[Ahmed H.] 4 years after the Röszke11 riots: The Cyprian government denies Ahmed’s return to his family

The Cyprian government denies Ahmed’s return to his family

Today four years have passed since the “Röszke riot”, the attack of the
Hungarian riot police and TEK (counter-terrorism unite) on protesting
migrants against borders and limitation of freedom of movement in
September 2015. During and after this riot eleven people were arrested
and later faced a court trial.

Ahmed H., one of the arrested eleven people was convicted for terrorism
and sentenced first to 10, than to 7 and on the last court instance to 5
years prison.

On the 19th of January 2019 he was supposed to get released on parole,
after he finished two third of his sentence. But instead of returning
home, he was transferred to the immigration prison in Nyirbátor, in the
east of Hungary. He was waiting for months there for Cyprus to renew his
visa, which expired during the time he spent in prison . He used to live
in Cyprus before his arrest for more than ten years together with his
wife and children. He left the country and ended at Hungarian-Serbian
border, because he accompanied his parents from Syria to Europe.
Although the authorities promised him that he can return home with his
renewed visa after the administration procedure is over, after months of
waiting he learnt, that the government of Cyprus refused his return. The
interior ministry of Cyprus stated that he is a security threat and
cannot get visa.

There is apparently no state willing to let Ahmed enter, so he remains
trapped in the Hungarian jail. In the last months we could not publish
anything about the case because his family did not want to go public
with this further developments until now. We were silent, but we did not
disappear.

During the trial, there was very strong criticism against the Hungarian
state. The liberal media, international organisations, and even the EU
parliament were accusing Hungary of not respecting european values.
Cyprus’ refusal to renew Ahmed’s visa prove, that his situation is not
exclusively the
fault of an ‘undemocratic’, ‘dictatorial’ regime. The racist
anti-immigrant and anti-terrorist
discourse is an essential part of the idea of ‘Europe’ and the european
border regime,
that all european states follow.

This is a call for solidarity actions targeting this time the Cyprian
state and its institutions. A strong international public pressure is
needed for Ahmed’s release and return home. The government of Cyprus has
to let him join his family again and be finally free from the
imprisonment! Spread the news, spread solidarity!

Let us not forget the prisoners of the Fortress!
Freedom for Ahmed H.!

“Free the Röszke 11” solidarity group

freetheroszke11@riseup.net
https://freetheroszke11.weebly.com

[Athens] Wave of repression and evictions of refugee-squats in Exarcheia

Artikel first published on enough is enough 14 on 27. August 2017:

Greek territory: #Exarcheia under police occupation!

Athens, August 26. Alert! What we have been announcing to you for a month and a half has just begun this morning (yesterday morning, Enough 14), just before dawn. Athens’ famous rebel and supportive neighbourhood is completely surrounded by huge police forces: many riot police buses (MAT), anti-terrorist untis (OPKE), police on motorbikes (DIAS), members of the secret police (asfalitès), as well as a helicopter and several drones.

Originally published by BlogYY. Written by Yannis Youlountas. Translated by Squat Net.

A unique place in Europe for its high concentration of squats and other self-managed spaces, but also for its resistance against repression and its solidarity with precarious and migrants, Exarcheia has been in the sight of the right-wing government since its election on 7 July. The new Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis had made it a personal affair, especially since he had been mocked in early August for failing to achieve his goal of “cleaning Exarcheia in a month” as he had announced with great fanfare.

This morning, 4 squats were evicted: Spirou Trikoupi 17, Transito, Rosa de Foc and Gare. The offensive currently concerns the north-western part of the district, with the notable exception of the Notara 26 squat, which is considered better guarded and very symbolically important for the district as the first historical squat of the “refugee crisis” in downtown Athens.

There are currently about 100 arrests, including than brutal attacks on people trying to film. Only the mass media in the service of power are allowed to cover the event.

In total, there are 23 squats in Exarcheia plus 26 others around the district, for a total of 49 concentrated in a relatively small area. 49 squats to which other types of self-managed sites must be added, including some rented (Espace Social Libre Nosotros, free shop Skoros, etc.) as well as dozens of private homes groups of activists, often near the terraces to allow access above the streets.

On the squats that are precisely inside Exarcheia, 12 are accommodation squats for refugees and migrants and the 11 others are squats of anarchist and anti-authoritarian collectives (although most refugee squats are also obviously very political, starting with Notara 26 and Spirou Trikoupi 17 with direct assemblies and many links with the rest of the movement).

In the squats of Spirou Trikoupi 17 and Transito (on which servants of power are now bricking up windows), more than fifteen children have been torn from a peaceful and happy existence in order to suddenly being sent to camps. These sinister camps are unhealthy and overcrowded, migrants are malnourished and suffer from temperature variations, humiliation, and sometimes torture, and Mitsotakis also demands that they all be well closed and, in the future, completely cut off from the rest of the territory.

The face of Europe is constantly hardening, the same process is happening in other continents. This evolution increasing authoritarian capitalism leads us to question what the coming times will bring: the offensive against the pockets of utopias coupled with the confinement of the scapegoats reminds us of the dark hours of History.

The whole world is becoming fascist and Greece is once again one of them, one of the laboratories.

But nothing is over. September is coming soon. Seasonal jobs are about to end. The social movement gathers and organizes itself again. Places like Notara 26 and K*Vox are under high surveillance. Answers are being prepared, as well as several major events mobilizers. Autumn will be hot in Athens.

Resistance!

Yannis Youlountas, August 26, 2019

Today, Tuesday August 27, there wull be several protests and solidarity actions:

[Balkan] Push-back Map is online!

published by www.pushbackmap.org

Zagreb, June 18th 2019
A Tool to Collectively Fight the Repressive Border & Control Regime

Currently we are witnessing an increase in institutional violence across Europe. At the EU’s borders expulsions, direct deportations, readmissions and other forms of forced returns across borders are happening on a daily basis. These violent practices are called push-backs.
They are a systematic institutionalised technique used to suppress movement across borders. With our newly developed online tool The Push-back Map, www.pushbackmap.org, we aim to map, document, visualise and denounce these practices.

Continue reading

[InEUmanity] Frontex on a new mission: The new regulation thwarts human rights

We publish a text written by comrades from the campaign InEUmanity (also included in our new broschure):

On the 17th of April of 2019, the European Parliament adopted a new Regulation[1] radically reshaping the tasks, powers and organizational structures of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex). The increased deportation of fugitives, the primary objective of which is laid down in the first article, is Europe’s only and brutal response to the still unresolved “migration issue”.

The initial situation is that from spring 2015 onwards more and more migrants came to Europe to seek protection, better living conditions or future prospects. However, the borders of the Balkan route open by the Schengen Code were practically closed in March 2016 in order to prevent arrivals from reaching the often desired Western European countries. The Non-Refoulment commandment[2] not to reject those in need of protection at their own borders is systematically violated in order to take account of the xenophobic shift to the right in the member states. Since then, there has been no forwards, no stays and no backsliding. For the fugitives this is a hopeless and indeed hopeless situation.

A solution in the form of a new European regulation of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) has been lying idle for a long time because the member states could not reach agreement. So the new regulation is supposed to resolve the “congestion” immediately and in the future.

The core element of Frontex’s new field of activity is to support third countries in deciding on the need for protection of refugees and to organize repatriations in the event of their refusal. In addition, there will be an increase in the staffing and financial resources of the Border Management Agency, as it will be given a more comprehensive remit to implement the measures. In concrete terms, this means an increase in staff to 10,000 (wo)men by 2027 and an increase in the budget for the period 2021-2027 to a total of 34.9 billion euros. Frontex is made up of agency staff (EU officials) and teams seconded from the Member States.

Until now, Frontex has only been active in member states of the Schengen area if a constitutional decision by this state on entry or stay in the country was available. Frontex can now also become active in third countries on its own initiative. Frontex is responsible for the preparation, provision of relevant information and advice on repatriation decisions and their implementation. The repatriation decision is therefore formally taken by the third country, which alone serves to circumvent the European protection of fundamental rights.

Frontex employees have a general authorization to carry out all border controls and measures relating to rejection, which are actually reserved for the respective states, which is an obvious breach of the Schengen Code. Access to an asylum procedure can therefore simply be thwarted. This is also to be expected, as the Member State Teams have no special training to be able to recognize the need for protection of people and the entire restructuring is aimed at preventing the entry of “illegal migrants”.

There is also talk of setting up “early warning systems”. On the basis of EUROSUR data sets and “risk analyses”, it is to be indicated when large crowds of people set off to cross the border illegally. The teams then have the task of preventing this. The rhetoric of the law thus leaves no doubt about the misanthropy of the whole project.

So-called controlled centres are to be set up to carry out these operations. The text of the law does not say whether they will be open or closed and whether they can also be set up in third countries. It is very likely that the centres in which asylum procedures are to be carried out within eight weeks will be as bad as the Greek and Italian hotspot camps in terms of congestion, miserable living conditions, systematic violations of the law and exclusion from social participation.

A liability gap also means that there is no legal protection for those affected. In third countries, civil servants are subject to directives issued by third countries which are not bound by the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. Although all states in Europe belong to the ECHR, it does not contain any right to asylum, so that no action can be brought before the ECHR regarding repatriation. An action before the European Court of Justice to review the legality of Frontex’s actions is impossible for the persons concerned, since the decision was formally taken by a non-EU state and the repatriation took place on its instructions.

In addition, the Regulation provides for the use of force (pepper spray, blows, as a last resort, the use of firearms) as a legitimate means of enforcing the tasks. However, if someone exceeds the limits of the proportionate use of force, criminal proceedings are also excluded: Frontex officials enjoy immunity in the third country, no complaint can be filed in the sending country and there is no European criminal procedure.

Even extrajudicial institutions do not promise any protection: A Commissioner for Fundamental Rights and a complaint mechanism for the prevention and clarification of human rights violations are largely ineffective, as this means a purely internal and thus not independent examination of incidents. When the regulation was adopted, MEPs focused above all on the Balkan countries in order to open up internal European borders. There is no regional restriction, however, so that nothing would stand in the way of application in Libya or Turkey in the future[3].

The regulation is argued on the basis of the absurd assumption that EU officials working in other countries are exporting their own standard of protection of fundamental rights. Their real aim, however, is to deport people from non-EU countries before they enter EU territory.

This was exemplified by the debate in the European Parliament, in which there was hardly any mention of the human rights of refugees. On the other hand, the importance of the internal openness of the EU was repeatedly stressed. Fugitives are thus (re)brought into unworthy life situations so that EU citizens can travel freely.

The Regulation is therefore a new expression of a racist and Eurocentric worldview. Even though the law repeatedly describes compliance with EU law, international law and human rights, its practical application, on the other hand, is an immanent violation of human rights. The adoption of this law makes visible the new quality of the shift to the right in the EU.

 

 [1]http://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/TA-8-2019-0415_DE.pdf

[2]“The Non-Refoulement Principle prohibits the extradition, expulsion or return of a person to another country if there are serious reasons for believing that the person concerned is at serious risk of torture or inhuman treatment or other very serious human rights violations in the country of destination. https://www.humanrights.ch/de/service/menschenrechte/non-refoulement/ ; accessed 7.5.2019

[3]Further critical points are discussed by ECRE (https://www.ecre.org/an-eu-agreement-on-reform-of-frontex/; https://www.ecre.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/ECRE-Comments-EBCG-proposal.pdf and ProAsyl https://www.proasyl.de/wp-content/uploads/PA_Zur-Frontex-Verordnung_Stellungnahme.pdf) in a detailed critique.

[Germany] Ellwangen and Donauwörth – two symbols for solidarity protest

Selforganized Migrant Protests, Police Raids and Random Prosecutions in German Refugee camps

In German Refugee Camps – especially in the very big initial registration camps – selforganized protests are happening on a daily basis. The people are demonstrating for better living conditions or acceptable food. Also, there is a lot of protests against the German asylum system, which is constructing unbearable situations for many Migrants, who are held in a state of structural paralysis, not being able to organize their lives or move autonomously. During large parts of the asylum process, they are forced to live in camps, not allowed to work, not allowed to cook on their own, only given very little money – actually less than what the German state defines as humane.

One of the biggest issues is the constant threat of deportation. Police is breaking into private rooms on a nightly basis, screaming and using physical violence in order to find people whom they want todeport. By now, many court decisions are confirming that such police operations are violating §§13 of German constitution which ensures the inviolability of the home.

The Migrants often oppose attempted deportations and police raids with protest and resistance. In Osnabrück, early summer of 2017, 200 people had to live in self organized camps in order to prevent deportations on their own. They installed observing shifts every night, so that people could see when the police approached. As soon as they saw a police car approaching, they blew a whistle that woke up everyone in the camp. All together they went outside and blocked the entrance. Police was not able to find the person they wanted to deport. With this method, they were able to prevent uncountable deportations. Cops did not succeed to enter the camp for more than 100 days.

In line with the ongoing worsening of the German asylum system, Migrants are more and more criminalized. Protests similar to that one in Osnabrück are often followed by a right media shitstorm and even more repression by the state. In some cases, even when people did not protest collectively, police and media simply make up fairy tales about mass actions, violence and resistance against police to justify massive raids and arbitrary attestations of Migrants.

In March 2018, police entered in the initial registration camp in Donau-Wörth, Bavaria, for deporting one person. The man was neither in his room, nor in the camp. Nobody resisted the police, some people simply argued that the police had no right to wake random people in the middle of the night because they searched a person. A fire alarm started.

The next day police raided the whole camp with 200 cops using physical violence, CS-gas and pepper spray. They randomly arrested 32 people, 30 of them were held in custody in isolation for 2 months, charged with disorderly conduct, bodily harm, assault and resistance against police. Some of the people were directly deported from prison to Italy. 7 persons succeeded in filing complaints against their penalty orders, 3 of them were deported, nevertheless. In November 2018, the first court case against 2 of the Migrants took place. The jury had to admit that there is no evidence for violent resistance against police. In spite of everything, the accusations were maintained. The accused people will take the case to the next instance.

Another case happened in April and May 2018 in an initial registration camp in Ellwangen, Baden-Würthemberg. In the middle of the night of 30th April, Police wanted to deport a person to Italy. When he refused to enter the police car, 30-40 people got aware of the situation and went outside to protest in solidarity with him, discussing with police about the inhumanity of the Dublin System. More and more people joined the protest and together they succeeded in stopping the deportation.

4 days later, a large-scale operation of 500 cops disturbed the whole camp. They broke in and raided several private rooms even though they had no order from the court. Thus, the whole operation was illegal. German rightwing people afterwards made up a story of violent protest by hundreds of Migrants attacking police. That story was copied by the mainstream media, legitimizing the excessive, unnecessary and illegal police operation, which actually had the single aim of criminalizing the Migrants. This criminalization peaked with 25 penalty orders against Migrants. Several people were put into custody. Many filed complaints against this penalty order. One person was released after 3 months of custody after having been acquitted finally of the charge of having attacked police. Another person was condemned to imprisonment of 6 months without probation because police asserted that he was hitting one officer 3 times against the helmet. With this case, the state wanted to set a deterring example for all Migrants protesting against deportations and police brutality.

The trial of 3 more people should have been in March 2019, but it was repealed as the court told the prosecution to do more investigations.

The two presented cases depict the arbitrariness in which police and state operate for criminalizing Migrants. Also, they are perfect examples of racism and racial profiling police is using on a daily basis, because all arrested Migrants are Black and police arrested them randomly because of their skin colour.

 

[Greece] Death of the dreams – a voice from prison

Published on 13th May 2019 by dm-aegean

Many people who come to Europe looking for freedom and safety find themselves imprisoned. While the EU politics forcibly keep people trapped in overcrowded and barbed wired camps on the Greek islands, the Greek police uses harsh crack down strategies in order to suppress conflicts and protests arising from the unbearable living conditions in the camps.

Migrants on the Greek islands find themselves in a situation of detainability – regardless of whether they committed an offense or not, they do not only have to bear the constant insecurity of the camp but have to live under the constant threat of being arrested and detained.

Below, we reproduce the account of Aftab Mohammadi (name changed) who was arrested in Moria camp in July 2018 and has since then been held in the prison of Chios Island. It is one of many stories of a senseless and cruel detention practice beyond any reason.

Nine months ago, it was a night like other nights. There was a fight in the camp between a few people that lasted for more than two hours. The fight started between two people and after a while others in the camp got involved. It all started because of the bad conditions of the people who have to live in the camp. Some have mental issues, because they live in these terrible conditions and do not have any mental support.

The police was present and they saw what happened. I felt terrible this night, especially when I saw that the children were holding onto their moms, they were very scared and crying. But for the police it was a special night. They were laughing at the people. For them it was like a watching an online movie. We were asking them for help but they were only laughing at us, taking photos and recording us.

Finally, they rushed in the camp but to the people who were not involved in that fight, and they attacked the innocent people. We did not have any place to go, we were about 18 persons and I was one of them. The police took us to the police station, hit us, treated us very badly and called us aggressors. For several hours our hands and our feet were handcuffed. We could not communicate with them because we did not know their language and they opened a file for each of us for no reason. After the paperwork they separated us and put us in different cells.

Before going into the cell, I thought we were the only people there for no reason, but when I went inside, I saw many people who were there for the same reason. The prison was full of refugees. The Greek police does this to people like us in order to show their power, to show that justice does not exist here. I asked the other people why they are in the prison.  ​It was because of small things. Most of them were not Greek. We only committed the crime that we were born in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq. I also saw plenty of other people who were arrested for the same reason like me and they had been in the prison for many years.

Afterwards, the court recognized them as innocent. I do not know if is fine to put innocent people in prison and open a file for them in the police station or in the court, when in the end it was for nothing, for no crimes.  I do not know what the Greek government will achieve with this kind of thing.

The European Union and the people who are in power are always talking about human rights and they are going around the world to ‘protect’ human rights. They say that everyone should have freedom and everyone has to be free. I find it very strange that they are not looking at Greece which is a part of them. In this country that is part of the European Union you can see the most vulnerable people who have been forced to leave their home country and are seeking for asylum and looking for a shelter. But this country is using them for their benefits and they are taking the people’s freedom to do their business. They are keeping the refugees here because they think they can improve their economy. I am sure this plan will not work.

Whatever you read here, it came from my heart. The people lost their freedom because of being a refugee and they lost their dreams inside the democratic prison. And we know that there are some nice humans who are trying to help others. Those people who are helping the others, they do not care where people come from, where they have been born, what are their religion and believes. They believe that we are all the same and we should help each other. In the end I hope they are going to stop making business with the humans. I hope one day I can see that everyone is equal. It is a shame to see what is happening with people’s life.

[Macedonia] “Invisible migration” in Macedonia

Like Serbia, Macedonia is one of the main transit countries on the Balkan route. Thousands of people passed through this country on their way fleeing towards the EU. But this route from Greece over Macedonia, Serbia and more north doesn’t only exist since 2015.
After all, with the so called “long summer of migration” and the by that forced short opening of the borders it has become much more visible. In this time one could see thousands of people walking next to the railway line and the highway. The geography of Macedonia is very mountainous, but both of those routes cross the land from South to North and run mainly through the valley of the river Vardar, so in comparison to the rest of the country they are easier to pass. In 2016 the borders of the so called state-run “corridor” over the Balkan route have been closed and basically hermetically sealed by radical militarization which led to making the migration nearly invisible. Repression and criminalization by the state towards refugees and those, who offered support in any way, increased heavily. Macedonia as a transit country became a huge and dangerous challenge for many.
Also, the self-organized and independent activist groups, that were active in Macedonia for months, moved back because of the repression. Only NGOs like Legis still can work at the official transit camps Gevgeljia and Tabanovce. The people crossing Macedonia on their flight don’t want to stay there but move on as fast as possible.
Since 2015 only few people asked for asylum in Macedonia and even less were approved for it. There are still illegal pushbacks to Greece or imprisonments of refugees. In spite of the unfavorable circumstances, people manage to pass the country unseen. On their way, they risk their lives. In March 2019 a person died when a group of refugees had to jump from a driving truck to avoid a police control. 14 more were hurt. Tragedies like that were more frequent especially before the opening of the “legal corridor” through the country.
Besides the situation for migrants, the social-political situation in Macedonia is tense and repressive in general and many people live daily in precarious conditions. Next to Bosnia, Macedonia is one of the poorest countries in Europe. The social system doesn’t offer any financial support, so everyone depends on wage work. In the same time, the wage is so low that people need to work an extremely high number of hours every month to be able to afford the life. For left activists that means, that next to wage work there is only very few time for political work. Additionally, the financial resources for the political work are missing: money for the monthly rent for the Social Centre, for printing flyers, posters, the travelling expenses to important meetings or the organization of actions and protests. Most of the spending is covered by crowdfunding campaigns or supported by other European groups that show their solidarity. Because of that, the left movement in Macedonia is mainly based on single persons that manage to be politically active besides their jobs. According to them, the number of active people, apart from NGOs, is sinking. For example, one of the few radical left groups in the Macedonian capital Skopje lost several members in the last years. With that, the few activists especially get in the focus of the police and the repression from the state. In spite of everything, they manage to maintain structures like the Social Centre Dunja in Skopje. Right now, there is crowdfunding campaign running to support this project: https://de.gofundme.com/social-center-dunja-a-call-for-support

[Bulgaria] is about to deport a political refugee to Turkey

The following text is written by Bordermonitoring Bulgaria

Bulgaria is about to deport a political refugee to Turkey

On March 1^st 2019, the Bulgarian police has detained a Turkish citizen from the Kurdish minority Mr. Ilhan Karabag, who was living in Bulgaria for 3 years. He lived in Ovcha Kupel in a camp of the State Agency for Refugees (SAR). The reason given for his arrest is a request for deportation from the Turkish state on the account of participating in a political organization which is banned in Turkey. He is not persecuted for any other crimes aside from being a member of the said banned organization.

Since the moment he was arrested Mr. Karabag is detained at the main building of the National Investigative Service with the right to receive visitations only two times per month. Until now he has attended three sessions in the Sofia City Court (SCC). On the last two of them a representative of the Turkish diplomatic mission in Bulgaria was present in the court hall. The presence of this representative is seen as a brutal attempt to put pressure on the decision of the court. On April 9^th the court has decided to deport Mr. Karabag but the decision is appealed in front of a higher court – the Sofia Court of Appeal (SAC).

The date for the next session is still to be announced. The unfortunate decision of the court means that Mr. Karabag is facing a long-term prison sentence in Turkey for being politically active and without committing an actual crime. The Initiative for Migrant Solidarity issued a statement against the deportation of Mr. Karabag: „Taking the decision for the deportation of Mr. Karabag in Turkey, the Bulgarian state is easily sending a human life into the hands of the Turkish authoritarian jurisdiction and violates the international conventions for providing refuge to the politically persecuted people.“

<https://balkaninsight.com/2016/10/18/bulgaria-denies-controversial-deportation-of-gulen-supporters-to-turkey-10-18-2016/>

In the recent years there were other instances happening, that have ended quickly with the deportation of Turkish citizens from Bulgaria to Turkey.

<https://bulgaria.bordermonitoring.eu/2016/08/15/push-backs-bulgarian-turkish-cooperation-will-lead-to-more-violation-of-human-rights/>

Bordermonitoring Bulgaria (BMB) is sharing the concern of an unfair asylum procedure, which is furthermore based on the statistics of applications and granting of protection status at first instance in the last year:

<https://www.asylumineurope.org/reports/country/bulgaria/statistics>

Not a single person from Turkey who asked for asylum in the year of 2018, was accepted by the SAR.

On May 29th 2019 the Sofia Administrative Court will decide to accept or reject Mr. Karabag’s appeal for political asylum in Bulgaria. In the previous court session there was at least one presence of a Turkish diplomat. On May 28th 2019 the SAC will decide on his deportation. His eventual following deportation would result in his immediate incarceration, as Mr. Karabag has been sentenced in Turkey to 6 years and 3 months in jail.

[Lesbos] Freispruch für die angeklagten Betroffenen des Pogroms auf Lesbos von April 2018

Wir veröffentlichen einen Bericht von Genoss*innen von Lesbos:
110 der Betroffenen des faschistischen Pogroms, das am 22. April 2018 auf dem zentralen Platz in Mytilini stattgefunden hat sind am 9ten Mai 2019 in allen Punkten freigesprochen worden.
Ihnen wurde Widerstand gegen die Staatsgewalt und illegale Besetzung oeffentlicher Raeume vorgeworfen. Der Ausgang dieses Prozesses ist sehr erfreulich- wenn auch der einzig logische, denn wie so viele Faelle von Kriminalisierung von Migrant*Innen haette er gar nicht erst vor Gericht gehen duerfen. *
Waehrend der Verhandlung wurde durch Aussagen von ZeugInnen und Angeklagten klar, dass von Seiten des Staates versucht wurde das Recht der MigrantInnen auf friedliche Versammlung zu kriminalisieren. Dies geschah unter anderem durch die Trennung der Besetzung des Platzes von den faschistischen Angriffen in jener Nacht. Gerade einmal 17 der 200-300 FaschistInnen sind nach den Geschehnissen auf dem Sapfos Square festgenommen worden, der Prozess gegen sie steht noch aus. Es wurde ausserdem offensichtlich, dass es keine Beweislage dafuer gibt dass von Seiten der BesetzerInnen Verbrechen begangen worden sind, so ist dieser Freispruch eine wichtige Anerkennung des Gerichts des Rechts auf friedliche Versammlung, das dem behaupteten Verbrechen – illegale Besetzung eines oeffentlichen Platzes- uebersteht.
* Am 22. April 2018 zogen ca. 180 MigrantInnen auf den Sappho Square, den zentralen Platz in Mytilini, um gegen die anhaltenden schlechten Zustände in Moria, unzureichende medizinische Versorgung, Inhaftierung auf der Insel und die langen Wartezeiten im Asylprozess (momentan gibt es Menschen auf der Insel, die ihren Termin zur Asylanhörung im Jahre 2023 haben). Konkreter Auslöser der Mobilisierung war der Tod eines Asylsuchenden mit schweren gesundheitlichen Problemen. Vor Ort wurden die Protestierenden über Stunden von Dutzenden Faschisten angegriffen, mit Pyro beschossen und mit Steinen beworfen ohne dass die Polizei einschritt. Es gab Dutzende Verletzte.

[Athens] FOR THE RIGHT TO A SAFE HOME: Four refugee squats evicted in Athens

Quelle: http://infomobile.w2eu.net/2019/04/19/four-refugee-squats-evicted-in-athens/

‘FOR THE RIGHT TO A SAFE HOME’: Four refugee squats evicted in Athens

Within just one week Greek police forces in April 2019 have evicted four refugee squats in Athens all located in Exarchia area leaving around 200-300 refugees homeless. While authorities are politically framing the operation as ‘a step forward in an anti-drug campaign’ in the area, their efforts have hit the ones in need of protection instead and criminalize the refuee squats. Refugee families, many with kids, are left ever since on the streets. They are now not only again unprotected and with empty hands but also (re–)traumatized. Around 60 refugees are protesting since two days at Syndaghma Square.

On 18 April 2019 two refugee squats in Exarchia (Athens) got raided in the early morning hours around 5am. People residing respectively in Clandestina and Cyclopi squats got evicted with a massive police presence. In total 68 refugees (among them 25 kids) were arrested and after more than 4 hours released to the streets of Athens. Among the homeless are refugees from Afghanistan, Iran and Eritrea amongst others. There are many families, single mothers and small children. A pregnant lady had to be transferred to the hospital after the terror of the eviction. She is in danger to suffer a miscarriage. Sick refugees lost track of their medicines, prescriptions and attestations.

Everything I had is in that locked building now: My tax number, by social insurance documents, medical papers… I am at zero again. They didn’t let us take anything.

In the early afternoon of the same day mothers, fathers and children from different countries started together a protest in Syndaghma Square in the centre of Athens demanding dignified housing and safety from the Greek state. Despite the strong cold, they remained over night in a dozen tents set up in opposite side to the Greek parliament. The only ‘offer’ by the police until now was to find ‘shelter’ in the pre-removal detention centre in Amygdaleza, which refugees denied to accept.

I suffer from psychological problems. My doctor instructed me to not stress myself. Yesterday in the morning we woke up by the sound of shouting and suddenly a lot of police entered the place we were sleeping in. Some of us got pushed. I had two panic attacks the last two days. Half of my body got paralysed from the fear. I am still under shock. Where should we go now?

I was sleeping with my children, when I suddenly woke up with guns being held in front of my eyes. There was police everywhere. I tried to collect our most important belongings. The police was shouting: ‘Fast, fast!’ Two of my kids have heart problems. One of them has Asthma. … It is six months I am trying to call the asylum service from Skype without success. Without the asylum seeker card, I can not apply for housing.

Only a few days earlier, on 11 April 2019 Azadi squat and neighboring Babylon had also been raided by the police. Around 200 cops were reported on site that day. Refugees stated, that the police forces evaded the place suddenly at dawn. Approx. 90 persons got arrested and transferred to Amygdaleza pre-removal detention centre. The buildings were locked while their personal belongings were thrown on the street.

On 19 April the evicted families are remaining in Syndaghma square. They prepare to sleep one more night in the cold lacking any alternative. Authorities still have not found any solution for their accommodation. The protesting refugee stated, there were 20 kids among them and they would stay until there was a real solution found for them all.

We just demand a safe place for us and our kids!

Meanwhile, more than 70,000 refugees are estimated to live in Greece currently. Approx. 23,000 are sheltered in flats by UNHCRs’ ESTIA program (March 2019), another 28,000 are being provisory placed under deplorable conditions in temporary accommodation sites in mainland Greece (15,000) or the six infamous ‘hotspots’ on the Aegean Islands and in Fylakio (in Evros region) (13,000) and 6,000 stay in short-term housing provided by the International Organisation of Migration (IOM) in 54 hotels all over Greece.

At the same time, an unknown number of protection seekers remains without an official shelter sleeping rough in public spaces or staying unofficially in the states’ refugee camps. They remain without access to the monthly allowances provided for by the Cash-Card system of ESTIA housing scheme or the Social Solidarity Fund (KEA), which people with refugee status can apply for along with Greek citizens. Without a roof over their head, without money to buy food or medicines, they would be exposed to life-threatening conditions, if not their self-organisation in around 12 refugee squats in Athens and other solidarity spaces would create the ‘welcoming and protective spaces’ that the state fails to secure.

Two days ago we experienced the second act of operation “target refugees to harvest votes”. Heavily armed squadrons of MAT and EKAM riot police units invaded two refugee squats in the neighborhood of Exarchia. As with the previous police operations, no links were found between the refugee squats and the local mafias. In addition, no refugee was arrested for any criminal act. Drugs displayed by the police were found in another irrelevant apartment.

But the government’s goal was achieved. That is to say, a large quantity of “law and order” style TV show material was produced. Refugees were once again targeted as criminals. SYRIZA sent out the message that there is no need to vote for New Democracy since they too can act out the role of a police state.

The fact that some dozens of refugees have nowhere to sleep is a minor detail which politicians and the media couldn’t show any less interest for.

The police operation that took place 2 days ago in Exarchia, against the two refugee squats was not directed against the mafia in the neighbourhood. Despite the propaganda, they did not find anything in the squats to link them with mafia. The goal of the government and the police was a show of power. Refugees have been turned into scapegoats for pre-election purposes. Refugee targeting does not harm mafia, but it strengthens the racist stereotype of identifying “foreigners/refugees” with criminal activity and of course, opens the way to fascist violence.

We remind them that the squats are the voices against the failed policies of the state on “migration management”. The housing problem is more acute than ever, for both refugees and locals. Instead of finding solutions for the housing problems, government and the oppositions are turning against those who have no shelter and hope. The recipe is classic: Instead of limiting poverty, targeting and criminalising poverty.

Do not let them impose the policy of fear and hatred.

Refugees Accommodation and Solidarity Space City Plaza