Migration and Struggle in Greece


Posted by clandestina on 2 March 2011

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

DAY 36 of the hunger strike


The 300 migrants, 50 of whom are staying at the 7th floor of the Labor Centre, have been on a hunger strike for 36 days now. Their health is at a very crucial point. After their decision to abstain from sugar, more and more strikers are being taken to hospital with hypoglycemia. The strikers are facing irreparable damage to vital organs, like the brain, for which sugars are essential. Today, another two were taken to the Hippocrateion hospital in a hypoglycemic coma. At the moment 15 strikers are being hospitalized. While all the strikers are physically exhausted, they have still not lost hope and are determined to continue with their struggle until their demands are fulfilled.

Today, at an emergency Press release, Stratis Plomaritis, a member of the medical health team and president of the hospital workers’ union, stated that: “abstinence from sugar can cause from irreparable damage to the central nervous system at best, to death.” He also called the government to take up action, because “tomorrow a hunger striker might be dead”. Ghani, the representative of the hunger strikers said the government should stop shifting responsibility from on ministry to another. “The government should respond to the situation before it is too late. The strikers’ demands are very clear. They demand a residence permit and regularization for the 300 hunger strikers. They demand that the residence permit is completely disconnected from work credits. They demand that all immigrants who were denied papers in 2005, and those who lost the possibility to apply for papers because of the crisis, to be granted permits. They demand an open regularization process for all immigrants, every 2 or 3 years.” He added that “the message of the hunger strikers to Greek society is that they are not interested in making war with your country. We are fighting for our rights. We know that you understand us and that you are with us already. Greek workers have already benefited from the struggle of the migrants: The required work credits for social insurance were dropped from 80 to 50. Yes, indeed we are a ‘bomb’. We are a bomb of struggle for equal rights, a bomb of struggle for dignity.”

Today, members of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) visited the hunger strikers, amongst them the MP Christos Ziogas, the member of the KKE Central Committee Lazaros Babas, and expressed their solidarity to the hunger strikers and their struggle. Mr. Ziogas stated that: “The KKE Party does not only express its solidarity, it defends the rights of immigrants, whom the Party considers an integral part of the working class. For years it has struggled for the regularization of immigrants. The Thessaloniki Organization of the KKE Party has stood by and will continue to defend the struggle until the fair and just demands of the hunger strikers are fulfilled.

Also members of the Democratic Left expressed their solidarity and called the government to “respond to the situation and avoid the worst”.

Today, as an act of solidarity to the hunger strikers, members of the Open Solidarity Initiative occupied the Rector’s Offices at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and the University of Macedonia. The banners read: “ONE MONTH OF HUNGER STRIKE. PASOK IS EXTERMINATING HUMAN BEINGS.” Faxes were sent for both offices calling everyone to the motorcycle demo today at 6pm, meeting at the Labor Centre and to the demo on Thursday, meeting at 6pm at the Venuzelou statue. In their leaflet, they note that “we must break through the wall of guilty silence and resist the death penalty which state and government are putting forward. The fighting spirit of the 300 migrant hunger strikers inspires us to be on their side and demand, with them, political and social regularization of all migrants.”

We repeat that the Open Solidarity Initiative is planning a demo with motorcycles today, March 1 (meeting at 6pm at the Labor Centre), and a solidarity march on Thursday, March 3 (meeting at 6pm at the Venizelou statue).

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