clandestina

Migration and Struggle in Greece

Posts Tagged ‘Mytilini’

Update on the continuing tension in Greece

Posted by clandestina on 28 July 2009

source

Double fascist attack against squats in Salonica in midst of continuing tension

Fascists attack two Salonica squats while struggle against anti-immigration policies intensifies

During the past week both Radio Revolt, a pirate anarchist radio station housed in an abandoned train wagon within premises of the Aristotelian University of Salonica, and Europe’s largest squat, Fabrica Yfanet, came under fascist arson attack.
The train wagon of Radio Revolt, was attacked with three Molotov cocktails in the night of Tuesday 21/07 by parastate fascist elements publicly condoned by the Ministry of Public Order currently run by an ex-junta persecutor. Radio Revolt continued to broadcast with only 3 hours stoppage. On Saturday 25/07 Fabrica Yfanet’s main gate was attacked by a gas-canister device. The fire was extinguished by member soft hw squat as well as neighbours, while police forces that unusually arrived to the scene only minutes after the attack engaged squatters and neighbours in fascist verbal abuse clearly sympathising with the attack. Fabrica Yfanet is a centre of manifold political activities and receives widespread support amongst the city’s youth and progressives.

Meanwhile in Athens, on the early morning of Tuesday 28/7, a squad of Golden Dawn members marched from the offices of the neonazi party near Omonoia square down Menandrou street in military formation, attacked black men and women uninhibited by the strong police presence in the area. The nazi scum chanted “today niggers die” while returning to their Agios Panteleimonas lair.

Arson attacks against anarchist antiauthoritarian and libertarian squats have been a repeated pattern in the last year, and is considered to be part of the Greek state’s massive counterinsurgency efforts to quench the rising social movement against the more and more dictatorial rule of the government which has been manning its civil service with ever more junta-related individuals. Parastate elements’ anti-squat activity has repeatedly led to massive solidarity marches, rendering the strategy rather counterintuitive, proving once again the readiness of the Greek state to exercise brute force, and its inability to reason even to its own interest.

Characteristic of the new blind fascism of the Greek state is the unprecedented act of censorship exercised against a short animated film by the well known leftist director Costa-Gavras, who is a nail in the eye of the Greek PM for having filmed “Z”, the story of the assassination of left-wing MP Grigoris Lambrakis by parastate thugs under orders of the PM’s uncle in the mid 1960s. Gavras’ animation commissioned by the Ministry of Culture was meant to play at the new Acropolis museum, until the Ministry obliged to curtail scenes portraying Greek Orthodox priests vandalising the Parthenon after orders by the Church. Costa-Gavras has condemned the act as a return to the darkest days of the country. The Greek Orthodox Church remains the largest land-owner in the country and an integral part of the State mechanism, waging considerable control in many policies, particularly relating to education.

Despite the rising white-terror and the mid-summer vacations, the social antagonistic movement is stepping up its response to the state-fascist collaboration and racist bigotry.

Since Friday 24/07/09 a series of blockades of boats transferring immigrants to detention camps in the Greek province of Macedonia have erupted in battles between antiracist protesters and the police.

On Friday 24/07 at midnight protesters cancelled the transfer of 60 so-called illegal immigrants on the boat Theofilos from the port of Mytilini, Lesbos Island, to the mainland city of Kavala. The protesters occupied the main entrance of the ferry boat refusing to allow the police to load the arrested immigrants of Pakistani Afghan and Somalian descent. An unverified number of detained immigrants at the Panagi camp of Lasbos have started a hunger strike against the transfers, demanding their immediate release.

On Sunday 26/07 protesters of PAME, the umbrella union controlled by the Communist Party (KKE), and of the Chios Immigrant Solidarity Committee clashed with the police and fascist civilian auxiliaries at the port of Chios Island when they tried to blockade the entry of two busloads of detained immigrants on the aforementioned boat bound for Thessaloniki. After the police beat the protesters back with use of brutal force, a member of the KKE partaking in the blockade fell into to sea between the pier and the ferry, disallowing the departure of the boat for another hour. The involvement of the KKE in the protests marks an interesting if controversial shift in its long-standing policy of verbalism and practical apathy to the plight of immigrant workers. During the clashes many protesters were injured, while according to the Solidarity Committee, the criminal and dehumanising attitude of the Chios authorities towards immigrants reached its apex in the separation of a 15 year old boy from Somalia from his mother who remains detained in the island. The detained immigrants were transferred to the mainland chained and locked in the boat’s basement inside the buses, thus directly endangering their lives.

The authorities claim the reason for the transfers is the overpopulation of the islands’ camps. In Chios, the Mersinidi camp has a capacity of 120 while detaining 220, whereas the Panagi camp in Lesbos has a capacity of 250 persons while detaining 400. Protesters however argue that the transfers are a first step of “pushing” immigrants illegally though the minefields of Evros River towards Turkey. Claiming that the camps are dehumanising and that the transfers comprise punishing measures for people who have never been convicted for anything other than not having papers, the protesters demand that the detainees are held in hotels, after releasing all underage individuals.

In the diffuse-guerrilla front, a bomb device targeting the Chilean Consulate was dismantled last week by the police, while Tuesday night saw within 30 minutes a barrage of low intensity attacks on State targets, with some 7 local offices of anti-immigration parliamentary parties (New Democracy, PASOK, and LAOS) bombed with gas-canister devices across Athens. Responsibility for the attacks has been claimed by the Shining Paths of Solidarity in response to the “nazification” of the State and nazi-police collaboration. The offices of a LAOS MP were also attacked, causing no human injuries.

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

Human Rights Watch: Halt Crackdown, Arrests of Migrants

Posted by clandestina on 28 July 2009

source: human rights watch article

GREECE: HALT CRACKDOWN, ARRESTS OF MIGRANTS

Moving Detained Migrants to North Raises Fears of ‘Pushbacks’ to Turkey

July 27, 2009

Greek authorities are arresting large numbers of migrants and asylum seekers in the country’s cities and islands and moving many of them to the north, raising fears of illegal expulsions to Turkey, Human Rights Watch said today.

Human Rights Watch received reports from a credible source that, in mid-July 2009, police transferred a group of Arabic-speaking people from Chios Island to the Evros border region, where they were secretly forced to cross the border into Turkey. On July 23, local human rights activists prevented authorities from transferring 63 migrants from Lesvos Island to the north by blocking access to the ferry. On July 25, the police took most of them to Athens under heavy police escort.

“These operations and transfers are very worrying,” said Bill Frelick, refugee policy director at Human Rights Watch. “We fear that people are being prevented from seeking asylum, that children arriving alone are not being protected, and that migrants are kept in unacceptable detention conditions and possibly even being secretly expelled to Turkey.”

In another recent episode, in a large-scale police operation from July 16 to 18, police in Athens surrounded what appeared to be several hundred migrants and locked them inside an abandoned courthouse. The police arrested anyone who left the building. It is feared that some of them may have needed protection and did not have a chance to file a claim for asylum, the police prevented Human Rights Watch from speaking to the people held inside, and Human Rights Watch does not know the whereabouts of those who were arrested when they tried to leave.

In a November 2008 report, “Stuck in a Revolving Door: Iraqis and Other Asylum Seekers and Migrants at the Greece/Turkey Entrance to the European Union,” Human Rights Watch documented how Greek authorities have systematically expelled migrants illegally across the Greece-Turkey border, in violation of many international legal obligations. These “pushbacks” typically occur at night from detention facilities in the northern part of the country, close to the Turkish border, and they involve considerable logistical preparation. Human Rights Watch at that time interviewed 41 asylum seekers and refugees – all privately and confidentially – in various locations in both Greece and Turkey, who gave consistent accounts of Greek authorities taking them to the Evros River at night and then forcing them across.

Human Rights Watch also documented how Greek authorities miscategorize unaccompanied children as adults and detain them for prolonged periods of time in conditions that could be considered inhumane and degrading. (See the December 2008 report, “Left to Survive: Systematic Failure to Protect Unaccompanied Migrant Children in Greece.”)

Undocumented Afghan migrant children sleep in a forest on the outskirts of Patras, Greece.  © 2009 Moises Saman/Panos Pictures

Undocumented Afghan migrant children sleep in a forest on the outskirts of Patras, Greece. © 2009 Moises Saman/Panos Pictures

In yet another recent incident, on July 12, police destroyed a makeshift migrant camp in Patras, on the Peloponnese peninsula. In the days before the camp was destroyed, the police reportedly arrested large numbers of migrants there, and according to credible sources, transferred an unknown number to the northern part of the country. On July 17, Human Rights Watch met with several Afghans in Patras, including 12 unaccompanied migrant children now homeless as a result of this operation, who were in hiding in abysmal conditions out of fear of being arrested.

A 24-year-old man told Human Rights Watch: “We’re living like animals in the jungle … we can’t take a shower and we don’t have proper food … before I lived in the camp, but all of my things and clothes were burned. Now I have a shirt and a pair of pants, nothing else.”

A 14-year-old Afghan boy who arrived in Greece one year earlier said: “The worst situation during the past year is now, in Patras – now that I’m living in this forest …. There’s not enough food and we only eat bread with water.”

Human Rights Watch also observed on July 17 how more than 1,000 migrants lined up all night, largely in vain, trying to file asylum applications at Athens’ main police station. Greece recognizes as few as 0.05 percent of asylum seekers as refugees at their first interview and passed a law at the end of June that abolishes a meaningful appeals procedure, making it virtually impossible for anyone to obtain refugee status. It also extended the maximum length of administrative detention for migrants to 12 months – and under certain circumstances, up to 18 months – from previously 90 days.

“It appears Greece is doing everything it can to close the door on persons who seek protection in Europe, no matter how vulnerable they are,” said Frelick. “The European Union must hold Greece accountable for acts contrary to international and European human rights and refugee law, and it needs to act fast, as the lives of many are at risk.”

http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2009/07/27/greece-halt-crackdown-arrests-migrants

© Copyright 2008, Human Rights Watch

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