Migration and Struggle in Greece

Archive for May, 2011

Against social cannibalism and fascist pogroms

Posted by clandestina on 24 May 2011

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Igoumenitsa refugees threatened by eviction

Posted by clandestina on 23 May 2011

Today the Greek government announced in the TV-channel SKAI their new plans of repression. In a period of massive fascist pogroms in Athens, they react with more police, massive arrests and the construction of 14 new detention and deportation centres. One of them should be close to Igoumenitsa. Additionally, the government said, it was already conducting police raids in Igoumenitsa and further actions would include the eviction of the informal settlements of the sans-papiers in the jungles of Igoumenitsa. There have been around 400 arrests during the last weeks and the police announced to arrest the (as they say) 300 remaining migrants.
Igoumenitsa is the second largest exit-port for migrants from Greece to Italy. Around 500-700 refugees from all war-zones of the world (Sudanese, Eritreans, Afghans, Saharaouis from Morocco, Iraqis, Kurds and Maghrebinias) are living under inhuman and degrading conditions in the mountains close to the port, waiting for their chance to leave Greece and find a safe haven in the North – “the real Europe” as they say. There are quiet a lot of migrants who stay in Igoumenitsa for many months now. Many of them made it already several times to the Italian ports but were deported before being able to leave the port or apply for asylum. A lot of people have been deported from European countries before due to the DublinII Regulation.
They are living in small huts without water or electricity or any sanitary infrastructure. Most of the sans-papiers have totally run out of money. They can not afford to buy food. Every night you see people searching for food in the garbage. They are starving from hunger.
(See also “Schengendangle” a report that describes the situation in Igoumenitsa one year ago:
During the last weeks the situation was again escalating in Igoumenitsa. Like in Athens there is a growing movement of Greek citizens who protest against the refugees’ living side by side with them in the city. There are organized fascists among these people from the extreme right group “Chrisi Avgi” (golden dawn) but more and more unorganized people join them. A demonstration organised by the municipality, the lawyers bar, the chamber of commerce and a group of “citizens” took place at the 3rd of May at the port entrance and close to the mountains. Although the general slogan was “For a more human city” some of the protestors started very soon to insult the migrants who were in their majority on the mountain. The fascist slogans were followed by the attacks of some Neonazis who were throwing fireworks towards the sans-papiers. In an effort to protect and defend themselves from the near coming violence some migrants answered these by throwing stones.
Shortly after this anti-immigrant protest the police opened a new hunting-season by arresting great numbers of sans-papiers every day, thus, hindering them from entering the city and imposing an embargo of food on them. Most of the people arrested in Igoumenitsa are transferred into prisons and detention centres far away from Igoumenitsa. After being released they will have to make all the way back by foot. The ones who strand here are the ones who have run out of money. This is their last chance to get out of Hell-As.
The policy of fear is also expressed by an increased brutality by the authorities. The police-has stopped the “go-away-asshole-shouting” policy and (re-)entered a new phase of violence. There are people with broken legs and hands from the beatings inside and outside the port and there are others with big cuts on their heads. They tell about taser (electro shock) being used on them. There have been even shootings in the air to frighten the refugees. The police already evicted settlement sites at the seaside and inside the city. The migrants from these places are moving to other jungles, building new huts there. It is very obvious that police will try to evict also these places. Like in former times they will most probably destroy the huts, the small pieces of privacy, the few clothes and personal things that the refugees could save for them and arrest as many people as possible.
The situation is escalating and the sans-papiers need support and solidarity!
They ask for support from inside and outside of Greece by activists and journalists.
They want their problems to be heard and their struggle to be supported.
It would be important to have a changing group of people here during the next weeks and months to observe the situation, document cases of police-violence and of continuing police raids.
People who have the interest and time to come NOW and support the sans-papiers and the local solidarity structures in their fight for their rights can contact us:

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Evros fence to be built, detentions centers announced

Posted by clandestina on 21 May 2011

Citizen’s protection minister Christos Papoutsis announced the government’s decision to set up detention centres for migrants and released the plans of the fence that will finally be built in the Evros region. The announced detention camps and screening centers are:

  1. Laconia, sparta = detention camp
  2. Chios, Mersinidi= detention camp
  3. Samos, Vathy = screening center
  4. Amygdaleza, Attica = screening center for minors
  5. Εlliniko, Attica the old jails = detention camp
  6. Elliniko, Attica the new jails = screening center
  7. Petrou Ralli Police Station, Aliens Bureau (Attica) = detention camp
  8. Aspropyrgos, Attica = detention camp
  9. Vena, Rhodopi = detention camp
  10. Fylakio, Evros = detention camp + in prefabricated houses in an adjacent public land= screening center
  11. Prefecture of Thesprotia (Igoumenitsa, Sayada, Filiates, Syvota, Paramythia,Margariti, Acherontas) = taking into consideration 3 proposals for the construction of a detention camp outside the city of Igoumenitsa
  12. Aitolakarnania, Stanos – in Psarogiannis’ military camp = detention camp
  13. Evros, Karoti, former military camp Filiridi = detention camp
  14. Orestiada, Evros = Taking into consideration the proposal for the construction of a multi-dynamic centre (asylum service, screening center, Frontex Administration, Orestiada’s Police Department, Orestiada’s Fire Brigade)

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Greek ‘left’ composer proposes immigrants to be transfered to uninhabited islands

Posted by clandestina on 21 May 2011

Composer’s comments on migrants cause stir
Dionysis Savvopoulos calls for those without papers to be transferred to island for farm work

Comments by the respected composer Dionysis Savvopoulos, according to which undocumented immigrants living in central Athens, should be sent to sparsely-inhabited Aegean islands for farm work under the aegis of the United Nations refugee agency, caused a stir on Thursday.

Speaking to Athens City Hall municipal radio station, 984, Savvopoulos said on Wednesday that the problems being caused by a burgeoning population of illegal immigrants in the city’s historic center were overwhelming and called on authorities to declare a state of emergency and remove all migrants from the area.

“Athens cannot become the dumping ground for all these people,” Savvopoulos said, noting that the capital should bar access to any new migrants until the European Union drafts a more effective policy for the repatriation of economic migrants.

Responding to objections by journalist Angelos Tsekeris that exiling immigrants to rocky islets might not be the ideal solution to the city’s problems, Savvopoulos remarked, “it is time to decide whether to live or die.”

The composer also drew attention to the scourge of drug dealing and suggested that all derelict buildings currently being occupied by drug addicts be evacuated and renovated.

The drug addicts can be transferred to areas where drug dealers cannot easily find them, he added.

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Evros: Border guards unhurt in shooting

Posted by clandestina on 21 May 2011

Four Greek border guards and two German commandos dispatched to the Greek-Turkish frontier by Frontex, the European Union’s border monitoring agency, emerged unscathed on Friday after four suspected Turkish people smugglers opened fire on them with hunting rifles.

The smugglers had been preparing to disembark a group of nearly 100 would-be migrants onto an islet in the River Evros, which forms part of Greece’s land border with Turkey, when they spotted two police patrol vehicles on the Greek side of the border.

The suspects fired their guns in the air first, presumably as a warning for the Greek-German contingent to retreat. Seeing no reaction, the smugglers started firing at the two vehicles which were a few hundred meters away.

Neither the Greek border guards nor the Frontex officials returned fire but contacted the Turkish police by radio to inform them of the incident. Turkish authorities reacted quickly, arresting a group of 97 people including the suspected smugglers. The ethnic origin of the would-be migrants remained unclear.

Speaking to Kathimerini, the head of the Evros police officers’ union, Constantinos Hatzianagnostou, said yesterday that the number of illegal immigrants entering Greece via the Evros River has increased to more than 100 per day following a brief lull.

Earlier this week, Citizens’ Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis said that a European Union-subsidized project to build a fence along the Greek-Turkish border to keep out would-be migrants was moving forward. The minister also heralded the construction of several new migrant reception centers.

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Two dead, child missing when dinghy carrying migrants turns over

Posted by clandestina on 21 May 2011

A man and an eight year old child drowned while another child was missing in the sea off Nikopolis, Preveza, northwestern Greece on Wednesday, when a dinghy carrying 24 sans-papier migrants overturned in the water.

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Fascist pogroms in Athens, one migrant stabbed to death, 17 hospitalized

Posted by clandestina on 13 May 2011

In the early hours of May 12th a 21-year old Bangladeshi migrant was stabbed to death in the Kato Patisia district of Athens. The victim was lethally stabbed almost certainly by fascist thugs who have launched a series of attacks in the centre of Athens following the murder of a Greek man on Tuesday night, on the corner of Ipirou and Tritis Septemvriou Street. Eye witnesses report that the murderers of the 21-year old man chased him around the neighbourhood and spoke Greek. On Wednesday night alone fascist thugs roamed  through a number of districts of central Athens, injuring many migrants, 17 of them were hospitalised.

Video from the pogrom

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Nato units left 61 African migrants to die of hunger and thirst

Posted by clandestina on 9 May 2011

Exclusive: Boat trying to reach Lampedusa was left to drift in Mediterranean for 16 days, despite alarm being raised

Refugees from Libya reach Lampedusa

Refugees from Libya reach Lampedusa. A Nato ship failed to rescue a boat in trouble – leaving 61 people on board to die. Photograph: Francesco Malavolta/EPA

Dozens of African migrants were left to die in the Mediterranean after a number of European and Nato military units apparently ignored their cries for help, the Guardian has learned.

A boat carrying 72 passengers, including several women, young children and political refugees, ran into trouble in late March after leaving Tripoli for the Italian island of Lampedusa. Despite alarms being raised with the Italian coastguard and the boat making contact with a military helicopter and a Nato warship, no rescue effort was attempted. Read the rest of this entry »

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