Migration and Struggle in Greece

Archive for August, 2009

Event in the Micropolis social space on immigrants & refugees

Posted by clandestina on 31 August 2009

The event is organised by the Antiauthoritarian Movement at Micropolis, Thessaloniki.

politiko_triimeroWEDNESDAY 2nd of SEPTEMBER, 19.00

IMMIGRANTS AND REFUGEES enmeshed in the social conflict
From the myth of solidarity to the pogroms and concentration camps
The refugee as an active participant in the society and not as a subject


  • Philemon Patsakis
  • Costas Despiniadis (Panoptikon journal)
  • Vassilis Ladas (Author-Lawyer)
  • Forum of Immigrants in Crete

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Confiscation operation against street vendors in Athens

Posted by clandestina on 31 August 2009

source: Athens Indymedia

A special police operation against immigrants street vendors took place on Saturday at 12:00  Victoria Square and Patission Street in the center of Athens.

During the operation, which lasted 20 minutes, and which was done in collaboration with the municipal police of Athens, the vendors left their merchanidise left their goods, and the cops confiscated them and transported them with 3 trucks to the warehouses of the City of Athens – probably to be shared among the uniformed employees of the mayor.

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Violent assaults against immigrants in Athens during August

Posted by clandestina on 29 August 2009

Two new attacks on refugees in the area of Aghios Panteleimonas

In the first case on August 6 an asylum seeker from Afghanistan was prevented from some Greeks to pass through the square and when he asked them the reasonhe was attacked by at least ten of them, who immobilized and beat him, and then left him unconscious on the street.

The local police did not register the event but referred him to a hospital where he remained  the following day until dawn as his injuries were severe.   He returned to the police station where he was deferred twice from filing a complaint.  After this the victim with the legal advice of the Council of Refugees filed a lawsuit in Athens Prosecutor.

The more recent  case is the one of an Afghan of recognized refugee status who has been receiving the last two weeks daily pressures and threats to close down his shop  «so that foreigners stop gathering there».  On August 17 about 10 people started hitting the window of the restaurant and told him to shut down; he refused, called the police for help but the police never came.   He was forced to close his shop, since the threats were repeated, and the police never came on the spot.


One more fascist attack in Attiki Square

An Afghan immigrant was produced by ambulance to the emergency wing of Evangelismos hospital, having been heavily injured yesterday at 8.30pm on an attack at Attikis square.  He suffers several injuries throughout his body and has been pierced with a crowbar  beneath the heart!

He was attacked by a gang of fascists who patrol every night in the area.  The standard, daily gathering spot of the fascist gang is just 30 meters from the Police Department of  Aghios Panteleimonas.   It is obvious that the contract between the fascists and the minister of public order involves daily patrols of thugs who stab and beat immigrants. In the summer many immigrants have been produced to hospitals according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.


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UN refugee agency shocked at conditions at Greek detention facility

Posted by clandestina on 29 August 2009


UN refugee agency shocked at conditions at Greek detention facility

28 August 2009 –The United Nations refugee agency said it was shocked by the conditions at a detention facility on the Greek island of Lesvos which was overcrowded and holding 200 unaccompanied children.Staff from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) visited the detention centre at Pagani, built to hold between 250 and 300 people, earlier this week, according to the agency’s spokesperson Andrej Mahecic.

“They were shocked at the conditions in the facility, where more than 850 people are held, including 200 unaccompanied children, mostly from Afghanistan,” he told reporters in Geneva today.

UNHCR staff described the condition of the centre as “unacceptable,” he stated, adding that one room houses over 150 women and 50 babies, many suffering from illness related to the cramped and unsanitary conditions of the centre.

Greece’s Deputy Minister of Health and Social Solidarity has assured UNHCR that all the unaccompanied children at Pagani will be transferred to special reception facilities by the end of the month, and some measures have already been taken.

Mr. Mahecic noted that the situation in Pagani is “indicative of broader problems relating to irregular migration and Greece’s asylum system,” which UNHCR has been trying to assist with.

Last year, it worked with Greek officials to elaborate proposals to completely overhaul the country’s asylum system, including specific measures to protect asylum-seeking children, but these have yet to be implemented.

The agency also pointed out that while nearly 2,700 unaccompanied children are known to have arrived in the country last year, many more are believed to have entered undetected.

“Greece has no process for assessing the individual needs and best interests of these children,” said Mr. Mahecic. “While the Government has made efforts to increase the number of places for children at specialized, open centres, arrivals outstrip these efforts and children remain in detention for long periods.”

The agency is involved in a project aimed at improving reception facilities on the islands of Samos, Chios and Lesvos and at the Evros land border, he added.

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A sum-up of August so far

Posted by clandestina on 26 August 2009


According to an “Eleftherotypia” newspaper article, 3.000 refugees are detained in police detentions spaces (in the prison cells of police departments) and 3.000 more in dtetention centers. The detention center conditions, which are even more unbearable due to seasonal heat, could only be described as hellish during August due to the the inhumane overcrowding, which is now the situation at Greece’s mainland detention spaces as well. This has been described as unprecedented, with the facilities with no exception now being 50% over their capacity. Detainees are constantly being transferred from one detention space to the next, but constant “sweep operations” have gradually filled all premises. According to leaks, there are also some “informal” detentions spaces running. The only strategy of the pertinent ministry of interior is actually summary expulsions of refugees to Turkey.

The minister and deputy minister of interior are said to be in political rivalry, and their urge to meet with the “message of the euroelections”, the cleansing of Athens and urban centers of immigrants, has clashed with coordination problems and the lack of any realistic plan for “reception centers”, at the expense of refugees’ treatment of course, as described above. The minister is said to follow a plan of constucting four camps until the end of the year, the deputy minister two camps as early as mid September.

The situation is believed to worsen by the end of August when the new law which denies refugees to lodge an appeal for rejected asylum applications will be put in effect, opening thus the way for the deportation thus thousands of refugees whose applications are now pending.

“Now you will die!”: Coast Guard attempt to drown asylum-seekers in Lesbos


Coast guard of Lesbos tied 12 Somali immigrants in an inflatable boat and then pierced its sides with knives in order to drown the helpless asylum seekers who were saved by passing cruise boat

The Coast Guard of Lesbos Island has been accused of attempting to mass murder 12 Somali asylum seekers, amongst which one woman. According to the case, on the 5th of July an Austrian European border Frontex Helicopter spotted an inflatable boat containing the 12 immigrants off Korakas Cape in Lesbos.

Upon the arrival of the Greek Coast Guard, the helicopter left, leaving the Greek cops to arrest the 12. The Coast Guard took the 12 out of their boat, tied their hands to their necks, beat them, and put them back in the inflatable boat before piercing its sides with knives. Then they let the boat go to the open sea telling the asylum seekers in English: “Now you will die!”.

Immediately the boat started getting water in, and sinking. The asylum seekers were saved from certain drowning when a British cruise boat passed by, saw them and saved them. The asylum seekers were then taken to Pagani detention camp on Lesbos from where they contacted the UN through a sympathetic lawyer. The Coast Guard adding insult to harm has called the UN law suit against them an act of provocation.

4 Iraqis on hunger strike in Arta


In Arta, a town in north-western Greece of 25.000, four Iraqis went on hunger strike on the 9th of July, while another four Albanians are expecting for their asylum requests to be examined. The immigrants are not being accused of any crime, yet they have been locked up in a dirty and crowded cell at the police station for over two weeks, depending only on the good will of the police officers to leave the cell. The Iraqis, considerably weakened by the hunger strike and the conditions of detention, have even abstained from requesting political asylum and are hoping their hunger strike will help accelerate the process leading to their release and administrative deportation.

THE IMMEDIATE LEGACY OF THE PATRAS EVICTION: 23 immigrants on hunger strike in Agrinion

source: athens indymedia

On the 11 July 2009, the Patras TV channel “superb” broadcasted a live interview of the president of the police officers’ Union of Agrinion, a town of 100.000 inhabitants in Western Greece. The officer stated that 23 of 26 immigrants who had been arrested after the complete demolition of the 15-year-old refugee settlement in Patras by the authorities, and had then been transferred to the police headquarters in Agrinion, have now started a hunger strike. (The remaining three immigrants had been released.)

All 23 of the detainees (Somalis and Afghanis) were reported to be suffering contageous diseases, (mainly tuberculosis and scabs) yet were still being kept in jail instead of being taken to a hospital for proper care. The guards refused to go near them for fear of becoming infected and had therefore arranged for the immigrants to have direct access to the toilets. The police officers’ union president added that the immigrants had been offered to be returned to their countries on the expense of the Greek State but they had all declined.

A month later, on the 12th of August, four of the immigrants were transferred to the hospital, where they joined another four immigrants-hunger strikers who had been transferred there the previous day. All eight of them are in a critical condition. The original 23 immigrants were still refusing food until the 20th of August, when six of them were transferred to an unknown destination. 17 immigrants are now being detained in Agrinio, accepting water and food and awaiting the State’s decision about their fate.

Hunger Strike in Pagani, Lesvos

source and much material and updates at

Published on 20. August 2009,

On 18th of August 2009, 160 unaccompanied minors detained in Pagani detention centre went on hunger strike to demand their immediate freedom. All of them are detained in just one room, where they share one toilet, many need to sleep on the floor due to lack of beds. Some of the minors are only eight or nine years old. 50 of them have been detained for over 2 months, the others have been in Pagani for several weeks already. The detention of minors is illegal under greek law.

Today, 150 people from a local solidarity movement and antiracist groups here to prepare the noborder camp took to the detention centre to show solidarity and support for their demand for immediate freedom. On arrival, the detained persons started shouting “freedom, freedom”, which was answered by the demonstaration. Messages in English and Farsi were read out as the migrants inside passed letters with their demands and concerning their situation to the outside.

All participants of the demonstration were severly shocked in the light of the unbearable conditions in Pagani. We learnt of a 13-year-old boy inside Pagani who was extremely sick and in urgent need of medical attention for two days already. However, none of the authorities responsible acted. It was only when we called an ambulance it was possible to transport the sick boy to the hospital. We also learnt of a heavily pregnant woman in a very bad health state. She however refused to be brought to the hospital since she didn’t want to leave her other two little children alone in Pagani.

We left with the promise to come back soon and to spread the information about these obvious human rights abuses worldwide and went to the city to confront the attorney responsible with his neglect in taking care of the minors he is in charge of.

One letter we received reads:

We are having hardship times in this worst jail, more than three months in a bad situation, without any supporters except you. The police refuses or rejects to explain our bad situation in this bad jail. We are more than 1.000 prisoners, ladies, guys as well as lots of children. So as a conclusion, please do whatever you can. We are waiting a lot from you, we need our freedom as well as our rights.

Best regards, prisoners

Samos Hunger Strike: almost 600 Samos immigrants go on hunger strike over transfers, expulsions


The recent government policy of moving illegal immigrants to reception centers in northern Greece before expelling them from the country ran into more trouble yesterday, as 580 migrants being held on Samos went on hunger strike to protest the measure.

The migrants’ complaints were prompted by an attempt by authorities to remove 26 illegal immigrants from the island on Tuesday so that they could be transferred to another center in northern Greece.

Authorities have recently attempted to crack down on illegal immigration by stepping up the number of expulsions, while also taking into custody migrants squatting or renting accommodation in run-down buildings in Athens.

The practice of transferring migrants to northern Greece has, in recent weeks, met with the opposition of human rights campaigners who have attempted to prevent the operations from taking place.

Yesterday’s protest came as sources revealed to Kathimerini that one in three applications made this year to remain here by the families of migrants living legally in Greece will be rejected.

Sources said that some 9,000 applications had been made but that in some 3,000 cases, the requests would be turned down because the migrant who is the main breadwinner in the family was not earning enough money.

According to Greek law, for a migrant’s family to be allowed to remain in Greece, the head of the family must declare an income that is 20 percent more than that of an unskilled laborer, which amounts to 10,200 euros per year before taxes.

Campaigners for migrants’ rights have expressed concern that since, given the current economic conditions, many immigrants’ incomes do not reach this level, their wives and children will be deemed to be living here illegally.

The Interior Ministry said that migrants can appeal any decision to deport their families and instead of a residence permit will be issued with a document confirming their legal status (“veveosi”) that will then be renewed every six months until their case is heard.

Deaths in Kos and Igoumenitsa

from fortresseurope.blogspot

07/08/09 Greece Body found at Igoumenitsa port. He sneaked onto a truck believing it was about to board a ferry for Italy and he died after he jumped off when it appears that the truck was headed for mainland Greece
13/08/09 Greece Two bodies were recovered from the sea off the coast of the eastern Aegean island of Kos while another three people were reported to be missing

Children in prison in Thessaloniki

August 12, 2009


Two little girls from Afghanistan were among the immigrants detained in the Border Guard Station of Kordelio outside Thessaloniki. 8 year old Narges and 2 year old Farzona were arrested with their parents trying to board on forged documents on a plane to Stuttgart. Although the public prosecutor decided that the family should be trialed in October 2010, the police arrested them and detained the father and the rest of the family in different police prison spaces. In the mean time the police decision for their deportation was issued. Fortunately the next day a court decision ordered their release and their transfer to an NGO managed reception center.

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Unaccompanied minors abandoned between Greece and Turkey

Posted by clandestina on 2 August 2009


MIGRATION: Abandoned Between Two States

By Apostolis Fotiadis

IZMIR, Turkey, Jul 29 (IPS) – Isabelle Caillol, an activist with the Turkish branch of the human rights advocacy group Helsinki Citizens Assembly, sent a mass email to pro-migrant activists in Greece in May seeking help to find the family of Abbas Khavari, a 14-year-old Afghan refugee born in Iran.

“He and his family left Iran a few months ago and transited through Turkey to go to Greece,” she wrote in her email. “In December 2008, he and his family arrived in Athens. After ten days spent in Athens, when he was out of the house without his family, he was arrested by Greek authorities and deported to Turkey.”

Khavari was kept at a centre for unaccompanied minors in Istanbul, where Caillol found him. He had no phone number for his family in Athens, and no way of knowing if they were still there. And he had no contacts within the Afghan community in Istanbul that might help him search for them.

Khavari’s deportation and detention is yet more evidence of the anti- immigrant policies and a denial of international protection for refugees. It is evidence also of increased confrontation between Greece and Turkey over migrants.

Over the last two months Greece has stepped up blame on Turkey for insufficient action to stem the outflow of migrants from its territory and to renew a refoulement protocol signed between the two countries in 2001 under which Greece could immediately send back undocumented migrants coming from Turkey.

Greece has launched a campaign for greater cooperation among EU countries, and for the EU to make the Turkish position a factor in its accession move. “There is a need to strengthen cooperation at the European level and to boost our common means and efforts in order to deal with this issue effectively,” Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis said on a visit to Stockholm last week. Sweden has EU presidency for the second half of this year.

Two weeks back Karamanlis visited Spain and Italy. Mediterranean countries are demanding reversal of the Dublin II agreement, and increased policing of European borders.

Under Dublin II, asylum applicants must register in the first country where they come in contact with authorities. An asylum seeker moving to another country would have to be sent back to the country where he or she was initially registered.

The agreement has been widely criticised by human rights activists as a device to raise the walls of ‘Fortress Europe’, and for many EU states to reduce their responsibilities at the expense of border states.

Leaders from the Mediterranean countries plan to press hard on these issues ahead of the Stockholm Programme to be initiated later this year, that will largely determine Europe’s political and security agenda from 2010 to 2014.

Turkey, aware of the anti-immigration push in Europe, is preparing the necessary infrastructure in anticipation of new pressure.

“There are seven new reception centres able to accommodate 750 people each along the Turkish territory,” Prof. Taner Zorba from the Turkish Amnesty International told Greek and Turkish activists and lawyers at a meeting in Izmir city, 329 km south of Istanbul on the Turkish Aegean coast. “Another six detention centres are under planning.” Pro-migrant groups expect that this move will be accompanied by stepped up policing of irregular migration.

“We have decided to join efforts and organise an independent network that will help individual activists, members of NGOs, and lawyers exchange information on refoulements and detentions on both sides,” Marianna Tzeferakou, a lawyer from Athens told IPS.

“The plan is to raise public awareness and organise pressure on authorities. The message we want to send is that the illegal refoulements and the lives wasted in the Aegean are not accidents but the result of specific policies that ought to be stopped.”

The activists have symbolically named their campaign Kayiki, a common word in Turkish and Greek for the little boats fishermen use along the Aegean Sea. The first initiative will be to publicise stories of refugees and migrants in both countries in order to spotlight the inter-relation of their policies. (END/2009)

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Greece: Prapopoulou squat in Athens attacked, one immigrant beaten

Posted by clandestina on 2 August 2009


Greece: Prapopoulou squat attacked, one immigrant beaten

by Evgenia
Saturday Aug 1st, 2009 7:15 PM

On 1 August 2009 at 02:00 AM two thugs in helmets stopped with their motorcycle by the Prapopoulou squat and using iron bars they tried (unsuccessfully) to break doors and windows.

By pure chance at that moment a homeless immigrant, friend of the squat, was inside. When the thugs took notice of him, they launched a savage attack with their iron bars, hitting his head and body while engaging in racist hate speech. They then left, leaving behind them a container filled with petrol.

Neighbours heard the attacked man pleading for help and called an ambulance and nursed him. The fascist thugs failed to damage the squat. The general assembly was mobilised immediately, including comrades in solidarity. The fascists managed to injure, fortunately nor seriously, an immigrant.

Another parastate attack which comes to boost the state’s attempts towards the fascisticisation of society, against the repressed and struggling societal strata, the immigrants, and the self-managed social spaces and occupations.

Prapopoulou squat, Greater Athens Area, Greece

Original announcement in Greek:

Translated in English by Evgenia. Please show your solidarity.

About the Prapopoulou squat and Squats in Greece in general

Read the rest of this entry »

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A call for help for 43 Kurdish refugees facing illegal deportation

Posted by clandestina on 2 August 2009


see also this

“We’re are calling upon you for any kind of help for 43 Kurdish immigrants who having applied for political asylum were immediately given a deportation order by the Greek police in Hania, Crete and so taken from Hania to the Rodopi region of northern Greece.

Now after an outrageous violation of their rights police by the they are in Redopi. Of the 43 Kurdish immigrants, two are women, one, four and half months pregnant and four are minors.

Now they are in the Iasmou police department, Komotini, Rodopi and the detention centre in Renna, Rodopi. Any help from citizens should be sent there.”

This is happening NOW!!!!

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New FRONTEX ship in the harbour of Mitilini

Posted by clandestina on 2 August 2009


frontex 2-30.07

a Rumanian ship of FRONTEX is since yeasterday in the harbour of Mitilini ready to  replace the Italian FRONTEX ship that was here last month. you can enjoy both on this picture and also  apreciate how the rumanians pretend to be greenpeace….. For the short period both ships will kollaborate in the greek border , the italian ship will depart on the 5 of august. the rumanian one will stay for one month in the harbour of mitlini.

(informations from the Mitlini newspaper EMBROS 01.08.2009)

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