in farsi and Arabic needs better translation into
pashtun. Needs a contact number for people who make it to England to
call. Please send a comment to this blog if you can help with any
of this.

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Greece’s refugee problem – article by Human Rights Watch director

Posted by clandestina on 31 July 2009

source of the Article: New York Times website



July 29, 2009WASHINGTON — The Greek government has come up with a novel solution to a growing backlog of asylum appeals: Abolish appeals.

Greece’s Refugee Problem

No backlog. No Problem.

But the problem can’t be dismissed so easily. Greece has a backlog of about 30,000 cases. A part-time asylum appeals board hears about 60 cases a week. At this rate, it would take about 10 years to clear the current backlog alone.

But wait. Greece, with its long coastal borders, is at the front line of migration to the European Union, with nearly 20,000 new asylum applications lodged there last year. Part of the reason is E.U. law, and the so-called “Dublin rules,” under which other Union member states can send asylum seekers who entered the E.U. through Greek borders back to Greece.

Last year, the Greek asylum approval rate was 0.05 percent. Since essentially everyone is initially denied, the appeals have been growing faster than the system’s capacity to keep up.

Anyone with a pocket calculator can see that the system doesn’t work. But it is not just a question of numbers. Each number represents a person. One of them is “Hamed,” who fled Afghanistan alone at age 13 when a local warlord threatened to kill him if he did not submit “for dancing and more.”

His asylum interview took place in 2008 in a noisy, crowded room in the Petrou Ralli police station:

“The policeman in civilian clothes asked something and the Iranian woman [the interpreter] told me I should say I came for a better life.

“I don’t know whether the police officer said that or not because I didn’t understand him. I told the Iranian woman that I wanted to explain my other problems. At that point the police officer shouted at me and I got scared. …”

The interview took five minutes.

The obvious solution is to have specially trained officials, including specialists in interviewing children, conduct careful, private interviews, and grant asylum to people who need it. Then, an independent body should work full-time to consider appeals in a fair and timely way.

Instead the government has introduced Presidential Decree 81/2009, which makes a bad system worse.

First, instead of creating a corps of specialized asylum interviewers capable of identifying people needing protection, the decree spreads the job of interviewing asylum seekers to police directorates throughout the country.

Police officers have a host of other duties and lack training in asylum law or in conducting interviews with fearful and traumatized asylum seekers.

Competent interpreters and asylum lawyers, in short supply even in Athens, are almost absent in the islands and border regions.

Second, the decree abolishes the right to lodge an appeal and eliminates the asylum appeals board (after it finishes the cases currently before it), retaining only strictly limited judicial review. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees has declined to participate in the new asylum procedure, saying that it does “not sufficiently guarantee efficiency and fairness.”

Greek asylum procedures are just the tip of the iceberg of a system that fails at every stage to protect refugees and unaccompanied children.

These failures include illegal push-backs of migrants at the Turkish border, the puncturing of boats in the Aegean Sea, deplorable conditions of detention, police brutality, and various legal and administrative tricks to keep asylum seekers from lodging a claim, all of which Human Rights Watch exhaustively documented in two reports published late last year.

In June, the European Council’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture issued a report, saying that its repeated recommendations since 1997 to improve the conditions of migrant detention have been “largely ignored by the Greek authorities.”

Greece responded with legislative changes that extend the period of administrative detention to up to one year, and possibly 18 months. And, on July 12, the Greek authorities burned and bulldozed a long-standing campsite at Patras occupied by migrants, including many unaccompanied children, thus swelling the numbers being held in unacceptable conditions of detention.

If Greece does not put its own house in order, the European Union must hold it accountable. Other E.U. member states should suspend all returns of asylum seekers to Greece under the terms of the Dublin Convention and all E.U. institutions should demand that Greece immediately comply not only with Union asylum standards, but also with human rights norms that should long since have been considered inviolable among European states.

Bill Frelick is the refugee policy director at Human Rights Watch and the author of “Stuck in a Revolving Door: Iraqis and Other Asylum Seekers and Migrants at the Greece/Turkey Entrance to the European Union.”

And a critique of it from black cat – red cat

Greece’s Refugee Problem: that’s the wrong way to look at it

Through the internets and the twitters, I came across Bill Frelick’s op-ed at the New York Times, titled “Greece’s Refugee Problem“. The article is strikingly to the point, and I recommend to anyone reading it. As a Greek, I should add that under pressure from the rise of the far-right, the current conservative Greek government has been transforming Greece’s non-policy policy, which it inherited from the previous centrist (“socialist”) government, into an active anti-immigrant and anti-refugee policy.

From the previous non-functional system designed to ignore the problem, the new policies aim to actively block all paths for admission of people as refugees. At the same time, conditions for immigrants and refugees are deteriorating. The matter of the conditions in the “administrative detention centers”, may not even be the big issue here. There are tens if not hundreds of thousands more people that have entered the country illegally, who cram in newly emergent urban ghettos or are exploited viciously as dirt cheap labor in the countryside. These people are offered no means to integrate into society and social tensions build up to explosive levels. During the recent years Greece is becoming an increasingly violent society. And the government’s response is more repression and pressure, with conditions that are utter shame for people claiming to be heirs to a great civilization.

The NYT article correctly points out some of these points, although it focuses just on the asylum seekers. And Bill Frelick is absolutely correct in pointing out that Greece should be held accountable for what it inflicts on refugees. For too long have Greek authorities been abusing immigrants and refugees in preposterous ways, ignoring our own Greek Constitution that demands respect for human rights and human dignity and spitting in the face of anything we claim to be heirs to.

But Bill Frelick makes a grave mistake in singling out Greece. He completely overlooks the reasons why Greece has to face this problem. The Greek response to the refugee issue is definitely worthy of severe criticism, however refugees do not appear out of thin air. Mr Frellick is talking about the response to the symptoms, but fails to even mention the underlying condition. His example of an Afghan boy fleeing a pederast warlord is a very uncharacteristic example. Many more people have fled their countries due to the imperialist wars waged by the US and their allies. And even greater is the number of people fleeing their countries due to economic conditions imposed by the neo-colonial exploitation war waged by the EU, the US, China etc on third world countries. And sure, Greece is not innocent in any of these, too: it’s a well established member of the EU and NATO.

So yes Greece must be severely criticized. But severe criticism should also be directed towards those that uproot people from their countries in the first place. And if one looks beyond sentimentalist compassion into the true reasons of the problem, there can only be one  “j’ accuse”: capitalism. But the NYT wouldn’t publish anything about that, would it?

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Three days in Fabrica YFANET squat July 31-August 2 – CRISIS, COUNTER-INSURGENCY, RESISTANCES

Posted by clandestina on 31 July 2009



Friday: against the pillaging of nature

Saturday: the assault against immigrants as part of the assault against struggling people (the Group of Immigrants and Refugees will take part in the discussion with an account of recent anti-immigrant policies – comrades from Athens will speak on the recent pogroms and fascist attacks).

Sunday: structures of counter – information and the circulation of struggles


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Anti-immigrant terror in Greece: attempts for pushbacks of refugees, sweep operations, police – fascist collaboration, forced evictions…

Posted by clandestina on 30 July 2009

Sachtouri street - athens indymedia photo

Sachtouri street - athens indymedia photo


After a police abduction that took them from the southern end of the country to the northern, the Kurdish refugees who reached the shores of  Crete seem to have been transferred to Rodopi, Thrace.  There is an ongoing campaign against their deportation, especially the deportation of the children among them and of the ones that have already filed asylum applications in Chania.

In Greek, see

Same with the Chios refugees, who are now detained in Tychero, Evros,  near the border with Turkey.  The police chief of Alexandroupolis has been contacted by journalists and there are two important facts : first, that there were children among the immigrants, who have now been tranferred to Thessaloniki (the exact place is unknown) and, secondly, that he does not want to give a clear answer on what they plan to do. However, it is considered certain that the police wants to «return» them to Turkey.

In Greek see

There are also reports of ca. 61 arrested immigrants reaching Peireus port with the “Mykonos” F/B.


According to the police, yesterday, 109 people were arrested during one more storming of the center of Athens by various police forces.  About 90 of them were sans papiers.  What is more, at  21.00 in the evening,  fascists went down in Attikis square – around which many immigrants live -, without even previously announcing their presence with the infamous “committees of residents” rally calls.  The fascists came to the square and began to bludgeon whatever laid ahead of them; they also sprayed faces with some unknown gas.   At least three refugees were transported to hospital, many others were injured.  Among the injured people was an American professor who was in the area and attempted to photograph the racist pogrom. He spent the night in the hospital, with blows to his head. The fascists took his camera.  Around the square there was a large police force, who not only did nothing, but went on to mass arrest mainly Afghan refugees!

In Greek, see


Today the police evicted immigrants en masse from two buildings in the center of Athens, which had been designated by the prefecture of Athens as dangerous for the public health or something.  Police forces  invaded the buildings at Sachtouri 7, and at Veranzerou str. near Omonia, and arrested a total of 86 immigrants.

During the eviction at Verantzerou street neighbors and immigrants with flags of Somalia were gathered in support of the arrested people, as well as some ΠAME (Communist Party trade union) members and a Communist Party MP (many Somalis who work as builders have links with their organised in ΠAME colleagues).  The Somali women at some point reacted vocally and attempted a sit-in protest, but the cops confined them again in the building to isolate them from journalists.  According to the cops, the building was rented to a company which sub-letted it illegally to immigrants for of 5 euros a day per person.

When the cops tried to transfer the arrested immigrants from the rear street where they thought they would face no obstruction.  Once this was understood by the assembled immigrants, some óf them moved to the rear of the police vehicle to prevent it from departing.  Some of them clashed with riot police men and other police forces with sticks, punches, etc.  The police vehicles made it to leave afterwards, leaving behind women and children.   A few minutes later the large police forces withdrew from the point and concentrated their attention to guarding the nearby police department.

During the operation, a passer-by  woman of about 50 years complained loudly about the police brutality calling the cops  fascists for behaving this way to the immigrants.  An undercover cop grasped her by the head and attempted to take her to the police station  but people  protested and intervened and the woman managed to escape.

Angry Somali men and women broke the window of a  shop on the ground floor of the building where the immigrants lived.  The squads were on the corner and intervened directly and there were more clashes.  Indeed, the shop-owner had been insulting the immigrants everyday by calling them racist names, and has been a pioneer member in the “committees of residents and shop-owners” of the center –  perhaps this is why the passing police patrols salute him.

The building was not completely evacuated, there were immigrants left inside when the police left.

About the evictions read in Greek

The Somalis took it to the street on a protest march later in the day, together with ΠΑΜΕ – photos at

As an Athens Indymedia user commented, this day was an Ode to the Barbarity of Democracy -5 days ago was the anniversary of 35 years of Greek Democracy after the fall of colonels’ junta back in 1974. video at

Many photos at:

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Update on the continuing tension in Greece

Posted by clandestina on 28 July 2009


Double fascist attack against squats in Salonica in midst of continuing tension

Fascists attack two Salonica squats while struggle against anti-immigration policies intensifies

During the past week both Radio Revolt, a pirate anarchist radio station housed in an abandoned train wagon within premises of the Aristotelian University of Salonica, and Europe’s largest squat, Fabrica Yfanet, came under fascist arson attack.
The train wagon of Radio Revolt, was attacked with three Molotov cocktails in the night of Tuesday 21/07 by parastate fascist elements publicly condoned by the Ministry of Public Order currently run by an ex-junta persecutor. Radio Revolt continued to broadcast with only 3 hours stoppage. On Saturday 25/07 Fabrica Yfanet’s main gate was attacked by a gas-canister device. The fire was extinguished by member soft hw squat as well as neighbours, while police forces that unusually arrived to the scene only minutes after the attack engaged squatters and neighbours in fascist verbal abuse clearly sympathising with the attack. Fabrica Yfanet is a centre of manifold political activities and receives widespread support amongst the city’s youth and progressives.

Meanwhile in Athens, on the early morning of Tuesday 28/7, a squad of Golden Dawn members marched from the offices of the neonazi party near Omonoia square down Menandrou street in military formation, attacked black men and women uninhibited by the strong police presence in the area. The nazi scum chanted “today niggers die” while returning to their Agios Panteleimonas lair.

Arson attacks against anarchist antiauthoritarian and libertarian squats have been a repeated pattern in the last year, and is considered to be part of the Greek state’s massive counterinsurgency efforts to quench the rising social movement against the more and more dictatorial rule of the government which has been manning its civil service with ever more junta-related individuals. Parastate elements’ anti-squat activity has repeatedly led to massive solidarity marches, rendering the strategy rather counterintuitive, proving once again the readiness of the Greek state to exercise brute force, and its inability to reason even to its own interest.

Characteristic of the new blind fascism of the Greek state is the unprecedented act of censorship exercised against a short animated film by the well known leftist director Costa-Gavras, who is a nail in the eye of the Greek PM for having filmed “Z”, the story of the assassination of left-wing MP Grigoris Lambrakis by parastate thugs under orders of the PM’s uncle in the mid 1960s. Gavras’ animation commissioned by the Ministry of Culture was meant to play at the new Acropolis museum, until the Ministry obliged to curtail scenes portraying Greek Orthodox priests vandalising the Parthenon after orders by the Church. Costa-Gavras has condemned the act as a return to the darkest days of the country. The Greek Orthodox Church remains the largest land-owner in the country and an integral part of the State mechanism, waging considerable control in many policies, particularly relating to education.

Despite the rising white-terror and the mid-summer vacations, the social antagonistic movement is stepping up its response to the state-fascist collaboration and racist bigotry.

Since Friday 24/07/09 a series of blockades of boats transferring immigrants to detention camps in the Greek province of Macedonia have erupted in battles between antiracist protesters and the police.

On Friday 24/07 at midnight protesters cancelled the transfer of 60 so-called illegal immigrants on the boat Theofilos from the port of Mytilini, Lesbos Island, to the mainland city of Kavala. The protesters occupied the main entrance of the ferry boat refusing to allow the police to load the arrested immigrants of Pakistani Afghan and Somalian descent. An unverified number of detained immigrants at the Panagi camp of Lasbos have started a hunger strike against the transfers, demanding their immediate release.

On Sunday 26/07 protesters of PAME, the umbrella union controlled by the Communist Party (KKE), and of the Chios Immigrant Solidarity Committee clashed with the police and fascist civilian auxiliaries at the port of Chios Island when they tried to blockade the entry of two busloads of detained immigrants on the aforementioned boat bound for Thessaloniki. After the police beat the protesters back with use of brutal force, a member of the KKE partaking in the blockade fell into to sea between the pier and the ferry, disallowing the departure of the boat for another hour. The involvement of the KKE in the protests marks an interesting if controversial shift in its long-standing policy of verbalism and practical apathy to the plight of immigrant workers. During the clashes many protesters were injured, while according to the Solidarity Committee, the criminal and dehumanising attitude of the Chios authorities towards immigrants reached its apex in the separation of a 15 year old boy from Somalia from his mother who remains detained in the island. The detained immigrants were transferred to the mainland chained and locked in the boat’s basement inside the buses, thus directly endangering their lives.

The authorities claim the reason for the transfers is the overpopulation of the islands’ camps. In Chios, the Mersinidi camp has a capacity of 120 while detaining 220, whereas the Panagi camp in Lesbos has a capacity of 250 persons while detaining 400. Protesters however argue that the transfers are a first step of “pushing” immigrants illegally though the minefields of Evros River towards Turkey. Claiming that the camps are dehumanising and that the transfers comprise punishing measures for people who have never been convicted for anything other than not having papers, the protesters demand that the detainees are held in hotels, after releasing all underage individuals.

In the diffuse-guerrilla front, a bomb device targeting the Chilean Consulate was dismantled last week by the police, while Tuesday night saw within 30 minutes a barrage of low intensity attacks on State targets, with some 7 local offices of anti-immigration parliamentary parties (New Democracy, PASOK, and LAOS) bombed with gas-canister devices across Athens. Responsibility for the attacks has been claimed by the Shining Paths of Solidarity in response to the “nazification” of the State and nazi-police collaboration. The offices of a LAOS MP were also attacked, causing no human injuries.

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Human Rights Watch: Halt Crackdown, Arrests of Migrants

Posted by clandestina on 28 July 2009

source: human rights watch article


Moving Detained Migrants to North Raises Fears of ‘Pushbacks’ to Turkey

July 27, 2009

Greek authorities are arresting large numbers of migrants and asylum seekers in the country’s cities and islands and moving many of them to the north, raising fears of illegal expulsions to Turkey, Human Rights Watch said today.

Human Rights Watch received reports from a credible source that, in mid-July 2009, police transferred a group of Arabic-speaking people from Chios Island to the Evros border region, where they were secretly forced to cross the border into Turkey. On July 23, local human rights activists prevented authorities from transferring 63 migrants from Lesvos Island to the north by blocking access to the ferry. On July 25, the police took most of them to Athens under heavy police escort.

“These operations and transfers are very worrying,” said Bill Frelick, refugee policy director at Human Rights Watch. “We fear that people are being prevented from seeking asylum, that children arriving alone are not being protected, and that migrants are kept in unacceptable detention conditions and possibly even being secretly expelled to Turkey.”

In another recent episode, in a large-scale police operation from July 16 to 18, police in Athens surrounded what appeared to be several hundred migrants and locked them inside an abandoned courthouse. The police arrested anyone who left the building. It is feared that some of them may have needed protection and did not have a chance to file a claim for asylum, the police prevented Human Rights Watch from speaking to the people held inside, and Human Rights Watch does not know the whereabouts of those who were arrested when they tried to leave.

In a November 2008 report, “Stuck in a Revolving Door: Iraqis and Other Asylum Seekers and Migrants at the Greece/Turkey Entrance to the European Union,” Human Rights Watch documented how Greek authorities have systematically expelled migrants illegally across the Greece-Turkey border, in violation of many international legal obligations. These “pushbacks” typically occur at night from detention facilities in the northern part of the country, close to the Turkish border, and they involve considerable logistical preparation. Human Rights Watch at that time interviewed 41 asylum seekers and refugees – all privately and confidentially – in various locations in both Greece and Turkey, who gave consistent accounts of Greek authorities taking them to the Evros River at night and then forcing them across.

Human Rights Watch also documented how Greek authorities miscategorize unaccompanied children as adults and detain them for prolonged periods of time in conditions that could be considered inhumane and degrading. (See the December 2008 report, “Left to Survive: Systematic Failure to Protect Unaccompanied Migrant Children in Greece.”)

Undocumented Afghan migrant children sleep in a forest on the outskirts of Patras, Greece.  © 2009 Moises Saman/Panos Pictures

Undocumented Afghan migrant children sleep in a forest on the outskirts of Patras, Greece. © 2009 Moises Saman/Panos Pictures

In yet another recent incident, on July 12, police destroyed a makeshift migrant camp in Patras, on the Peloponnese peninsula. In the days before the camp was destroyed, the police reportedly arrested large numbers of migrants there, and according to credible sources, transferred an unknown number to the northern part of the country. On July 17, Human Rights Watch met with several Afghans in Patras, including 12 unaccompanied migrant children now homeless as a result of this operation, who were in hiding in abysmal conditions out of fear of being arrested.

A 24-year-old man told Human Rights Watch: “We’re living like animals in the jungle … we can’t take a shower and we don’t have proper food … before I lived in the camp, but all of my things and clothes were burned. Now I have a shirt and a pair of pants, nothing else.”

A 14-year-old Afghan boy who arrived in Greece one year earlier said: “The worst situation during the past year is now, in Patras – now that I’m living in this forest …. There’s not enough food and we only eat bread with water.”

Human Rights Watch also observed on July 17 how more than 1,000 migrants lined up all night, largely in vain, trying to file asylum applications at Athens’ main police station. Greece recognizes as few as 0.05 percent of asylum seekers as refugees at their first interview and passed a law at the end of June that abolishes a meaningful appeals procedure, making it virtually impossible for anyone to obtain refugee status. It also extended the maximum length of administrative detention for migrants to 12 months – and under certain circumstances, up to 18 months – from previously 90 days.

“It appears Greece is doing everything it can to close the door on persons who seek protection in Europe, no matter how vulnerable they are,” said Frelick. “The European Union must hold Greece accountable for acts contrary to international and European human rights and refugee law, and it needs to act fast, as the lives of many are at risk.”

© Copyright 2008, Human Rights Watch

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Solidarity blockades against the transfer of refugees in Chios island

Posted by clandestina on 27 July 2009


photo from relevant Athens Indymedia article

photo from relevant Athens Indymedia article

Much tension yesterday afternoon at the port of Chios island, where demonstrators, members of the Chios Refugees Solidarity Committee and PAME [note: Communist Party of Greece trade union] tried to prevent the boarding of two buses carrying 60 migrants from the refugee camp of  Mersinidi into the F/B «Theofilos» in order to tranfer them to Thessaloniki.  Port police and Police broke the blockade of the citizens in the port of Chios and manage to board the hand-cuffed Afghan, Pakistani and Somali immigrants.   After the boarding of refugees, one Communist Party member dived in the sea, between the coast and the ship, which caused the ship to leave the island a further one hour later than expected.

It should be noted that the transfers of immigrants  towards Northern Greece come after the recent law which increases detention time to six months.  This has rendered the situation in the centers of Chios and Mytilini extremely tense.  The capacity of the Mersenidi center is 120 people, still, already 220 people are detained therein, while in the Mitilini Pagani camp the respective numbers are  250 and 400!

People protest because they believe that behind these «innocent» transfers is the attempt to expell immigrants without much «trouble»to Turkey via Evros.

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One more police inflicted death: Igoumenitsa Port Police victim dies

Posted by clandestina on 27 July 2009

info: tvxs article

see also: A Kurd refugee in coma after assault by port police in Igoumenitsa – another victim of the Police operations at the western ports of Greece

The Kurd refugee from Iraq Arivan Abdullah Osman who had been severly injured on the 3rd of April at Igoumenitsa port by Port police men died today.

The eyewitnesses had described “commandos in blue and military camouflage uniforms”who had arrested Arivan Abdullah Osman for remaining at the port area, and then banged his head on cement  and inflicted him an internal hemorrhage.

He was transferred to local medical centers, and finally at the Thessaloniki Papanikolaou Hospital, where he underwent a surgical operation at his head.

According to the doctors he had no chance to recover and would either die, or remain into vegetative state.

The perpetrators of the crime have not been charged with anything yet. No judiciary research on the case has been ordered. The local port police head officer has promised an “administrative inquiry” (which is what authorities in Greece do when they want in effect to drop a case)… We can certainly rely on that for truth , since the pertinent Ministry’s announcement reads that Abdullah suffered an epileptic seizure and injured himself…

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Greece: Failed trespass attempt against Pikrodáfni, Athens free space!

Posted by clandestina on 27 July 2009

Greece: Failed trespass attempt against Pikrodáfni free space!

by Pikrodáfni free space

Announcement by the Pikrodáfni free space in Athens, Greece:

While lately our free space is under constant surveillance by undercover cops, a few nights ago two persons approached Pikrodáfni free space and tried to trespass, but their plan failed as we noticed them almost immediately.

We consider this strange visit part of the general climate of repression that has been developed as the main government political line against the anti-authoritarian movement and the self-managed free spaces or squats in Greece, and is based on the open and shameless coöperation between cops and fascists.

Brahámi, Athens

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Molotovs fly as police-nazi collaboration stokes the flames of Greek resistance

Posted by clandestina on 25 July 2009

source: athens indymedia article

Molotovs fly as police-nazi collaboration stokes the flames of Greek resistance


Report and reflections on the violent wave of police and neo-nazi collaboration and ugly the rise of nationalism in Greece. Written on the ground, in the squat that was fire bombed this morning…

The sun is setting over central Athens as 3000+ protesters gather in Omonoia Square in opposition to the treatment of immigrant workers by the Greek state. No police can be seen as the crowd gathers, yet the mood is tense with grim determination and anticipation of the real possibility of extreme violence from the state. We march slowly down-town towards the Saint Pandeleimonas district, a suburb mainly inhabited by immigrants. A thunderous chant echoes through the darkening streets, as CCTV cameras and cash machines are smashed, shop fronts graffiti-ed and and hundreds of leaflets tossed across the pavements. On the flanks of the mass are defended by helmeted, pole-wielding marchers, as heavily armored riot police can be seen through side streets, moving down the parallel road. The crowd slows as orange flashes of fire can be seen far off at the front line, suddenly followed by the deafening boom of stun grenades, and plooms of tear gas. Fear spreads through some sections of the crowd as it surges back in retreat. Burning barricades protect our route to the ASOEE university and relative sanctuary. We are told that the front was attacked by moltov hurling nazis working within the police front line.

This co-operation between militant neo-nazi groups and the Greek police is nothing new, but in the last six months it has become increasingly frequent and audacious. The most dangerous neo-nazi group is Chrysi Avyi (Golden Dawn). Although they have relatively little popular support (23,000 votes in the last European elections), they are powerful due to their deep running relationship with the state, particularly the connections and wide spread support within the police force. In 2005 a leaked confidential internal police investigation concluded that:

1. Chrysi Avyi had very good relations and contacts with officers of the force, on and off duty, as well as with common policemen.

2. The police provided the group with batons and radio communications equipment during mass demonstrations.

3. The connections between the neo-nazi group and the Greek police force, helped delay the arrest of ‘Periandros’, a prominent member of Chrysi Avgi, wanted for the attempted murder of three left-wing students.

4. The brother of “Periandros”, also a member of Chrysi Avgi, was a security escort of an unnamed New Democracy MP.

5. Most Chrysi Avyi members illegally carry weapons.

This investigation only exposed a small, nasty taste of what was to come and since it was leaked, this co-operation between Chrysi Avyi and the police has increased dramatically. Even the bias mainstream media has had to accept and shamefully report this widespread collaboration.
Two days after the rally (09 July), as we were sat on the street corner where Alexandros Grigoropoulos was murdered last December, word quickly spread round that Villa Amalias, the 19 year old anarchist squat, had just been attacked by fascists with molotovs and projectiles. The squatters fought them back and the fascists retreated back behind police lines, which protected them. The attack was undoubtedly prearranged between the nazis and the police.
Twenty minutes before the attack, in the suburb of Agios Panteleimonas, the Minister of Public Order, Markoyannakis, met with the fascist vigilantes, headed by an army officer, Pipikios. They then left Agios Panteleimonas and attacked the squat. Attacks on squats are not that uncommon in Greece but this is the first time since the Junta dictatorship that a Minister has openly met with fascist combat groups. Two days later three immigrants (2 Iraqi and 1 Nigerian) were shot in a drive-by shooting in Omonia square. The same day the squatted former Court of Appeals building in central Athens, that accommodated hundreds of homeless immigrants, was hit by an arson attack. The police have attempted to evict the squat numerous times in the past and it has for a long time been the scene of constant nazi and police harassment and violence. Yesterday (21 July) the last phase of the eviction emptied the building. Of the hundreds of immigrants living in the squat, many have been arrested and will be imprisoned in one of the eleven disused army bases that have just been converted into concentration camps. Recently, on the July 12, the largest refugee settlement in Greece, outside the city of Patra, was brutally evicted, bulldozed and ‘mysteriously’ burned to the ground by police. More stark evidence of the rising totalitarianism in the treatment of refugees, a trend that is currently growing, in Greece, as well as most of Europe.
In the recent European elections, extreme-right party LAOS made a political breakthrough, with 7.2 per cent of the vote. Desperate for support, the ruling, conservative New Democracy party has taken to increasingly far-right behavior: the moronic scapegoating of immigrants, squatters and anarchists, fear mongering propaganda and constantly pleading for “national unity” though out the population. The Greek press and television have recently taken extremely xenophobic views, fully supporting the government’s attempt to unite people in an ugly wave of nationalism, and to drive people’s attention away from the economic crisis.

This increased police-nazi cooperation brings the counterinsurgency strategy of the State into harsh, new perspective. The government has previously said that the “terrorist” harboring squats will be evicted this summer, between the middle of July and the middle of August. Tactically this makes sense, as a lot of people have vacated the cities to escape the choking summer heat, leaving the squats more vulnerable to attack or eviction. This week a squat in Thessaloníki, where the local pirate radio station operates, was also attacked with molotovs. The tension is high, defenses are being built and a lot of squatters have stayed in the city and are organising resistance strategies. The threat is uncertain, but there is no doubt that mass evictions would result in a massive flare up of resistance. The authorities are aware of this and are apprehensive to fulfill their desired plan. Instead they have been focusing on the easy targets of immigrant squats and so not losing face.
Another dangerous organisation co-operating with Greek police is Scotland Yard. In March this year British “anti-terrorist experts”, including Sir Ian Blair, ex-head of Scotland Yard; as well as American “security advisors”, were in Athens giving advice on the tactics of oppression. The Greek government is desperate to upgrade its social control and surveillance apparatus, Greece’s parliament has just approved measures allowing police to use surveillance camera footage, create a DNA database and banning anonymous mobile phones. The British state have proven to be experts in these tactics of surveillance and intelligence gathering, and of course the information gained using these techniques, is falling into the hands of neo-nazis.

Despite the savage rise in right wing violence, the anarchist movement is still gathering more popular support, and now even the mainstream media have acknowledge it as legitimate political force. It seems unlikely, that the ruling government can maintain its treacherous course for long. Urban guerrilla insurrectionist groups has kept up a constant stream of attacks on the state and corporate business. Some of the attacks so far this month alone, include a bomb attack on the Athens home of a former deputy minister, a firebomb attack on a tax office, a bomb attack on a McDonald’s causing “extensive damage”, a bomb attack on a prominent Judges car, a failed bombing attempt at the Chilean consulate and there have been a string of strategic arson attacks on offices and vehicles. This month a police bus has come under fire from a masked gunman and last month an anti-terrorist policeman guarding a witness was shot dead by a two gunmen. Different anarchist and leftist guerrilla groups have claimed responsibility for most of these attacks.

The movement has learnt a lot from the December insurrection and while support for the guerrilla groups is widespread, many feel that without more wide spread social change, the revolution is distant. Yet resistance is stronger then ever and stands resolute in the sinister face of fascism. It is also worth noting, that during the recent upsurge in molotov use by neo-nazis, no one has been injured by the bombs, except on two separate occasions when the fascists managed to set themselves on fire. In the words of one Greek anarchist:

“Those comical scum, who have no idea how to handle the simplest of street weapons, the molotov firebomb, they are unable to fight us with our weapons. Molotovs are and will remain the people’s weapon, in defense of their freedom against fascist bastards.”

Amendment: Just before posting this piece, one of the squats, where we have been staying, the big squatted factory space called Yfanet, was attacked at 5 in the morning (25 July). The bomb containing 6 gas cans, a four-liter petrol canister caused no damage. The struggle continues…

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