Migration and Struggle in Greece

Posts Tagged ‘Muslims’

Greece and France ask for more FRONTEX… on “humanitarian reform” background.

Posted by clandestina on 21 January 2010

These are only fragments of the way Greek government tries to divide and control immigrants  through integration carrots for long-residing and zero-tolerance-for-illegals stick.


Franco-Greek immigrant plan

Citizens’ Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis and France’s Minister of Immigration and Integration Eric Besson yesterday sent a joint letter to the Spanish government, which currently holds the European Union’s rotating presidency, proposing an upgrade in the powers of the EU’s border-monitoring agency Frontex to crack down on illegal immigration.

The proposals listed in the letter, sent to Spanish authorities ahead of an informal summit of EU interior ministers due to start in Toledo today, include “closer operational cooperation between Frontex and migrants’ countries of origin and transit countries.” The Franco-Greek initiative also proposes “the examination of the possibility of regular chartered return flights at the expense of Frontex.” […].


Premier heralds new asylum agency

Prime Minister George Papandreou yesterday heralded the creation of a new independent agency for the processing of thousands of immigrants’ asylum claims during talks with visiting United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres.

Papandreou reassured Guterres that the new agency would offer protection to those who need it but stressed that Greek authorities would intensify their crackdown on migrants entering the country illegally for the good of the country and the European Union. “It is certain that the potential of Europe and Greece to receive and integrate [migrants] is limited,” Papandreou said. The prime minister also stressed the importance of the “cooperation of countries bordering the EU… to ensure that those who are really in need are protected while reducing the burden faced by EU member states.” The two men reportedly discussed the role of Turkey in this regard. In a related development yesterday, Citizens’ Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis said that he and his French counterpart Brice Hortefeux would tomorrow unveil a joint initiative aimed at “urging Turkey into respecting the agreements that it has signed.” The premier also briefed Guterres on a government bill, to be submitted in Parliament by next week, that aims to grant citizenship to tens of thousands of migrants living and working legally in Greece and to their children.

Guterres welcomed the news about the bill and the establishment of a new asylum-processing agency, noting that these measures would “secure human rights and social cohesion in Greece.” He added that he understood the need for Greece to conduct tighter border checks but remarked that “migration is a matter of human rights as well as national security protection.”

A working committee – comprising experts from the Citizens’ Protection, Interior and Health ministries, the UNHCR and a string of nongovernmental organizations – yesterday proposed that the separation of migrants meriting refugee status from economic migrants be carried out in special reception centers. These “first stop” centers are to be set up in due course though it is unclear where they will be located.

Apart from the claims for asylum being lodged by new migrants arriving in Greece daily, the new agency has some 44,500 applications that are pending.

Posted in uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Muslims in Greece’s Capital Demand Mosque from the New Government

Posted by clandestina on 11 October 2009


Muslims in Greece’s Capital Demand Mosque from the New Government

8 October 2009 | Thousands of Muslims in Athens appealed for the construction of a mosque to Greece’s new government in the framework of the international congress dedicated to Muslim communities and their cultural identity.

The congress took place for the first time in the country, the national Ta Nea newspaper reported today.

Athens is the only European capital, which has neither a mosque nor a cemetery for Muslims, the representative of the Afghan Muslims residing in Greece told the publication.

He added that, for the time being, Muslims in Athens are forced to pray in improvised “mosques,” such as garages, basements and apartments.

Successive Greek governments have failed to honour their commitment to establish a mosque in Athens for the last 30 years, the Greek newspaper Eleftheros Typos wrote in the spring, also noting that there were over 100 illegal makeshift prayer halls located between Omonia Square and the poor neighbourhoods, between the capital and Piraeus.

“In the last decade, with the arrival of large numbers of illegal immigrants, the Muslim population has grown rapidly, and now more than 700,000 people have to contend with the chronic lack of facilities in which to practice their religion,” the publication noted.

Talks of building a mosque in the Greek capital started as early as 1978, when the king of Saudi Arabia, Khaled, obtained a commitment from the prime minister at the time, Constantine Karamanlis, to build a mosque in the city’s northern suburbs.

Later, in the run-up to the Olympics, the prospect of the arrival of a large contingent of Muslim athletes resulted in a plan in 2000 to build a Muslim centre and a mosque at Peania, close to the Athens airport. The project was later shelved due to objections from the Greek Orthodox Church.

The latest initiative took place in 2006, when the neighbourhood of Eleona, close to the centre of Athens, was chosen as a site for the new mosque, which was supposed to start functioning by the end of 2009. That project was frozen due to bureaucratic reasons.

Regarding the lack of a proper cemetery for Muslims in Athens, the Eleftheros Typos publication noted that many of the Muslims residing in Greece’s capital pay thousands of euros to bury their dead in Thrace or in their country of origin.

Foreign analysts, according to the publication, have criticized Greece for its failure to take proper care of Muslim immigrants. It remains to be seen whether this time the country will honour its 30-year commitment.

Posted in Calls to Action, Campaigns, Appeals & Petitions, Content Reproductions/ Adaptations/ Translations | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

The asylum crisis and the rise of racist violence in Greece – by Hellenic League for Human Rights & European Association for the Defense of Human Rights

Posted by clandestina on 5 July 2009

Statement asylum and racist violence in Greece EN – pdf

The asylum crisis and the rise of racist violence in Greece

Open letter to the Prime Minister of Greece, Mr. Karamanlis

and to the Minister of Interior, Mr. Pavlopoulos

HLHR – AEDH joint statement

Brussels-Athens 3rd June 2009

The Hellenic League for Human Rights (HLHR) and the European League for Human Rights (AEDH) express their deep concern about the emergency of the asylum system and the rise of xenophobia and racist violence in Greece. HLHR and AEDH propose policy solutions and immediate remedy action in order to avoid escalation of phenomena of violation of human rights with a highly negative impact on victims and society.

HLHR and AEDH are concerned about a proposed Greek Presidential Decree which will further deteriorate Greece’s asylum system crisis. The proposed amendments to Presidential Decree 90/2008, which incorporates into Greek law the provisions of the EU Procedures Directive include:

– The abolition of the Appeals’ Board as second stage instance for the substantial examination of an asylum application. This leaves asylum-seekers without the right of appeal for a substantial examination of their application at a second instance. In case of a rejection, which is the outcome of the overwhelming majority of asylum applications in Greece (98,62% in 2008), asylum seekers may only apply for a review by the Council of State which only examines the legality of the procedure but does not exercise a full control of all the legal and factual aspects of the cases.

– Decision authority on asylum applications is left to the regional and local Police Directors throughout Greece, without an effective role of non-police bodies and NGOs. Existing Appeals’ Boards, maintained for the pending appeals, will become an advisory body with no decision making power.

In the past years the Greek authorities have abstained from protecting promptly and efficiently the rights of asylum seekers, women, children and elderly. The percentage of granting asylum status have been among the lowest in Europe (1,38% in 2008 for asylum and humanitarian status grants) and admittedly Greek state has been reluctant in providing effective protection of unaccompanied minors against detention and expulsion despite urgent recommendations by national and international bodies [1].

In the same time, large numbers of asylum seekers seek every weekend to submit an asylum application in the Athens police headquarters. During such process and after clashes with the police, 3 asylum seekers have died under undetermined conditions in the last 6 months.

Areas of the historic centre of Athens are inhabited, rented or occupied, by undocumented migrants and asylum seekers under precarious or inhumane conditions, while xenophobic public discourse about ‘ghettos’ and criminality of migrants is on the rise [2].

Day-by-day racist Islamophobic incidents and violence by organised far-right groups against asylum seekers occur in the centre and suburbs of Athens, without effective intervention by the Police in protection of the victims, while official statistics have not ever recorded any racist crime in Greece.  Boat-prisons and military detention camps in the outskirts of Athens are discussed or announced as policy for sweeping asylum seekers and undocumented migrants out of the city centre.

HLHR and AEDH urge the Greek authorities:

  • To refrain from any action or legislative initiative that would entail further violation of human rights of undocumented migrants, therefore to preserve second instance substantial examination of asylum applications, to refrain from mass rejections and guarantee effective and transparent first instance decisions for granting asylum status to those entitled to international and humanitarian protection.
  • To design policies, which would be guided by a human rights-based approach and would guarantee efficient results for both the undocumented migrants and Greek society.
  • To involve fully and as soon as possible civil society, competent NGOs and academic centres and most of all, migrant associations and organisations in migration policy planning and implementation.
  • To proceed with full integration and granting rights to migrants, who live for many years in Greece, in order to achieve political participation through public representation, and counterbalance xenophobia in local communities and at a national level.
  • To provide effective protection of vulnerable groups, such as women, children and elderly by protecting from expulsion where needed and by providing to unaccompanied minors effective representation, tutorship and social care and protection specific to their needs.
  • To reform and to implement an efficient asylum system by endorsing recommendations by the competent international, intergovernmental and national civil society bodies and organisations.
  • To proceed as an EU-border member State to the necessary steps for the activation of the European Directive 55/2001 about mass influx of displaced persons for those ethnic and vulnerable groups needing humanitarian protection for fleeing their countries under war and turmoil. This could cover those persons that according the Greek state are not entitled to asylum status but yet they need provisional protection.
  • To provide a reasonable path to regularisation of status for those migrants already employed into the widespread Greek informal economy.
  • To provide effective protection and assistance to racism, discrimination and hate crime victims by activating and efficiently implementing existing anti-racist and anti-discrimination law provisions.
  • To refrain from any comments, political action or discourse that could further boost and provide fertile ground for dangerous, rapidly escalating and social cohesion threatening xenophobic trends and violence.

[1] According to the comments of Greek authorities to the report by Thomas Hammarberg Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, Strasbourg, CommDH(2009)6 (4.2.2009) ‘the Aliens Law has not included an individual provision for the exclusion from arrest and detention for deportation of unaccompanied minors who violate the migration legislation. Besides, the prospect of an opposite provision would increase the problem of the “children of traffic lights” and child labour in general.’ (Appendix, p.23). The Greek Ombudsman has proposed the abolition of detention and expulsion of unaccompanied minors since October 2005.

[2] According the Greek National Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia – RAXEN NFP (HLHR-KEMO) The increasing trend of racist violence and Islamophobic incidents have been alarming since the election of a far-right political party in the Parliament in autumn 2007. The Greek RAXEN NFP is leaded by HLHR

Pierre Barge, President AEDH

Miltos PavlouDirector, HLHR-KEMO RAXEN NFP

Dimitris Christopoulos, President HLHR

Fax : 0030-210-6990258,,

Pierre BARGE, président
AEDH, Association Européenne pour la
défense des Droits de l’Homme,
Membre associé de la FIDH
33, rue de la Caserne
B- 1000 Bruxelles
Tél : +32(0)25112100
Fax : +32(0)25113200 ;

Miltos Pavlou, Director HLHR-KEMO RAXEN NFP
Hellenic League for Human Rights (HLHR)
HLHR-KEMO-National Focal Point on Racism and Xenophobia
Bohali 63, Athens 11524
Tel : 0030-210-6990258

Posted in Calls to Action, Campaigns, Appeals & Petitions, Content Reproductions/ Adaptations/ Translations, Other Groups' and Organisations' Releases, Publications, Long Reports, Analyses, Reviews & Research | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Prestigious bullshit: the Economist’s report on recent immigration events

Posted by clandestina on 14 June 2009

This is what “the Economist” magazine reports about the situation in Greece.  We will comment on the most infuriating of all.

Twenty years ago Greeks welcomed more than 600,000 Albanians who walked over the border to start a new life. These days Albanian families have credit cards, mortgages and residency permits.

What a welcome it was! Some people have memory, though.  People remember how in the 90s one could shoot an Albanian immigrant for stealing a water melon and get away with it.  People remember the “sweep operations” and the concentration of immigrants in football fields.  People remember all those dead on the border, frozen, shot by border police, those who starved.  They remember how themsleves passed more than once the border and they were deported.  The exploitation for so many years, those who died in the construction sites for the Athens Olympic Games.  People remember the pogrom of the September 4, 2004….*  So many things to remember.

The Economist does not suffer from amnesia.  It is the power’s strategy to divide immigrants.  Immigrants of various gears.  Scared, silent, happy with what they have (not) got.  Along with collective memory loss.  This is what they want.

source of the following article here

Fear and loathing in Athens

Once hospitable Greeks are turning against immigrants

THE ancient Greek tradition of hospitality to strangers is dying out. Twenty years ago Greeks welcomed more than 600,000 Albanians who walked over the border to start a new life. These days Albanian families have credit cards, mortgages and residency permits. Smaller numbers of Bulgarians, Romanians, Moldovans, Ukrainians, Georgians and Russians also have a toehold in Greece. But a new wave of immigrants from places like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan and Somalia has met indifference or even outright hostility.

AFP A court can be a home for some

On May 9th far-right protesters tried to storm a former court building in Athens that is a squalid home for 600 immigrants. One resident, Moncef, a mechanic from Morocco, says: “The police stood there and did nothing.” It took a group of Greek anarchists to come to the rescue. More than a dozen policemen were injured and four protesters were arrested—but the immigrants stayed.

Their numbers keep growing. Last year more than 146,000 illegal immigrants arrived, mostly via Turkey, up from 100,000 in 2007. Most end up in Athens because the Turks no longer respect a bilateral agreement to return illegal immigrants, say Greek officials. The half-dozen reception facilities on the Greek islands are overwhelmed; desperate local officials resort to handing out free tickets for the ferry to Piraeus.

The government’s policy is to discourage immigrants from staying. In 2005 it stopped issuing temporary permits allowing immigrants to work, pay social-security contributions and, eventually, become legal residents. Those found without papers are detained for three months, then told to leave the country within four weeks. Last year 88,000 exit orders were issued; but only 18,000 people left.

Those who seek asylum also receive short shrift. In 2008 less than 1% of applicants were granted refugee status immediately, although 11% of those who appealed were successful. Thomas Hemmerberger, a Council of Europe human-rights official, has accused Greece of failing to live up to its responsibilities to protect asylum-seekers.

Thanos Kourkoulis of Greece’s Anti-Racism Movement, who runs a school where volunteers teach Greek to immigrants, says tensions are rising. “Immigrants feel more intimidated, Greeks feel more at risk,” he says. Human-rights groups and local residents oppose plans to use an old military base outside Athens as a detention centre. Yet the flow of arrivals shows no sign of slowing.

* After the albanian national football team’s victory over the greek
team in a match that took place in Albania, on September 4 2004,
hundreds of Albanian immigrants went out in the streets of many greek
cities to celebrate. They faced a pogrom by cops and fascists/
nationalists. A 21year-old Albanian worker, Gramos Palusi, was murdered
and two of his friends seriously injured in Zakinthos island by a
fascist who attacked them with a knife. In Athens at least 70 immigrants
were taken to hospital, and in the rest of the country the wounded
Albanian immigrants were more than 300.

See here about this and more about the Greek state’s shift of strategy after the olympic games.  And about the history of Aghios Panteleimonas police station.

Posted in Content Reproductions/ Adaptations/ Translations, Publications, Long Reports, Analyses, Reviews & Research | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Greek government’s immigration plans – the summer of oppression gears up – military dungeons across the Aegean

Posted by clandestina on 12 June 2009


Four days after the European elections that saw far right parties rising in prominence across Europe, the Greek government announced measures aimed at curbing illegal immigration. Greek daily “Ta Nea” reports(translation from Greek):

Felony offenses for slavers and the creation of financial immigrant reception centers for 12 months are two of the immediate measures announced by the government to address the problem of illegal immigration. Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos pointed out the european dimension of the issue, saying that no country can face the problem on it’s own. He also said that the Greek prime minister will broach the issue at the upcoming EU Summit, next week, and press for readmission treaties to be signed with third countries, as well as for signatories, like Turkey, to accede to treaties.In a previous article, “Ta Nea” quoted sources within the government and provided more details about the plan (translation from Greek):

The Defence Ministry sent a list of 11 military camps that could be used as concentration facilities for illegal immigrants arrested by police. The camps have been decomissioned but their facilities are in particularly good condition, the army department of infrastructure assured the police. Sources within the Interior Ministry told “Ta Nea” that the camps available are strewn across various parts of Greece. Greek police didn’t insist in creating just one big camp in Attica, fearing that it could be easily accessible to anti-statists attempting to cause unrest.

The government’s proposals attracted strong opposition criticism. George Papandreou, the leader of Socialist PASOK, described the measures as “sketchy and inadequate” and proposed instead an eight-point plan foreseeing the boosting of border controls and a drive to upgrade parts of the capital that have turned into ghettos for migrants. The Communist Party accused the government of seeking to imprison migrants in “concentration camps.”

The government is accused by the opposition of pandering to the nationalist LA.O.S. party, which doubled it’s seats in the European Parliament, after ethnic tensions flared in recent months in downtown Athens. The center-right Greek government of Kostas Karamanlis, besieged by scandals and the dire condition of the Greek economy, came second at the European elections behind the socialists, losing for the first time in 15 years.

Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Thursday chaired an inner cabinet meeting devoted to illegal immigration and the positions that Greece will adopt at the upcoming European Union summit. Reporting on the results of the meeting, Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos said that illegal migration was the issue expected to dominate the next meeting of the European Council.

According to Pavlopoulos, the main focus at the moment was to convert the EU’s FRONTEX organisation into a European coast guard and to promote re-entry agreements. He underlined that each country separately would be unable to deal with the problem and that this required a common EU effort and policy.

The minister pointed out that the issue of migration had also been discussed by EU interior ministers on the Thursday before the elections, adding that Greece, along with other countries, had since 2005 been at the forefront of efforts for a common European policy on migration, efforts that had led to the European pact for immigration and asylum.

He again called on the EU to exert pressure on third countries to sign re-entry agreements for illegal migrants, stressing that Turkey must finally observe Community rules.

Referring to the problems caused by immigrants but also drug addicts in the centre of Athens, Pavlopoulos said the transfer of the headquarters of the drug rehabilitation agency OKANA to a new location decided by the health ministry would be speeded up, and announced plans to build a mosque in the city and a Moslem cemetery at Schisto. A coordinating committee will be set up in order to ensure the immediate implementation of the measures, he added.

Deputy interior minister for public order issues, Christos Markoyiannakis, said the government intended to introduce harsher penalties for immigrant smugglers, who would henceforth be charged with criminal offences rather than misdemeanours. In addition, the government intends to build organised centres where any illegal immigrants that are apprehended will be able to stay for up to 12 months.

Pavlopoulos said a sharp increase in illegal immigration had been worsened because Turkey, with which Greece shares a border, was not adequately enforcing an agreement to take back migrants facing deportation from Greece.

In 2008, Greek authorities arrested more than 146,000 illegal immigrants, a 30 percent increase from the previous year and a 54 percent jump from 2006, according to figures from the Interior Ministry.

The measures announced Thursday follow the surge in support for a rightist party in European Parliament elections last Sunday, as well a violence protest on May 22 by Muslim immigrants in central Athens, protesting the alleged defacement of a Quran by a Greek policeman.

Earlier this week, police clashed with rival groups of demonstrators near the center of the capital, when local residents tried to block mostly Asian immigrants from entering a public playground.

Posted in Content Reproductions/ Adaptations/ Translations, Publications, Long Reports, Analyses, Reviews & Research, Undeclared War news | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

“Muslim immigrants in Greece: Is there a potential for violent radicalization?”

Posted by clandestina on 1 June 2009

This is how ELIAMEP’s researchers (see here some info about this Greek foreign policy “think tank”) pose the question… The text of course assumes and adheres to the main ideology of the post 9/11 era: that what governments in the west – the Greek one included – are indeed against is [the potential of] islamic fundamentalism, and thus it makes sense to appeal to them for doing their duty concerning tolerance to prevent it from gaining ground.  Despite this, the text describes accurately although in blurry terms the state strategy under which collective and violent sociopolitical – or sociopolitically motivated, so to speak – radicalisation is the threat and the [promise for more] religious tolerance is the tool for silencing  conscience and discontent.    There are two more “interesting” points about the Left, the Police and how things “work” in Greece, whihc we highlight in bold fonts.  Source: here.



Muslim immigrants in Greece: Is there a potential for violent radicalization?

June 1, 2009 | Anna Triandafyllidou 

About a year and a half ago, my colleague Thanos Maroukis and I conducted a study on Greece’s Muslim immigrants and their potential for turning to radicalism and violence. We found no signs of radicalisation. And no violent radicalization for that matter either. We did note though that Muslim immigrant communities in Greece are ‘growing’ and developing their own social spaces. According to police data, the informal mosques only in Athens were estimated in early 2008 to be at least 55. Journalists we interviewed raised this number up to 70 or 140 prayer rooms. Severe anti-American and anti-Western rhetoric is indeed heard in mosques. However, anti-Americanism is nothing uncommon in Greece, and much of the mosque talk might seem outrageous to the average U.S. citizen but quite ‘normal’ to the average Greek citizen.

In our study on Muslim immigrants we asked questions that are sadly topical these days: How is Muslim social exclusion linked to radicalization and to a violent one at that? What is the role of religion in this relationship? Are socio-economic realities on the ground pushing Muslim migrants in Greece towards radicalization? And what does the Greek state do to prevent this from happening?

To start with, treating religion as the decisive factor towards the potential radicalization of the Muslim immigrant communities in Greece is misleading. Religion is intertwined with real life situations. Whether radicalization processes will be developed or not is a question of socio-economic realities in which migrants are immersed. The majority of Muslims immigrants come from southeast Asia (Pakistan and Bangladesh, Afghanistan) and to a lesser extent Africa (Egypt, Somalia), are recent arrivals, do not speak Greek and usually work in construction, as street vendors, or in agriculture where language skills are not a first priority and informal economic activity thrives. In addition, most of them have found employment with the help of the illicit networks that brought them into Greece. Some are indebted to these network/people that facilitated their entry to Greece and work where they are told in order to pay off their trip. In other words, due to the particularities of the networks and paths towards employment that the recently arrived Muslim migrants have, they are very quickly confined to the margins of Greek society rather than following a path of normalization and inclusion. Their marginalization is first and foremost economic and social. Religion is only a secondary issue in this process.

Second, immigrant communities have their own internal politics which may have nothing to do with religion. A good example is the case of the Pakistani immigrants’ ‘kidnapping’ by the Greek authorities before the 2004 Olympic Games. The Chairman of the Pakistani Community in Greece found a good opportunity to mobilize the local community against the Musharaf regime. The Greek Left lined-up with the Pakistani Chairman against their common ‘enemies’: the Greek right-wing government, the Americans and their accomplices (Musharaf). Indicative is part of their joint press announcement “the government of Greece, and also that of general Musharaf, sticks to Bush, with army in Afghanistan, with provisions facilitating the occupation of Iraq, with full tolerance and understanding in the slaughters of Palestinians in Gaza, with Souda functioning as a base of imperialist operations” (Athens daily, Eleftherotypia 21.07.06). Indeed in this case the motivation for protest was not religious but political. The Pakistani immigrant community (including religious leaders) rallied in support of their Chairman’s stance against the Pakistani ambassador and the Greek authorities (Athens daily Eleftherotypia 13.11.2006).

In this example but also during the more recent protests and episodes between Muslim immigrants and the police forces near Omonoia and Ag. Panteleimonas, the role of the Greek Left has been paradoxically crucial in preventing Muslim immigrant radicalization. The Greek left takes under its arms immigrant protest and engages it into a parliamentary democratic context that although deeply shaken by the events of December 2008 is still functioning. Indeed, this close relationship of immigrants with the Greek radical Left functions as a space that diffuses discontent and constitutes a unique point of bonding between the immigrant communities and the host society.

What are the policies however that the Greek government adopts for preventing possible radicalization phenomena? Police surveillance tactics is the closer one gets to Greek State policies relevant to the prevention of Muslim violent radicalization phenomena. They consist of two practices. First, sending ‘under cover’ agents to local prayer rooms in poor neighbourhoods where migrants concentrate in order to “check that everything is alright” and make it clear to the Muslims that they are under surveillance. And second recruiting informers among the longer established immigrants from these communities that are also involved (with police toleration) into the smuggling of people or goods. Their illegal activities are tolerated as long as they accept to give insider information about what happens in their local community or prayer room. Both of these methods are highly problematic. The lack of linguistic skills (no Greek police officer understands Urdu, Bangla, or Arabic for that matter) denotes that the purpose of surveying these spaces cannot be really met. Secondly, the blunt security approach that the authorities adopt and their informers within the Muslim communities risks causing more frictions and problems than those it is meant to solve.

The only measure promoted so far as a sign of recognition and respect of Muslim identity is the building of an official mosque in Elaionas, voted as a law in late 2006. A former police officer commented: “the majority [of Muslim immigrants] will go [to the mosque]. The ones who are leading will go and that is positive. They will be controlled more easily. And there will be a common expression towards the Greek polity…it would have happened at some point, anyway. We will not be able to avoid it, so let it come this way.” Nonetheless, 2.5 years later the mosque remains on paper as the Ministry of National Defence refuses to move out of the area its storage facilities so that the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs builds the mosque. How surprising……..?

Posted in Content Reproductions/ Adaptations/ Translations, Publications, Long Reports, Analyses, Reviews & Research | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

…about the uprising of immigrants on Thursday and Friday, 21 and 22 of May, in Athens…

Posted by clandestina on 31 May 2009

This a translation of a text we leafletted in Thessaloniki  the last few days.


…about the uprising of immigrants on Thursday and Friday 21 and May 22 in Athens …

… background “snapshots” …

φοτο 1

  • left: refugee camp in Samos …
  • center: Afghan refugee smitten by port police in Patras …
  • extreme right: riot police and “Golden Dawn”neo-nazis during their collaboration for terrorizing refugees, 10th of May 2009 …

φοτο 2

  • left: teenage and children refugees in Patras port run behind trucks in order to board to Italy …
  • center: The 24 year old Mazir who was killed by falling into ditch in Votanikos area in Athen, most likely while chased by police near the Asylum Police in Petrou Ralli (as two more refugees in a few months) …
  • right: the religious debate has only started …

… and “perspectives” …

“It could have been something else, not the pages of the Quran …”

It could have been an old family photo.  Or a crumpled piece of paper with the mobile phones of relatives and friends in Sweden, England or Germany on it.  It could be some few folded banknotes – this, though, the cops would have seized, not torn.   The cops, who are not supposed to treat immigrants as people; the cops, who are indifferent whether immigrants love those pieces of paper of theirs, the ones they move from one pocket to another, the same pieces of paper which count as many kilometers and borders as they themselves do.  The “waste papers” of the“sans papiers”.

Someone tore up a Qur’an volume and stepped on it.  Symbolic violence. Violence confirming the real degradation, the crass devaluation  immigrants are subjected to by the Greek State, violence imposed in a thousand ways, not at all “symbolic”.  By the Greek State, which permeates racist attitudes and rewards voluntary atrocity.

“It could have been nothing other than the Qu’ran …”

“It could have been nothing other than the Qu’ran, what could make immigrants take it to the streets”  since « only religion» could make them confront collectively the cops of the “civilized world”.   Because “these people” are “pious”. And only some insult to their religion could make them surface out of the rapidly growing ghettos in the center of Athens, in order to rally for something – for their religion, which is of course “absolutely respected” in tolerant Greece … as long as it remains in the basements and the back rooms of  fast-foods.  Which is also true for the lives of “these people”, which are “absolutely respected”in Greece as long as they remain expendable among the urban waste.   As long as they stay available for slavery and death…

“They rallied under the dictates of the imams”, they are “steered”, this is the convenient explanation and perspective for the holders of authority, either grand or small.  Imams ,who try to keep and expand their “flocks”… Let the ones who want to become herdsmen see herds… We don’t. What we see is people and communities from the devastated continents of the globe seeking refuge…

For the Qu’ran? Or for all the reasons of the world …

“Did you see what happened in Athens with the Qu’ran;”. Indeed. What happened in Athens was the clash of cultures, discovered in Greece as well with the usual delay! … The opportunity should not be missed…

It is absolutely clear that the people in the photos enjoying the Greek hospitality, they are not immigrants, refugees, poor people, they are not even Iraqis, Afghans, Pakistanis …“Muslims, that’s what they are”!

They are not reacting to the humiliations, the tortures, the detention-stables, the workplace-treatment, the deportations … No.  They are doing this «because they are Muslims» …

… and those residents kept shouting to the firefighters in Patras “let them burn” during the recent fire in the refugee camp because…becasue they are Christians …

… and the landlords at Manolada shot migrant workers…

…and the Christian Ministry of Interior Affairs announced new detention mega-camps,creates a prison – warship, plans to limit even further the already negligible asylum rates

… and the Greek State cooperating with both the Fortress Europe commissioners in Brussels and the neonazis in Athens…

…they all did and do so essentially on… religious grounds…

The only clash of cultures is the one

between freedom and exploitation.

Thessaloniki, May 24, 2009

Group of Immigrants and Refugees – «o Dromos», Baltadorou 7, Thessaloniki

Posted in Content Reproductions/ Adaptations/ Translations, Group of Immigrants and Refugees / Clandestina Network Texts & Announcements, Publications, Long Reports, Analyses, Reviews & Research | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Immigrants march again in Athens despite fascist counterdemo

Posted by clandestina on 31 May 2009

This is a reproduction of a report by  taxikipali  at



On Friday 29 May immigrants and solidarity protesters marched to the greek parliament despite fascist counterdemo and media scaremongering.

Following the intensifying repression against immigrants, especially of muslim origin, across the country, and the greek police’s failure to apologise for the public and humiliating destruction of a copy of the Koran during sweeping operations against immigrants in the coveted area of Agios Panteleimonas last week, thousands of immigrants and solidarity protesters took the the streets of Athens in protest against racism, police repression and parastate white terror. The protest march went ahead with no violence apart from a token destruction of the fascist party’s (LAOS – Popular Orthodox Alarm) euroelection kiosk, despite a counterdemo organised by the Golden Dawn, the notorious neonazi organisation several members of which have been found guilty for attempted manslaughter against left-wing activists.

The fascist counterdemo, numbering less than one hundred parastate elements, was allowed to march in (a parody of) battle formation to the Parliament just before the immigrant march in order to lay a wreath to the unknown soldier monument in memory of the fall of Istanbul to the Ottomans in 1453. The Golden Dawn is primarily responsible for the mobilisation of extreme-right wing elements in the neighborhood of Agios Panteleimonas, forming lightly armed “self-defense” groups purging immigrants from the area’s central square and attacking houses, burning down shops and community places of worship (mosques are illegal in Athens), smashing up public events, and targeting even the church of the parish, the largest in the country, which fell victim to fascist arson attack for providing support and supper for immigrants.

The night before the protest march local anarchists symbolically reoccupied the square of Agos Panteleimonas and broke the chains put by the fascists in order to keep the local playing grounds closed to avert “immigrant children polluting the greek”. Nevertheless the area remains a fascist stronghold, enjoying the subtle backing of the majority of the bourgeois media which on the one hand present an endless spectacle of racist bigotry, and on the other hand cover up the involvement of the neonazis and their support by the police. It is characteristic that Kathimerini, the leading centre-right daily, in a recent long reportage of the situation only referred to the Golden Dawn once, to deny its involvement, although its members had attacked an editor of the newspaper covering the crisis only a few days before.

Protest marches against state repression and fascist terror were also held in Salonica, Patra, Volos, Heraklion and Chania in Crete.


Posted in Action & Struggle Reports, Content Reproductions/ Adaptations/ Translations, Undeclared War news | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

“The growing threat of radical Islam […] encroaching also on the Western Balkans” said the Chief of Greek para-state administration in warmongers exchibition

Posted by clandestina on 23 May 2009

This is a Kathimerini article.  More to the point, as regards “terrorism” and “illegal migration”,  this is the State Department talking.  And this is a war, a war proper.  This article has it all, both ” innovative ““green projects”, and restructuring of the nation’s defence industry”..



Director of Greece’s National Intelligence Service (EYP) Ambassador Ioannis Corantis speaking on the threats of international terrorism and illegal immigration.

ATHENS– With international terrorism thriving, Greece should be prepared to tackle new and more potent forms of terror, exchanging intelligence information with other nations and combating illegal immigration, Greece’s Director of National Intelligence said Friday.

Ambassador Ioannis Corantis made the remarks during an unprecedented conference staged on the sidelines of Athens International 2009, an exhibition focusing on defence, security, energy and civil aviation in Southeast Europe.

“Terrorism remains the main international threat, but it is continuously evolving, with new methods of operation that require new means of response,” Mr. Corantis said. “Greece must be prepared to react [because] the magnitude of prospective attacks may increase.”

The head of Greece’s National Intelligence Service (EYP) did not elaborate, but he underscored the growing threat of radical Islam spreading across Europe, encroaching also on the Western Balkans, including Bosnia, Albania, Serbia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

He said there were growing trends of European-based militant jihadists returning to Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq for training, while radical religious leaders in Europe and the Internet were facilitating the growing reach of religious extremism.

“The Internet has become an ideal means for spreading radical Islam,” Mr. Corantis told an audience of Greek and foreign diplomats, defence officials and politicians. “It is a cheap and undetectable tool terrorists use to disseminate their propaganda.”

With growing numbers of people fleeing Iraq, Afghanistan and the Caucasus, Mr. Corantis stressed the need for Greece to grapple with the rising tide of illegal immigration.

“We are doing everything to guarantee that those coming in are nothing more than what they claim to be: illegal refugees seeking a better life,” he said. “It’s not an easy task. But that Greece remains safe and untouched by radical forms of Islam bears proof of our hard and effective work.”

Earlier this month, the US State Department expressed concern over the “drastic increase” of illegal immigration, suggesting that Greece “could become a transit route for terrorists traveling to Europe and the United States.”

Mr. Corantis said Greece was open to exchanging intelligence information with allies but denied any existence of Al-Qaeda terror cells in the country.

“The concern may be there, but there is not a single kernel of proof, that militant Islamists have either entered the country or that Muslims residing here are turning radical.”

Last year, more than 140,000 illegal immigrants arrived in Greece, mostly via Turkey, up from 118,000 in 2007 and 96,000 in 2006.

Thousands more are said to arrive undetected.

Once caught, however, undocumented migrants are fingerprinted, held for a few days in overcrowded detention centers and then released with orders to leave the country within 30 days.

Most, though, end up in the Greek capital because Turkish officials no longer respect a bilateral agreement to return illegal refugees, according to Greek police officials.

“We need a concerted effort of cooperation among various agencies to grapple with illegal immigration,” Mr. Corantis told the conference.

Organized in cooperation with the Constantine Karamanlis Institute for Democracy, the Andreas Papandreou Institute of Strategic and Development Relations (ISTAME) and the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP), the conference touched on a range of security and defence-related issues.

A keynote speaker, Deputy Defence Minister Yannis Plakiotakis underscored the need for regional cooperation in Southeast Europe.

“The Balkans are no longer the powder keg of Europe,” he said. “Still, the state of affairs in the region is fluid and volatile.”

“We believe that regional cooperation and joint action operations can afford tangible solutions to a string of problems plaguing the region; it can help countries focus on a host of issues that unite rather than separate them.”

Earlier, Louka Katseli, the shadow finance minister of the socialist opposition PASOK party, warned of the need for “qualitative government reforms” to safeguard stability, security and development in Greece.

“The need for quality government is so much more pronounced now within this period of economic turmoil,” she told the conference. “Swift and efficient government intervention is the only way out the crisis… enabling social cohesion and promoting social prosperity.”

Mrs. Katseli also called for measures to improve Greece’s competitiveness, including investments in innovative “green projects,” and restructuring of the nation’s defence industry.

“With the necessary planning, Greece’s defence industry can focus on new and select activities and markets that can guarantee financial gains and a competitive edge,” she said.

Drastic spending cuts and a new regulatory system in defence procurement projects were also required, Mrs. Katseli said, to increase spending in social security, education and investments.

Held at Athens International Airport’s Metropolitan exhibition center, Athens International comes at the height of Greece’s 2006-15 military procurement programs.

Defence spending in Greece runs at around 3 percent of GDP, one of the highest levels in the EU and NATO, partly because of a policy to keep an arms balance with neighboring Turkey.

Though both NATO allies, Greece and Turkey remain at odds over air-and-sea boundaries and flights in the Aegean Sea.

Despite longstanding differences, relations between the two countries have improved significantly in recent years, cementing strong energy links with the creation of the Greece-Turkey-Italy Interconnector, a project that entails the creation of a pipeline that will transfer natural gas from Caspian countries to Western Europe, Minister of Development Kostas Hatzidakis told the conference.

Athens International kicked off last year focusing almost exclusively on defence. It has since then come to encompass Greece’s key infrastructure industries, including energy, security and civil aviation.

The exhibition runs until Sunday

Posted in Content Reproductions/ Adaptations/ Translations, Publications, Long Reports, Analyses, Reviews & Research, Undeclared War news | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Gas attack on Athens Muslim prayer centre injures three

Posted by clandestina on 23 May 2009

Athens – At least three people were hospitalized in Athens Saturday morning with breathing problems after unknown assailants ignited a gas canister and threw it through the window of a store that doubles as a prayer centre for Muslim immigrants.

Media reports said none of the injured was in mortal danger.

The attack came a day after serious clashes between Muslim protesters and Greek police. Those clashes were prompted by Muslim allegations of police brutality and charges of desecrating the Koran.

According to Athens Indymedia the injured are 5 immigrants from Bangladesh.    This certainly looks like “retalliation” work by fascists for muslim immigrants’ reaction to the last weeks “sweep operations” and the desecration of a Quran by police.  


Posted in Content Reproductions/ Adaptations/ Translations, Undeclared War news | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »