Migration and Struggle in Greece

Posts Tagged ‘sweep operations’

Zero tolerance terror against immigrants once more in Igoumenitsa

Posted by clandestina on 2 February 2010

In recent days, a wave of police terror has swept the port town of Igoumenitsa on the Ionian sea side of Greece. This is one of the main gateways to Italy and immigrants o try there to get into ferries to Italy. This is the town where one year ago the Kurd refugee from Iraq Arivan Abdullah Osman had been severly injured on the 3rd of April at Igoumenitsa port by Port police men – he died in hospital a couple of months after.

Zero tolerance terror was implemented once more against sans papiers of the area. As athens indymedia users report, in the last days of January police operation tried to clear up the makeshift nylon huts immigrants had to protect themselves from the harsh winter conditions. The police not only destroyed the huts but also burnt people’s clothes and blankets.

After the barbarity was made known people of the area and near cities provided immigrants with clothes and necessary things, but this was not the end of the story.

The police, some days after the destruction of the settlement, raided once more towns’ spots where immigrants gather, they beat and arrested dozens, who were then kept in detention cells of the police stations, under “Guantanamo” conditions. There has been rumour that gunshots could be heard during the operations.

A solidarity committee has been formed in the town and is working on practical solidarity issues. Their next meeting is on Thursday, February 6, at the Igoumenitsa Technical University premises.

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Arrested for protesting against flagrant brutality. A petition against police violence.

Posted by clandestina on 22 October 2009


To:  The Greek Minister of Citizen Protection

Following the December revolts in Greece, police violence against migrants and activists in Greece is becoming more and more intense. The xenophobic turn of the mainstream media combined with the electoral rise of the extreme right wing party LAOS have played a vital role in legitimizing police violence against both foreigners and citizens who dare to protest. Ironically these tactics are part of an overall plan to “protect the citizen” by openly demonstrating the ability of the state to control those who participated in the December revolts. While “scoop” operations and deportations take place daily all over the country subjecting migrants to different forms of physical and psychological violence, activists who react against it are also becoming subject to the arbitrary violent and terrorizing tactics of the police. Recently Mohamed Kamran Atif, a migrant from Pakistan, has died after being tortured in detention at the police station of Nikaia. During the protest march organized in response, several activists were arrested and imprisoned.

Few days later Dimitris Parsanoglou, a sociologist and anti-racist activist, has been arrested and detained without a legal representative for three days because he protested against the arbitrary arrest and beating by the police of a migrant in a central spot of Athens.

We ask from the Greek government to

– stop police violence against migrants and activists

– stop “scoop” operations and arbitrary deportations of migrants

– stop arbitrary arrests and imprisonment of activists of all nationalities


The Undersigned

View Current Signatures

The Stop police violence against migrants and activists in Greece Petition to The Greek Minister of Citizen Protection was created by and written by Nomadic Universality(  This petition is hosted here at as a public service.

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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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“Sweep operations” continue in the center of Athens

Posted by clandestina on 24 June 2009

According to tvxs article 400 policemen stormed once more the center of Athens.  110 people were arrested.  60 of them were “sans papiers”.

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“Racist deportations must cease” says the Pakistani Community in Greece

Posted by clandestina on 17 June 2009

source: tvxs article

Immigrants, students, unions and other social actors who met on Monday evening under the auspices of the Pakistani Community in Greece called for a stop on illegal deportations. At the same time, they decided to organize a rally against the government’s stance to immigration.

As denounced by the chairman of the Pakistani Community Tzavent Aslam, the Greek authorities, working with the Ambassador of Pakistan in Athens, used a special charter flight for the forced repatriation of 55 Pakistani immigrants living in Greece while their applications for political asylum were pending.

«We are people» say the Pakistanis in Greece, who declared that the deportations are unacceptable at a time when there is war in the country, which forced 2.5 million people to become refugees.

«Their lives are at risk», stressed the protestors who claim political asylum and legalization of immigrants residing in Greece.

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A prosecutory fiasco adds to the police vengeful campaign against immigrants in Chania, Crete

Posted by clandestina on 17 June 2009

Surveillance and prosecutions in the town of Chania against struggling immigrants and their organisations continue. The police in the town after the two day networking and action event by the Forum of Immigrants in Crete launched a campaign of intimidation against the rise of immigrant assertive activity (see this post: Police campaign to intimidate struggling immigrants and communities in Chania, Crete). Among the arrestees of the days was Farahat Gabri, active in the migrant movement since years, whose health was in a bad condtion and remains so after his detention and the police denial of  access to medical care (instead of some hospital, he was transferred to Athens, away from his support networks – see this Chania Haunt of Immigrants – Social Haunt press release about this case – in Greek).

Yesterday though, the situation in the town took a bleaker and at the same time ridiculous – as regards the police’s “master plans” – twist.   After the arson attack against a police vehicle at the Souda district the police invaded the houses of immigrants well known from their year long residence in the town and their affiliations with the social struggle for rights.   Two of them were supposedly witnessed to be near the spot of the arson attack.

They were brought to court yesterday.  The witness was a junky, absolutely depended on state benefits support and intermingled with the undercover police in Chania.  The Courts of Chania were filled and surrounded with all sorts of police, who kept encouraging the “witness” to “say everything, and f*ck them”….

The Forum of Immigrants in Crete called the people who had been with the two immigrants that night to confer their testimonies to the court. Along with the Athens Indymedia post of some group assuming responsibility for the arsonist assault, and the rapid response by lawyers in Chania, the pressures culminated and led the court to to downgrade the charges (the accused immigrants would be otherwise trialled under the “terrorism-law”) and then release them until some DNA tests are carried out on supposedly found evidence.  The court will resume in ten days.

The Forum of Immigrants in Crete calls for vigilance.  This last police fiasco is not an isolated incident. It is not only part of the general terroristic “sweep operations” rush of the last days, but also – and crucially so -part of the vengeful campaign of the minister of public order Markoyannakis against the self – organized assertive initiatives of the Forum – the police and pertinent ministries will not forget and will not forgive the local community support and the momentum of  the last winter’s hunger strike.

Tomorrow (Thursday) an open discussion with the town’s associations, trade unions and political organisations is to take place at Papadopetrou building in the center of Chania.

(most info from Forum of Immigrants in Crete release).

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“Sweep operations” continue (June 16, 2009) – the situation at the Court of Appeals building

Posted by clandestina on 17 June 2009

“Sweep operations” continue: everyday some part of the center of Athens suffocates by police forces storming the sites where immigrants and refugees dwell, hang out or work.

Yesterday at the districts of Kerameikos and Metaxourgeio 630 people were stop-and-searched and 103 were arrested, most of them foreigners lacking documents (source: tvxs)

At the Court of Appeals building the police continues its operations, arresting immigrants en masse. The constant violence and pressure has led many immigrants to flee the building: out the 500 people finding refuge there some weeks ago, only 100 remain there (source: tvxs)

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Public Order Ministry’s agenda translates into everyday anti-immigrant terror…

Posted by clandestina on 15 June 2009

Yesterday afternoon police and municipal police cops stormed down town Athens (Omonoia square) beating randomly immigrants. Municipal police kept hunting rabidly street vendors. Unfortunately, in Zinonos street some bus drivers were shouting “get them”. The police confiscated the vendors merchandise and kept beating them. When a witness (writing about it in Athens indymedia) reacted the police responded something like “get lost or you will get the same).

Today at 7 in the morning the riot police squad outside the Court of Appeals building as a group kept assaulting any immigrant who exited the building alone (the whole squad against one).  Bloody beating, racist swearing, threats and “don’t come back” warnings. With all this terroristic pressure by the police more and more people abandon the building everyday. There have been many reports of municipal police beating street vendors, confiscating their merchandise, stealing money and cell phones from them. (see this athens indymedia article about it).

Yesterday the Public Order Minister Markoyannakis said that the police faces two major challenges: illegal immigration and the action of anarchists. He added that the police will leave aside the issue of anarchists for now to tackle the illegal immigrants issue first.  For the latter, concentration camps are ready and waiting (source).  His plans for cleansing down town Athens from immigrants will be concluded in one month or so from now.

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Yesterday’s pogrom in Athens….

Posted by clandestina on 12 June 2009

This is a translation of the “Red Anti-Reporters” [Kokkinoi Anti-Reporters] report published at the athens indymedia.  50 people were arrested yesterday, only hours after the Governement annnouned its plans.


The Police encircled Athens facing no resistance…

It is the first time we intervene in this way about the pogrom against immigrants the state machine and the deep state fascist bastards of Golden Dawn have launched.

Because the reality – either we like it or not – is a long way from the platforms, the revolutionary keyboard verbalisms and the solidarity, resistance and disobedience to the police that DID NOT TAKE PLACE YESTERDAY against the encirclement of the streets of Socratous, Sofokleous, Agios Konstantinou and Piraeos.

The Police occupied the area since 20.00. A similar police operation was set up in the square of Aghios Panteleimonos, manned by riot squad, Golden Dawn fascists and people shrieking gibberish.

The wider area from Omonoia square to the Larissis train station was occupied by the police. Cops in groups of 4 or 5 patroled and did checks in shops as well in the street, in Omonoia and Aghios Konstantinou Ave. (they entered a coffee shop in the ground floor of the building of the left newspaper Avgi. A journalist had a verbal conflict with the cops).

In the Court of Appeals building people had not taken notice of what was going on around, since no one had informed them about. Police forces of various types and police vans were patrolling in nearby streets since 20.30.

Other vans were parked in Omonia Square along with dozens of police motorists and undercover cops. The traffick police station at the train station Larissis as well as the section Patisia police station were shielded.

Cops with bulletproof vests were guarding outside the Aghios Panteleimonas police station, and had small talks with the fat pig-headed “indignant citizens” [the Golden Dawn fascists].

The same situation at the Aghios Panteleimon square as well: the fascist killers of Golden Dawn hanging out with the cops, the riot police, the undercover police… In other parts of the area extending from Omonoia to Aghios Panteleimonas big motorcycles with their plates covered were waiting.

Immigrants: Solidarity does not fit in steelyards.

In yesterday’s pogrom in Athens against immigrants and… undesirables, the first part of the summer project of repression took place. They will keep doing that, clearing people, and will be announcing the numbers “50 illegal immigrants arrested today”. Tomorrow, 50 more. Tomorrow 50 more and so on.

Still, comrades, do not fear. Police terror will be embedded.

The immigrants left in the Court of Appeals building are few. They will leave; gradually the government troops of the new junta will be invading the building; they will find it empty; the cops will be arresting the immigrants in the small allleys around. And we will not take notice or we will underrate the news….

Until then, the police will be arresting people and without us taking notice, the refugee camps (in Aspropyrgos, in Schisto) will be operating….

Then operations will take place against our haunts, squats and free space, laws agains the weraing of hoods and university asylum, and then … then we will wear hoods and be sent in small new Guantanamos in the burnt pine forests of the mountains … already set on fire for the new season… or in the operational refugee camps’ hell….

No one did anything against the pogrom yesterday. This was an effective plan by the police, with a very large police force, the armored vehicles and motorcycles of the Greek democracy. In full cooperation with the deep state and the fascists of the Golden Dawn.

When a whole area in Attiki is occupied by the police and the deep state, let us not just sit on our keyboards and write bullshit.

No one did anything yesterday and the cops roamed loosely performing a major “sweep operation”at ease … As if this is nothing special. As if this is something natural to happen…

PS: In the Aghios Panteleimonas square fascists and riot squads expelled two news agencies photoreporrters.

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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.


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