Migration and Struggle in Greece


Posted by clandestina on 27 February 2011

Sunday, February 27, 2011

DAY 34 of the hunger strike

The 300 migrants, 50 of which are staying at the 7th floor of the Labor Centre, have been on a hunger strike for 34 days now. Most of them now weigh between 40-44 kg, they are all physically exhausted, and they keep fainting. However, they have still not lost hope and are determined to continue with their struggle until their demands are fulfilled. A while ago, three hunger strikers were taken to hospital (raising the total number to 18). Another three, who were admitted to the Hippocrateion for temporarily loss of consciousness, are still being hospitalized.

Today, the MPs Dritsas, Amanatidou and Tasos Kourakis of the SYRIZA Party, members of hospital, school and labor unions, as well as members of the City Council visited the hunger strikers and expressed their support with their struggle. During their visit, they discussed with representatives of the strikers about the strikers’ health and the demands of their struggle. “The health of the strikers is at a crucial point”, they stated. “These developments call for heightened political responsibility, which the government does not seem to be taking”

Yesterday, day 33 of the hunger strike, members of the Solidarity Initiative had planned to go to an event in honour of the film director Costas Gavras, which involved the screening of his latest film “Heaven is West” (2009) which tackles the issue of “illegal” immigration, at the Fondation Hellenique in Paris. To their surprise, a few minutes before the beginning of the screening, Theodoros Pangalos, vice president of the Hellenic parliament, entered the room. They spontaneously started speaking out to the audience, demanding that Pangalos depart immediately. In their written announcement we read: “The expulsion of Theodoros Pangalos today is of particular political importance. So long as immigrants are still drowing in the Aegean, and fences are being built across the Greco-turkish border in the Evros region, so long as 300 migrants are risking their lives and at the same time the government is continuing its assault against all workers and against the whole of society, [in a venue like this] no member of the government will be legitimized, neither politically, nor as physical presence.” You can watch a video of the event here:

For the next few days, the Open Solidarity Initiative is planning a demo with motorcycles on Tuesday, March 1 (meeting at 6pm at the Labor Centre), and a solidarity march on Thursday, March 3 (meeting at 6pm at the Venizelou statue). Until now, the migrant hunger strikers have been speaking up for all our sakes. Now that they cannot talk, it is time for us to speak up for them.

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