Migration and Struggle in Greece

Posts Tagged ‘housing’

Italy: revolt for life and dignity 2

Posted by clandestina on 13 January 2010

More texts on the situation in Southern Italy.

“We Are Not Animals!” Italy’s Racial Riots and Their Aftermath

MARIA RITA LATTO (January 11, 2010)

Rage and fear. This is what comes out of the images from Rosarno, a small town near the western coast of Calabria, where violent clashes broke out after two African immigrants were wounded by a pellet gun attack by white youths in a car.

“Those guys were firing at us as if it was a fairground,” one of the men told La Repubblica newspaper. “They were laughing, I was screaming, other cars were passing by but nobody stopped them.”

Read the rest of this entry »

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Police and Neo-Nazi scum collaborate once more in Athens…

Posted by clandestina on 10 May 2009


athens indymedia photos

athens indymedia photos

… once more, against immigrants, refugees and anti-racists.  

Neo-nazis and junta-nostalgic ultra-nationalist scum were to do a demo in Athens down-town yesterday, bargaining on the cultivated by mass media sentiment of economic insecurity, to promote their anti-immigration absurdities. The gathering spot for this demo was at Omonoia square and about 100 braindeads were there. The gist of the days’ events is that the Police has an excellent cooperation with the para-statal neo-Nazis (of Golden Dawn) and uses them to help keep up the anti-migrant terror. 

At the same time, in surrounding streets and squares, antiracist organizations of all shades called for counter-demos. Most of the anarchists gathered at Kaniggos square but they were attacked by riot police and repulsed towards Exarcheia and the Polytechnic. There were conflicts and barricades for some time there. From Kotzia square migrant, student and leftist associations moved towards Stadiou avenue to prevent the neo-nazis from taking it to this central avenue. At the same time, other antiracist organizations of the left gathered in front of the Court of Appeals building .

The neo-nazis when obstructed from doing the demo started beating randomly immigrants with iron bars in Menandrou street. The police all the time looked but not intervened. Their collaboration got even tighter when the neo-nazis moved towards their headquarters, which is located near the Court of Appeals building at Socratous Street. Under the protection of the riot police, from their hq’s roof and then from the street, the neo-nazis attacked the building where immigrants find refuge with stones and flash and sound grenades. The neo-nazis were all wearing helmets, this at a time when in Greece the state attempts to illegalise hoods in protests.  They tried to invade the building but the immigrants defended it with stones. Four protestors and many immigrants were injured.  A girl was  arrested.  

All these, in the background of tragicomic but intense efforts by the Ministry of Public order to promote and further solidify Security State regulations across various spheres of the Greek society – for instance, it wants to plant 1.100 new surveillance cameras in Athens.

See photos and videos of the collaboration between police and neo-nazis here.  One more video is available here – if you dont understand Greek skip the first half.

info from

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More about the Court of Appeals building in Athens…

Posted by clandestina on 9 May 2009

These are some developments on the issue of the Athens Court Appeals Building from Kathimerini.

Today, there as well as elsewhere around Athens, both immigrants, and Greek antifascists were attacked by neonazi scum under the protection of police.  We will be reporting on this soon.


Activists lobby for migrant shelter


Illegal immigrants wait yesterday for medical advice from a member of the Doctors of the World aid organization which has set up a mobile unit outside the premises of the old Athens appeals court on Socratous Street in the city center where hundreds of migrants have been squatting for the past six months in squalid conditions. Doctors have said they will remain on site, offering the migrants vaccinations, medicines and advice, for as long as necessary.

Migrant support groups and leftist organizations yesterday held a press conference in the grounds of the old appeals court in central Athens, where hundreds of illegal immigrants have been squatting for the past six months, calling on authorities to transform the run-down building into “the first city shelter for migrants.”

“There are more than 550 people living here without basic amenities such as water and electricity,” said Thanassis Kourkoulas of a migrant support group called Deport Racism. According to Kourkoulas, local authorities are unwilling to foot the bill for transforming the Socratous Street site into a shelter for the migrants, most of whom are from Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. The authorities point to the fact that the building belongs to a private insurance firm that has reportedly asked police to evict the migrants from the premises. Recent reports suggest that a police raid might be in the works. Interior Ministry sources told Kathimerini earlier this week about plans to transfer the residents to a disused military facility in Aspropyrgos, west of Athens. Authorities in Aspropyrgos have expressed their opposition to such an eventuality, as have those at Drepano, near Rio, where another disused military site has been touted as an alternative shelter for hundreds of migrants camping at the western port of Patras in a bid to board ferries to Italy.

In the case of the Socratous Street migrants, rights groups are pressing authorities not to “look elsewhere” for a solution but to overhaul the old building and provide them with “a decent place to live.” The groups are also lobbying for the government to grant legal status to all the migrants at the site. “Some of the migrants here have been in Greece for years,” Kourkoulas said.

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Ιmmigrants threatened with eviction from the empty building of the Court of Appeal of Athens

Posted by clandestina on 2 May 2009

This is a synthesis of these and TVXS articles.



More than 500 new immigrants from the Maghreb countries have occupied the 8 floor building at Socratous str., near Omonoia square.   A first person testimony: «It is the most miserable place of residence of immigrants that I have seen and I have seen several: people sleep next to decomposing litter and excrements». 

After the intervention by the police some months ago, now a strange warrant was posted on the door of the building a new that the public prosecutor is about to intervene. 

In particular, on Monday 27 of April morning, unknown men opened with a key the lock of the main entrance and posted on various parts of the building a notice requiring that immigrants leave the place within 24 hours as there is a command by the prosecutors and repair works are to take place there police protection.   The notice was a simple A4 printing, it was unsigned and did not bear the marks of any distinguishable formal authority. 

For the first time a television camera entered the building and shot the pictures of the terrible conditions of residence of these people. We talked with them and they told us that if kicked out they have nowhere to go and they are bound to end up homeless in the streets of Athens. They are resolved to seek a better life in Greece and we were told they only look for an opportunity to work to ensure food and a place to sleep for themselves. 

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“We Need Help” – The direct testimony of the refugees in the Patras camp

Posted by clandestina on 28 April 2009

nologoBelow is research material in English about the Patras Refugee Camp (relevant clandestinenglish posts about recent developments there are here, here and here) from the Melting Pot Europe Project. We noticed the project through


Yasser ‘s voice seems to come from another planet: “Help us, we need someone fight for our rights”. Haji, the representative of the Afghan community in the Patras slum-camp, reports what happened during the rebellion.
Thousands of Afghan citizens, whose stories we have already reported, barricaded themselves inside the camp. Police doesn’t intervene, but keeps under surveillance the entire place. The refugees are afraid to walk outside the camp. They are terrorized by the policemen, but also by the Greek citizens. The 2nd March 2009 Greeks joined security forces to disperse with tear-gas the spontaneous demonstration of the Afghan refugees.
They were at the port, as they did each afternoon, trying to get on the ships directed to Italy, hoping to obtain the international protection which is completely denied in Greece against any national and European law. Even though the ports on the Adriatic sea reject them almost indiscriminately, they have no other choice except keep trying. This is the only way to get out this situation, risking their own lives in order to find any kind of dignity for being humans.
That afternoon, one of them had almost managed to hide himself inside one of the departing trucks, but something went wrong and he fell. The witnesses affirm that the truck behind him accelerated instead of stopping. His friends thought him dead, when they saw him laying unconscious in his own blood. They were mad with rage and began throwing stones against the truck. Then in just a second the strife began. The charitable associations supporting Patras refugees arrived, but also the organized groups which have always been against them. The strife stopped late into the night.
Greece, member of the European Union, is violating every day the rights of these people. The requests for asylum have been suspended since September 2008. Yet each of these young boys, many of them are under 18 years old and even children, have terrible stories behind them. Bombs and conscription for the Afghanistan war, violence of the Iranian police, Turkish prison, detention centers in Greece, mass rejection from Italy. The boy who has been knocked down by the truck is in coma in the hospital. Yet none of his friends could personally make sure if he is still alive. Twenty-five afghan citizens at the port on the 2nd of March have been arrested and nobody knows anything about them.

Uncut version of Yasser’s interview
- Listen in English ]
- Listen in Italian ]

Uncut version of Haji’s interview
- Listen in farsi ]
- Listen in Italian ]

- Watch the video on the strife at Patras Port
- Read the testimony of Marianne, who is working for Kinisi Association

Transcript of Yasser’s interview

My name is Yasser.
Hi Yasser, do you remember me? I was in Patras some weeks ago…
Yes of course I remember…

We would like that you tells us what happened those days. Could you tell me something about what happened at the Patras Port, but also about what is happening right now? Where are you now?
Now I am at the camp.

What can you tell me about the camp at this moment? Are you surrounded?
There is the police, not quite close but still here. The camp is surrounded by the police.

And they do not allow you to go outside?
It is difficult for us to go out.

Why are they behaving like this?
I don’t know but I think because of the incident happened few days ago. Since the incident the police have surrounded the camp and we are afraid of going out because the police is here.

Can you tell us something more about what happened at the port few days ago?
Yes, there was this boy who was trying to get on the truck, hide himself, then another truck arrived and knocked him down. His mouth was bleeding and he also badly hit his head. After few minutes we thought him dead, then he was taken to the hospital. The doctor says he isn’t dead, but he is in a coma. Yet none of us saw him, and we know nothing about what is happening to him.

Why did you get angry that day at the port anyway?
Because we are human beings as well, we have human rights too. Nobody must kill us in such manner, it wasn’t the first time however. Last year another driver killed a boy at the port. Police beats us every day at the port, but also on the streets. We are human beings and we have human rights.

Therefore this is quite normal, is police normally behaving like that? Is it always violent with you?
Yes it is. Anyway at the moment the Greek community represent another problem. Some Greek citizens joining the police attack us that night at the port too.

Why is this happening?
I don’t know why this is happening, I don’t know why they are angry with us. We don’t do anything bad, we didn’t harm they, we simply try to enter the port during evening. Yet lots of Greeks joined the police that night and attacked us, while the police was throwing tear-gases at us. There weren’t one or two persons. There were lots of them.

Could you explain the reason why you try to reach Italy each night passing through the Patras port? What is for you the problem in Greece? Our condition in Greece is terrible difficult because we cannot obtain asylum and we cannot find a job. We can’t do anything, therefore we try to reach Italy in order to seek asylum and find a place where to live.

Did you ask for asylum in Greece?
Not me, but other persons in the camp did. Here if you ask for asylum they say you are a liar. What changes if you do ask for asylum? The lawyer explained us that they admit asylum for less than 1% of the requests. Actually it is impossible to obtain political asylum here.

Did they confined you or not in a detention center the first day you arrived to Greece?
No, I came directly to Patras, I have already known that I had to try to continue my journey.

Therefore you go to the port each night and try to hide inside the trucks departing for Italy?
Yes, each night.

Now after the incident what do you think will happen in Patras?
We don’t know yet. The police is here surrounding us, but none of us knows exactly what is about to happen.
We are afraid for our lives. Since days we have been barricaded inside the camp without doing out.

You do not only fear the police, but also the Greek citizens?
Each of us retard going out the camp because we don’t know what might happen. Now we are afraid of simply walking on the streets.

How old are you?
I am 19.

What is the average age in the camp?
Almost everybody is less than 20 years old.

How many persons are there in the camp at the moment?
More than one thousand.

What can you tell us about the life in the camp?
Life here is dreadful. We are living in hell.

Is there anything that you would like to ask the Greek and the Italian government?
I don’t ask for anything to the Greek government, as I already know that it would never help us. I would ask the Italian government instead to open its gates because here life is like living in war. I would say to the Italian government that we are refugees, that we didn’t come here to harm anybody, we came here only to live and have a better life, we came here to survive. I would say to the Italian government please open the gates. You know how we are living. During these days lots of journalists came down here and reported to us what is happening in Patras. We cannot live this way any longer.

Would you like to tell us something of your life? Explain us why are you a refugee?
I am a refugee because my country is in war, but as far as I am regarded the problem goes beyond this. My story is quite different from the other ones. One day as I came back home, I found my father that had just killed my mother. At that point I killed my father. My entire family is against me. I had no other choice but running away.

Do all of you inside the camp have such difficult story?
Yes, all of us have such stories.

Have you tried to tell your story to anybody from Greece?
No, I don’t even try. Only two friends of mine know the story, and nobody else.

Are you going to try to go inside the port again this night?
I don’t, and like me neither many others in the camp. We are afraid. If now after the incident the police arrests us, who knows what might happen to us.

What happens usually when the police arrests you at the port?
They take us to the police station and they leave us there for 24 hours with no water nor food.

Do they beat you?
Is normal that they beat us. They beat us, shout at us, insult us, abuse us.

Thank you very much Yasser. We promise you that we are going to make your voice heard. We join you in your battle for your rights.
Thank you, we need somebody to fight for our rights, we need help.

Last question: do you organize any demonstration for the next days?
Yes, I know that they are organizing some demonstrations, but I don’t know precisely what are you going to do.

Are there any Greek association supporting you?
Yes, they came down here and ask us to join them in a demonstration. I am not quite sure if we are going to join them, but maybe next week. There are some groups, not many actually. Hope that works.

What do you think, is it important to make a demonstration right now?
Yes, I think so. I don’t know what the other one thousand refugees might think, but I think it does.

Were you there that day during the strife?
I arrived five minutes later. I was there when there were throwing tear-gases at us. They arrested 25 persons and we know nothing about where they are, nobody knows anything.

Are there children among them?
Yes of course, there would be children too.

Transcript of Haji’s interview
It was 4 pm when a seventeen years boy named San tried to get out the port by hanging on behind a truck. Then another truck arrived and he got smashed between the both of them. At that point the boys who were there got angry with the truck drivers and the strife began.
The boys threw stones against the windows of the trucks. Then some Greek persons began arguing with the boys that were protesting and the strife extended. At that point the police intervened with tear-gases.
When I saw what was happening, I approached the boys together with a Greek friend of mine and we promised them that we would go and see how San in the hospital was doing. There were 4 of us going to the hospital and we found out that San was in a coma and that the doctors decided to operate him: therefore it was impossible for us to see him. We know nothing about him, not even his brother could see him. Doctors are still saying that he is in a coma and that they have to operate him because of the injures he has at his head and arms.
For almost 12 hours there was some sort of war between migrants and police. At this point a group of fascists tried to burn down the camp. All the people inside the camp had to go out because the situation was very dangerous.

This interview was made by Basir ad Haji in the Patras camp.

Alessandra Sciurba, progetto Melting Pot Europa

Translated by Oprea Mihaela

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