PRESS RELEASE – 18 FEBRUARY 2011
Posted by clandestina on 18 February 2011
Τhe 50 migrant workers on the 7th floor of the Labor Centre in Thessaloniki have been on hunger strike for 25 days now. The signs of exhaustion are now apparent and temporary loss of consciousness is a regular occurrence. In Athens, one hunger striker fainted in the middle of a Press conference. In Thessaloniki, the hunger striker who had been admitted to the Agios Pavlos Hospital on Wednesday night (the third fainting incident in Thessaloniki), is being released today. All 300 hunger strikers are determined to continue the hunger strike until they win. Their strength derives from their deep conviction that their demands are just and from their will to live -and to live with dignity.
Yesterday, members of the Open Initiative of Thessaloniki occupied the KEELPNO offices of the department of the Ministry of Health that visited the hunger strikers in Athens and helped the minister A. Loverdos orchestrate a goebbelist provocation, presenting, in the most racist way, the hunger strikers as a ‘bomb’ threatening public health. During the occupation of the KEELPNO, faxes were sent from the office machine, texts were read out and leaflets were distributed informing the public about the hunger strikers’ demands and the reasons for the occupation. The main slogan of their banner held was “the only infectious disease we could catch from the migrant hunger strikers is the struggle for dignity”.
Last night four people fly-posting material related to the solidarity campaign of the 300 hunger strikers were stopped by the police and taken to the Ano Poli Police Station. In minutes, many people were mobilized to gather and protest outside the Ano Poli Police Station demanding immediate release of their comrades. Soon after, the detainees were set free.
The assembly of hunger strikers in Thessaloniki receives messages of solidarity everyday by groups and individuals from Greece and abroad. Yesterday, the “Sans Papiers of Saint Denis” sent a solidarity message, and informed us that they are collecting signatures of solidarity by antiracist and sans papiers organizations, as well as preparing a protest outside the Greek Embassy, among other actions. Free Radio Dreyeckland from Freiburg, following an extensive radio-program on the issue, also sent a solidarity message signed by the general assembly of the radio, expressing the hope that the struggle of the 300 migrants will win. Also, the hunger strikers received a message of support by 130 trade-unionists from unions, federations, labor centres, from the General Confederation of Labor Unions and from the Superior Administration of Unions of Public Sector Workers which ends with the following words: “We consider the working migrants the most vulnerable and most harshly exploited section of our class. We have common interests. We ask of the government to satisfy their demands.” The Union of Workers at the Call Centres of the Telecommunications Company of Greece (SETKE-OTE) also sent a message of support to the 300 hunger strikers, and donated a sum to help fund the ongoing struggle.
The Open Solidarity Initiative invites everyone to the interventions and solidarity actions planned for the next days:
* Today Friday, February 18, at 6pm, the Open Solidarity Initiative is organizing a solidarity march, beginning at Kamara.
* At 8pm, the Open Assembly of the Upper Town is holding an info-meeting at their social centre at the Koule Kahfe square
* On Saturday, February 19, the Yfanet squat is holding a discussion and fund-raising event at Yfanet with the participation of a member of the Forum of Migrants in Crete who is accompanying the hunger strikers.
* On Monday, February 21, at 8pm, an open solidarity concert is being planned, with the participation of many well-known artists who have expressed their solidarity with the migrant hunger strikers.