Migration and Struggle in Greece

Athens: Police aggresses homeless refugees at the main railway station

Posted by clandestina on 22 October 2010

The Network of Social Support for Refugees and Migrants DYKTIO condemns today’s (22.10.10) police aggression who together with employees of the municipality «cleaned» the region near to the railway station. The hunted refugees of St. Panteleimon Church and Attica Square, in their majority being Afghans but also some Algerians and Tunisians, are camping since weeks in a provisory shelter they built up in a basketball court on the opposite side of the train station. Police and municipality together took away everything these people had in order to protect themselves on a minimum level from the cold: Clothes, blankets… making it impossible for them to continue staying in whatever place they can find to sleep outside. Before leaving they warned them not to remain any further night there.

It is not the first time that the police aggresses the refugees’ provisory shelter. On the contrary it constitutes an organized attack against the refugees, which this time just happens to have taken place at the main railway station.

In the frame of the «cleaning» operation in the centre of the city of Athens police and municipality together have started a pre-election pogrom in order to remove «the margins», meaning the refugees and among them minors and families with small children who came «to relocate» the city.

Among the refugees are families with babies, unaccompanied minors, Dublin II returnees and asylum seekers. Their shelter is an open basketball court without any form of roof – a place exposed to the cold and rainfalls that are characteristic for this season. It is the only alternative for these people after successive expulsions by «indignant citizens» and gangs of the extreme right who «guard» by day and night the regions around St. Panteleimon Church and recently also Attica Square under the open and complete coverage of the police forces.

The efforts to find shelter have been fruitless for the families. Housing facilities for refugees are almost non-existent and only concern asylum seekers – and this in a period of time where the central aliens police has closed the doors of the asylum offices on illegal grounds making it practically impossible to claim whatever kind of protection.

The already tragic situation of these people is completed by daily brutal and racist assaults. Most of these homeless refugees have fallen repeatedly victims of beatings in the side streets and squares of the region, not only by «indignant citizens» and gangs of the extreme right but also by the police – such as happened today at the main railway station.

Network of the Social Support of Refugees and Migrants

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