Migration and Struggle in Greece

Posts Tagged ‘Patras’

Police raids in Patras

Posted by clandestina on 11 August 2011

On Wednesday august 10, Patras police conducted another operation around the port in order to arrest sans-papiers immigrants.
The search focused on the makeshift camps set up by the migrants arriving in Patras, where many live in inhumane conditions as they wait for an opportunity to enter a boat to Italy.
Police detained a total of 49 immigrants and arrested 47 of them because they didn’t possess legal documents.
This is the third such operation by Patras police in the last few days. The two previous searches were conducted in the railway depot at Agios Andreas near the port, where dozens of immigrants were caught.
After the operations were complete, the Greek Railway Organisation (OSE) removed the old, empty carriages that immigrants had been using as shelters.

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After Igoumenitsa now police raids become tenser in Patras

Posted by clandestina on 29 July 2011

Following the huge eviction of the jungles of Igoumenitsa at the 9th of June, Patras became the second war region in the governments cruel fight against the sans-papiers who are trying to leave the country.

Chronic of a wave of police raids in Patras
1. 8th of June until 20th: Police raids in the trains in St. Dyonisios and in St. Andreas: more than 300 arrests! Some refugees were released others transferred to prisons in the region of Achaia prefecture or to Athens; destruction of baracks and belongings; cutting of water, beatings, police burned some personal belongings.
2. 26th-27th of July: At least 150 arrests. Only the ones with Pink cards were released, most others transferred to Athens. The arrests continued also in the jungles where the Afghan refugees live.

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Last winter Corfu shipwreck sans papiers death toll: a 16-year-old afghan refugee testimony

Posted by clandestina on 23 July 2011


Dublin-Deaths between Kerkyra/Greece and Bari/Italy

The following testimony of Amin Fedaii, a 16-year-old afghan refugee, is alarming. On January 15th 2011 more than 20 refugees (mainly from Afghanistan) died while trying to flee from Greece and to reach their relatives and friends in other European countries.

The asylum system in the crisis-ridden Mediterranean country has entirely collapsed. Refugees cannot find protection neither any income and often even no accommodation. Against this background deportations to Greece according the Dublin II-regulation have been stopped in many European Countries, but the affected persons got stuck in unbearable conditions in Athens or in the harbour-cities of Patras and Igoumenitsa. While EU-citizens can travel without any problems, refugees are trapped: a regular exit is refused, although they have – particularly if they come from war-zones like Afghanistan – good chances to receive a residence permit on humanitarian grounds in many EU-countries.

Amin survived and is now living in an accomodation for minor refugees in Hessen, Germany. But he had to experience the meaningless death of 20 persons by drowning, because firstly entry and afterwards their rescue has been refused: 20 more victims of a merciless european border regime, which obviously is calculating with the death of refugees. Read the rest of this entry »

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“Sweep” and evacuation operations in Patras and Athens.

Posted by clandestina on 25 March 2010

This is last summer repeating, with evacuations and mass arrests in Patras and Athens – about last summer see this post and this post) .  The continuity of oppressive policies against sans papiers between the previous government and the current one cannot be disguised with cheap sensational denouncements by government officials of immigrant plight.

Early yesterday, Wednesday 24 of March, the police evacuated the abandoned train station of Aghios Andreas and arrested 70 Sudanese refugees who had found refuge there.  This happened two days after the refugees had made a protest in the streets of Patras  against the inhumane conditions they are forced to live under.   The Common Solidarity Action organises events in Patras to protest against the recent developments.  The story behind this new case of evacuation and mass arrest in Patras is once more one involving municipality authority and private real estate interests.  (sources:, ).

This is also the case in the evacuations at Athens Downtown.  The plan launched by the previous government last summer continues now under the new one.  Police and other authorities, on the pretext of operations against drugs and prostitution, blockade Sokratous, Evripidou, Verantzerou and more streets of Athens “historic centre” and move out immigrants and refugees.  Up to last week there hade been 61 arrests.   sources:

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Immigrant injured in Patras while fleeing police manhunt – fellow immigrants blockade the street

Posted by clandestina on 4 March 2010

This happened on Monday Feb 1. One of the Sudanese immigrants residing in the old train station settlement was injured while pursued by the police. His fellow immigrants blockaded one of the main streets in the area and there was tension with the police forces for some time. This was one of the many incidents that follow the frequent man hunts by the police.

Patras remains one of the gateways to the west of the desperate ones. Last summers’ barbarous levelling of immigrant settlement must not be allowed to repeat.

source patras indymedia

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Latest news, Monday 15 – Friday 19 Feb.

Posted by clandestina on 19 February 2010

Monday Feb 15 Tention in the police station of Tripoli, Peloponese after the suicide attempt of a 35 yearold Palestinian who was imprisoned in purpose to be deported. Other migrants prisoners, also under deportation, looted blankets so a small fire was caused. The pigs entered the detention centers and evacuated the imprisoning cells by transfering the prisoners to a room beside. Later, the migrants were also transfered to the Panarcadic Hospital for health checks, where also the Palestinian was transfered whose deportation is planned to take place in two weeks.

Tuesday Feb 16 In Archontiki village, Rethymnon, Crete, an Indian farm worker was shot and heavily injured by his boss – a shepherd himself.   The culprit then took the victim on his car which crushed on the road.  He left the victim there in a horrid condition and disappeared.

A shoot-out between cops and bank robbers in the neighbourhood of Vironas, Athens saw an innocent passer-by assassinated by the cops: 25-year old migrant worker Nikollas Todi was unfortunate to be at the shooting range of the pigs in uniform. He was executed in cold blood, shot with nine bullets in the back, one going through his head and another one through his heart.  Leuteris Oikonomou, head of the greek police, stated that “nothing went wrong in the operation – simply the 25-year old found himself amidst crossfire”. Trying to supposedly disassociate himself from this provocative statement, Michalis Chrisochoidis (minister of citizen protection) stated that “a crucial battle was won, even if the cost was dear”. Earlier today, Chrisochoidis announced that Athens will see “unprecedented” policing operations after easter.

Thursday, Feb 18 50 Palestinian refugees detained at the Samos refugee center were boarded on a ship to Athens probably to be deported.   They cannot communicate and they have no legal assistance.

Friday, Feb 19 In Patras, the police  warned earlier today the Sudanis living in the makeshift settlement in an old train depot that they should evacuate it (the plan is to make a parking there) or be arrested and deported.

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Political prisoner from Togo to be deported – sweep operation in Patras.

Posted by clandestina on 12 February 2010


The political prisoner Adoui Aboudou Wassiou  from Togo is at risk of deportation to the tyrannical regime of his country of origin.  Since last Sunday he has been detained at the Achaia, Peloponese Police headquarters.

Adoui was charged for possessing a fake visa, and although he was acquitted at court he is still detained and to be deported.

In case Adoui is deported his life would be jeopardized because of the difficult political situation in Togo. He was probably transferred to Athens last night until next Thursday when his deportation is believed to take place.

At least 150 economic and political refugeesof  have been arrested in Patras.  Given the lack of places of detention in the Police Headquarters of Achaia, the majority of detainees have been transferred to Agrinio and Pyrgos (nearby cities); these are people mainly from Sudan and Somalia.

Yesterday a delegation of the Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Movement visited the Director of Security of Patras,  discussed the matter and was authorized to determine the needs of the detainees and aid them.

Among the prisoners there are enough people of Albanian nationality, as well as Afghanis,  Palestinians and possibly Algerians.

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Human Rights Watch: Halt Crackdown, Arrests of Migrants

Posted by clandestina on 28 July 2009

source: human rights watch article


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.”

© Copyright 2008, Human Rights Watch

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Amnesty International: Further forced evictions leave large numbers homeless

Posted by clandestina on 23 July 2009


Amnesty International

Public Statement

AI Index: EUR 25/008/2009

22 July 2009

Greece: Further forced evictions leave large numbers homeless

Amnesty International is again calling on the Greek authorities to ensure that individuals made homeless following forced evictions are provided with suitable alternative accommodation, in line with the country’s international obligations.

According to reports, the latest incident started early in the morning of 20 July 2009 and was completed on 21 July 2009. The Greek police evicted around 100 individuals who had been living in the Old Appeal Court of Athens. No alternative accommodation was reportedly provided to those living in the disused courthouse either before or after the eviction. There are also reports that the remaining migrants living at the courthouse did not receive appropriate notification of the impending eviction by the police.

Around 600 persons, including irregular migrants and potentially asylum-seekers, had lived for the last three years in the disused courthouse in Sokratous street in squalid conditions with no water, electricity or proper sanitation. Over the past two months the Greek authorities had been making attempts to evict them from the building. The 600 inhabitants had refused to move, claiming they had no alternative accommodation. At the time of their eviction the number of those remaining there had been reduced to around 100 people, following a series of sweep operations by the police in the centre of Athens which led to many of those living in the courthouse being arrested for having no proof of their legal right to remain in Greece.

According to reports the police arrested only a few of those evicted, as most had left the building the night before and dispersed around the centre of Athens. Fears have been expressed by local non-governmental organisations that many of those evicted were subsequently arrested in sweep operations conducted by the police in the centre of Athens on 20 and 21 July and that those with no documents confirming their legal right to stay are likely to be detained and deported.

On 9 May 2009, five migrants were injured after members of a far-right group tried to storm the courthouse. Some human rights activists were also lightly injured during the attack. There were reports that although the police were present, they did not take action to prevent the attacks or protect those under the attack.

These events follow the eviction of around 300 migrants and asylum-seekers from their makeshift homes in Patras on 12 July 2009. At that time Amnesty International expressed concern that around 100 individuals were left homeless as a result, living in fields close to Patras without shelter, or access to water, sanitation and medical assistance. Among those left unprotected were said to be a small number of unaccompanied minors.

International law prohibits forced evictions. No one should be evicted without adequate notice, prior consultation, due process of law including access to legal remedies, and provision of adequate alternative accommodation. Forced evictions violate a range of international and regional human rights treaties and standards, which protect the right to adequate housing, most notably the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, to which Greece is a party.

Evictions may only be carried out as a last resort, once all other feasible alternatives have been explored, and only when all appropriate procedural protections are in place. All persons, irrespective of their legal status, must be guaranteed protection against forced evictions.

For further information about Amnesty International’s concerns about the asylum system and the treatment of asylum seekers and migrants in Greece see:

Greece: Amnesty International condemns forced evictions in Patras,AI Index: EUR 25/007/2009

Through the Demand Dignity campaign, launched in May 2009, Amnesty International is calling on governments globally to take all necessary measures, including the adoption of laws and policies that comply with international human rights law, to prohibit and prevent forced evictions.

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The Destruction of a Refugee Camp in Greece: A report by the Movement for the Rights of Refugees and Immigrants in Patras.

Posted by clandestina on 21 July 2009

The Destruction of a Refugee Camp in Greece:

A report by the Movement for the Rights of Refugees and Immigrants in Patras.

Email of the Movement:

The consequences of the war by EU and US in Afghanistan are more than apparent in Greece. This war created thousands of refugees who are trying to survive by traveling to “democratic” Europe. Thousands have died on this “journey” and those that arrived alive face a “fortress Europe.” The following is a report about the destruction of a point of arrival, a refugee camp, in the third biggest town in Greece, Patras.

The Patras refugee camp was destroyed on July 12, 2009. It had a lifetime of approximately eight years. Located in the north of the city, next to a small river – Milichos – behind Iroon Polytechniou Avenue, it consisted of about 150 small huts, in an area of 5 to 6 acres, with a mosque in the center and a few improvised shops. It hosted and protected 1000 to 2000 refugees from Afghanistan. Though it was an improvised camp, under miserable hygienic conditions, it was the last refuge, the last hope for refugees in Patras. At least 300 of them had applied for asylum and had managed to get a “red card,” while 200 others wanted one, but could not apply, since the authorities who are responsible for accepting and processing applications did not have a translator.

Several attempts to demolish the camp were made by the authorities.

On the 23rd of January 2008, for example, with the use of a demolition protocol that was composed by the Prefecture and characterized the camp as “an arbitrary construction,” another effort to tear down the camp was made. This effort was preceded by an extensive operation that took place in order to arrest and remove from the city 1500 refugees. Both the arrest and the demolition activities were prevented after organized actions by the Movement of the rights of Refugees and Immigrants and a huge demonstration (of 2.000 people) that took place with the participation of the refugees themselves in the end of January.

A year later, second attempt was made on the 21st of January 2009, when a fire burned down about 40 huts. Authorities accused Afghans themselves as the arsonists. The fire was put out and the camp was once more saved.

The solidarity movement supported this “miserable camp” and insisted to the end that before demolishing the already existing refugee camp, a new one should be built within the city limits, where people could move freely whenever and wherever they wanted.

This claim was widely accepted and adopted by some official members of Mr. Karamanlis’ government, such as the Minister for Home Affairs, Mr. Pr. Pavlopoulos. The Support Movement to the Immigrants and Refugees and other organizations defending refugees rights also demanded that asylum and travel documents should be issued to the refugees, the under age should be protected, and activities aiming to the social integration of the refugees should be supported.

After the recent European Union (EU) elections, along with the rise of the right-wing party of LAOS, the (supposedly) socialist party of PASOK acceded to the ruthless EU measures against refugees: “No tolerance to illegal immigrants.” Those were the words used before the elections by the leader of PASOK, Mr. G. Papandreou. These are the immediate reasons why the plans for building a new refugee camp were abandoned and, instead, cruel police measures were adopted, including the fortifying of the harbor and the launching of police invasions on the camp. In addition several arrests were made under terrorizing circumstances. The refugees who were not arrested (especially those who had a red card) were threatened to prevent them from going near the camp again.

Under these circumstances – and especially because of the police actions – the number of residents in the camp dramatically declined during the past two months. The refugees stopped sleeping in the camp and dispersed within the city. Some of them fled to other places. Police authorities and the local political leadership were satisfied by the effectiveness of these measures and the decrease in the number of refugees, claiming that these measures helped to solve the “problem” of the camp without the need of creating a new host place.

Sunday morning of the 12th of July 2009, however, was the time of the “final solution.” At 5:30 am, police forces reinforced by six MAT squads (with blue and green overalls) – who came from Athens – surrounded the camp, under the presence of the local political leadership and a public prosecutor. Never before in Patras there was there a such “operation” by the police. And this “operation” was against people that are the victims of a war; that is, it is an “operation” against refugees that are created by the war of US and EU.

This operation found the parties of New Democracy, PASOK and LAOS, in agreement and in favor to the tough measures of the police forces. It was intended to solve the refugee problem in the city by military means. An official statement concerning this measure was released on Saturday evening, but it was not clear what it meant. Along with the remaining refugees, only 15 members of our organization and a few other people in solidarity were present. Other people, including young members of anarchists groups either failed to approach, got arrested or were detained for identification.

Some police forces encircled the camp while others invaded it. About 200 refugees who did not manage to escape were arrested. The leaders of the operation didn’t permit to the members of our organization to have any access to information or to the refugees. Only after two hours of pressure did we see a document by the Perfecture that permitted the destruction of the camp, but its legality is questionable.

Bulldozers, trucks and buses (one double-decker bus and three normal ones) arrived. Bulldozers made the final attack on the camp, while the buses gathered the refugees. Under-age children were taken and left at a shelter in Konitsa (400 km north). The red card possessors were taken away to a hotel, since the have applied for asylum. Those who did not have the appropriate papers and were not under age (always according to the decisions made by the police) were driven to an unknown destination and detained, without anybody being informed concerning their whereabouts. At 8 am, when Afghans disappeared from the camp, the bulldozers and the trucks began demolishing the huts, excluding the mosque in order not to be blamed for disrespect to this religious place. A few minutes later flames appeared in the camp site, completing the demolition quickly and without exceptions. The mosque turned into ashes.

According to the police, the fire was started by the Afghans and as proof of this claim video tape belonging to local TV stations showed three Afghans running in the camp. According to uncertain information at this time the three Afghans have already been tried in court for committing arson.

Later the same morning, a second operation started, this time against the Sudanese who live in the south of the city. The Sudanese have no huts, only blankets and cardboard shelters. For the authorities, it was a good opportunity to “clear” Patras from all foreigners.

The Movement for the Rights of Refugees and Immigrants states, «It is a failure of policy to resort to military solutions as a response to social problems. It is a failure of policy to be unable to design a long-term immigration plan. It is a failure of policy to make decisions while ignoring the causes that produce refugees. Tomorrow, in one week or in one month refugees will be here again.»

Doctors Without Borders (working inside the Afghans’ camp since May 2008 providing primary medical care and psychosocial support) expressed its deep concern after the police operation in the camp of Patras: «Most of the people are forced to leave their country because of war or extreme poverty and face an uncertain future and a possible detention for an unknown period of time. This can have very negative effects on health and psychological state ». The Communist Party and SYRIZA (left parties) made statements, condemned police operation against the Afghans’ camp and characterizing it as brutality.

While police forces and political leadership seem satisfied by the outcome of the operation, the Movement for the Rights of Immigrants and Refugees and several other movements of solidarity with the refugees are planning the following actions:

Supporting and offering solidarity to refugees and immigrants wherever they are found within the city, where they are hiding under the fear of arrests and deportations.

Taking all the necessary legal actions in order to find out the legitimacy of the break down of the camp.

Pushing the authorities to accept new applications for asylum.

Demanding that the asylum seekers are treated with dignity and have their rights protected.

Publishing the brutality, since hunting the refugees is a cruel barbarism.

We demand:

– The release of the arrested.

– The issuing of asylum and travel documents to the refugees.

– The protection of the under age with social inclusion measures.

– The social integration of the refugees.

As one of the asylum seekers told us yesterday “Even if the house of animals is destroyed, people permit them to build their house somewhere else. We don’t even have this right.”

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