[Chios/Greece] CALL FOR DONATIONS of the campaign Cant evict Solidarity: Solidarity without borders against Repression against the protests of refugees in Greece during the COVID-19 pandemic

CALL FOR DONATIONS of the campaign Cant evict Solidarity: Solidarity without borders

Repression against the protests of refugees in Greece during the COVID-19 pandemic

 

Violence and repression against people on the move is becoming increasingly brutal and repressive. The exit restrictions imposed by the pandemic are hitting these people particularly hard. In addition, the pandemic legitimises even more brutal repressive measures on the part of politicians and executive bodies. Exemplarily three spotlights:

– The rage of people locked up in the lockdown due to Covid-19 unleashed itself in protests in Camp Vial on the Greek island of Chios after a 47-year-old woman who had fled Iraq died of a heart attack on April 18, 2020.
.
Two days earlier, she had been taken to hospital with cardiac arrhythmia, tested negative for Covid-19 and given rudimentary medication. Afterwards she was locked up in a container outside the camp as preventive isolation, where she suffered a panic attack and was found dead the day after. When the police arrived to break up the protests, they used tear gas and batons. Some protesters reportedly defended themselves by throwing stones. Hundreds of people tried to flee from the police units and the fire into the surrounding fields, but did not dare leave the camp too far, as the Greek government has introduced a 150 euro fine for violations of exit restrictions since the Corona pandemic. Dozens of people were injured due to the brutal police action. Above all, nine fugitives are now in custody on remand and are currently charged with arson, damage to property, breach of the peace and violations of the weapons law. For a further six persons, remand pending trial has been requested. They are all now facing several years in prison.
.

– At the beginning of April, a hunger strike by detained refugees against the conditions in the deportation prison in the Moria camp on Lesbos and in the deportation prison Paranesti in northern Greece was ended by police violence.

With the hunger strike, prisoners protested against the unfounded imprisonment, the inhumane accommodation and the lack of protection against Covid-19. On the Greek islands, people are not only detained after refusal of the asylum procedure, but many people are imprisoned immediately upon arrival after the dangerous crossing on the basis of their respective nationality. Although deportations from Greece are indefinitely restricted by Covid-19, people are not released from deportation detention. On the contrary, people continue to be detained on purpose.
.
– After Turkish President Erdogan suspended the EU-Turkey deal at the end of February 2020 for power-political reasons and brought people to the border, the wave of racism and right-wing violence against refugees escalated further. In the process, EU border officials* fired deadly shots at the border river Evros. Here, too, there was mass indiscriminate detention of people seeking protection.
Now the government is stirring up a negative mood among the population with fears and additionally justifying its anti-migration policy with preventive measures against the pandemic. In recent weeks, there have also been increasing reports of illegal push-backs by the Greek coast guard on their way to and from the Greek islands.

A violent fight against the protests of refugees in the Greek camps, as well as their subsequent often arbitrary imprisonment and criminalisation, is an integral, structural component of the inhuman migration policy of the EU. This general approach is once again increasingly evident during the current pandemic.
Previous cases of repression against protesters have shown that individuals are arrested and charged in exemplary fashion, often completely independently of any actual involvement in the protests. This should prevent any protest in the camps against the catastrophic situation. In recent years, protests by residents* of the Moria camp on Lesbos have been violently suppressed several times and, as in the case of Moria35 , imprisoned for months without any evidence.

The response of the “You can`t evict Solidarity” campaign to the increasingly brutal repressive policies is a solidarity campaign. This includes public relations work and financial support for the trials of the detainees.

Donations in solidarity are welcome on this account:

Rote Hilfe e.V. / OG Hanover
IBAN: EN42 4306 0967 4007 2383 57
BIC: GENODEM1GLS
GLS Bank
Intended use: Cant evict Solidarity

Contact:

cantevictsolidarity(at)riseup(dot)net

[Evros/Turkey/Greece] Declaration on the death of Muhamad Gulzar, killed at Evros river

Declaration by Muhamads comrades from City Plaza: https://www.facebook.com/1568287556796915/posts/2301742346784762/?app=fbl

A farewell to our friend Muhamad Gulzar, killed at Evros Border

Bild könnte enthalten: 1 Person, InnenbereichThe rumor of a second refugee killed at the borders, spread three days ago. How could we imagine that it could be our friend? How could this happen? And yesterday the first messages. His wife, appearing in a Sky News reportage. A distant take, outside the hospital, crying and mourning. It was for her, we learned, that Muhamad crossed the borders once again, this time from Greece to Turkey and back to Pakistan. To bring her here and be together.

Last Wednesday, in the morning, our friend Muhamad, our Muhamad from the room 611, was shot dead just for being a migrant. A struggling man, an innocent person, declared as an “enemy” and “invader” of Europe. A civilian shot down like a wild animal.

The bullet came out from a gun at the greek side, a gun that once pointed to the air and once pointed to the group of people crossing the border – was it border police, was it a militia, a greek or foreign fascist volunteer or was it a young soldier ordered by the government to use “live ammunition”?

The government said it’s fake news and turkish propaganda. The European Commissioner the day before said that the Greek government is doing the right thing, it acts as a “shield of Europe”.

We, friends of Muhamad Gulzar, who met him at the squatted hotel City Plaza in Athens three years ago, we say that our brother has been murdered. We cannot find the actual murderer, but we know who is responsible. We cannot know who was carrying the weapon, but we know that Muhamad was killed by a bullet came out from a gun, that once pointed to the air and once pointed at the running people, in a disgraceful human hunting at the borders of Europe in 2020.

Muhamad, for you, for your wife and family, for all of us and for the children to be born. For all the people, despite nationalities, skin colour and religions, we are saying that we will struggle more and we will fight harder. We shall overcome the barbarism spreading so fast in the world. And we will remember you running free over the bloody borders. In Greece, in Turkey, in Europe and everywhere in the world, everywhere where people struggle for a better life, without war and racism, without oppression and humiliation of the people.

Your friends and comrades from the ex City Plaza squat, Athens!”

[Evros/Turkey/Greece] Shootings and Huntings – The Fascistisation of the European Border Regime

Published by our comrades from dm-agegean: https://dm-aegean.bordermonitoring.eu/2020/03/07/shootings-and-hunting-the-fascistisation-of-the-european-border-regime/

Shootings, Torture and Push-Backs at the Borders

News about people being shot by Greek border guards on the Greek-Turkish land border appear with increasing frequency. On social media information circulate about at least 8 people brought to hospital with gunshot wounds. Videos how that people have been killed, being stripped naked, beaten and tortured and pushed back from Greece to Turkey in mass expulsions. The murder of a young Syrian on Monday has already been analysed in detail by Forensic Architecture. In some areas around the Evros river people were blocked from two sides when special units of the Turkish police were mobilised to oppose the Greek pushbacks. Migrants report that they have been beaten also from the Turkish side and a video shows how families were transported to the border in busses and forced to get out.

The Greek government also announced a so-called “exercise with heavy weapons” carried out on the coast of Lesbos towards the sea in the direction of Turkey by the Greek government. Furthermore, a restricted navigation in the sea came into power, which bans any type of non-commercial or private activities in the waters around the northern Aegaen Islands. At the same time, there are more and more reports about refugees being brutally attacked by groups of masked people in cooperation with the Greek coast guard in the Aegean Sea. The engines of rubber dinghies were destroyed, boats pierced in the open sea or attempted to be capsized. Shots were fired at people in rubber dinghies. A child drowned. To an extent, the Turkish coast guard is still active in the sea, even carrying out pull-backs from Greek waters. Meanwhile, the Frontex units stationed in the Aegean were passively holding back.

Video on attacks of refugees in the Aegean by the Greek Coast Guard and masked forces, first released by Turkish TV.

Criminalization of Migrants and Suspension of Asylum Law

Adding to this, the Greek government announced that the right for asylum will be suspended for all new arrivals. Already about 500 people who arrived on Lesbos are currently held in the port of Mytilene and scheduled to be brought to a closed camp on the mainland on Saturday, 7th of March, presumably to be held in a military base in the town of Serres. From there, they will be deported without any asylum procedure.

Moreover, people seeking protection have also been criminalized and prosecuted. The number of cases is unclear but some newspapers reported about 17, others 45 and even about 183 people who crossed the border in Evros region and have been sentenced with charges of 3 to 4 years of prison with fines around 10,000 Euros. On Monday, seven men were sentenced to 3 years imprisonment on Lesvos for “illegal entry”, where three more trials are planned against unaccompanied minors in May. Many other trials are expected to follow.

People who arrived at the port of Lesvos. March 2020. Source: Legal Centre Lesvos

Fascists Hunting Down People on Lesvos

Meanwhile, the hell of fascist violence has broken loose on Lesvos and Chios. Right-wing groups are hunting migrants and building blockades along the streets to check cars and their occupants. If they are not Greek or supposedly working for NGOs they are attacked and their vehicles have been smashed. The escalation of violence started after the Greek government announced the plan to construct new closed camps on the islands. Soon after the camp Stage 2 in the northern part of Lesvos was set on fire. Even the UNHCR was not spared from violence and several aid workers and volunteers were intimidated and decided to leave the islands. People were injured, their photos shared on Facebook among fascists groups and advertised for hunt. Shoreline response and sea monitoring teams who have been doing emergency response and monitoring for years were also attacked, while the police frequently disrupts their work. Simultaneously, right-wing groups prevented asylum seekers from landing and disembarking the boats.

Road blockade on Lesvos during protests against the planned closed camp on Lesvos near Karavas. Source: Mare Liberum.

Declaration of bankruptcy by the European Union

What is the EU’s stance on these developments? It should be self-evident that the brutal violence and the shooting of people in Europe would cause investigations for murder. It would be expectable that the suspension of the fundamental right for asylum, which directly violates the European Human Rights Charter and the Geneva Refugee Convention, should be seen as a scandal to be immediately sanctioned by the EU. At least that the EU should speak against the horrifying fascist violence unleashed against their own humanitarian organisations.

But none of that is happening. The president of the EU Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, does not seem to be particularly concerned about the brutalized violence within Europe. She praised Greece for being the “European shield” because “this border is not only a Greek border, it is also a European border” and promised Greece financial support of 700 million. Border reinforcement will be further strengthened through a RABIT operation by the European border and coast guard agency Frontex.

The eternal mantra that the events of 2015 must not repeat has become so deeply imprinted into the public’s mind that any violence seems to have become acceptable as long as refugees are prevented from entering Europe. This is visible not only through the absurd hysteria about refugees at the border, but also the almost fascinating irrationality. With its violent isolationist policy, the EU is not only exposing its much-vaunted fundamental human rights values to ridicule, but is also becomes the toy of the Erdogan government.

Accompanied by a chess-like played media coverage, refugees were released from deportation centres and collectively transported with buses to the Evros border and the Turkish coast while others joined on their own. The departing boats were filmed by state television companies and sent to the EU as a threat. It was a military counter-strike in the Syrian war. Refugees are being abused as a bargaining chip by the Turkish government to blackmail the EU and NATO to cooperate in the Syrian war.

The EU panics, although the EU-Turkey Deal is not even suspended. Deportations to Turkey continue and Turkish border guards are at least partially active. The estimated 130,000 people who would have crossed the border were never registered in the EU, and within three days only around one thousand refugees arrived to the islands. The absolute numbers of crossings in the Evros border remain low.

What’s much more frightening than Turkish power politics is the helplessness of the EU: Receiving the approximately 13,000 people from the border would be an easily achievable and legally required act for the EU with its almost 450 million inhabitants. But today, it apparently rather accepts those seeking protection to be shot than to break its dependency on Erdogan.

Sticking to the Birth Defect of European Migration Policy

While people are dying, beaten and instrumentalized in a dirty geopolitical game, the core failure is that the EU continues to firmly hold on to the EU-Turkey deal. Instead of learning from the fatal errors, the architect of the deal Gerald Knaus now speaks of an “Agreement 2.0 between the EU and Turkey”. Apparently, there can be no thinking out of the box, since the basic principles of the European border policy are based on blackmail and dependency on authoritarian regimes that do the dirty work for them. As soon as this relationship begins to falter, it becomes obvious that the policy is built on the basis of disenfranchisement. Shooting people at the border is only the logical consequence of a policy that systematically denies access to asylum.

In doing so, the EU fails to recognise the real dangers: Its policies lead not only to the death of refugees, but also to the fascistisation of Europe. A direct line can be drawn from the racist murders in Hanau to fascists hunting refugees and attacking support structures on Lesvos. It is therefore not surprising that right-wing networks in Germany are calling for people to go into battle at the EU’s external border and hunt people down. Luckily, they are received roughly by the local Antifa.

V.H.

[Evros/Greece/Turkey] Common Statement: Transnational solidarity against racism and war!

Hundreds of groups worldwide sign multilingual Statement demanding peace, fundamental rights and freedoms of every person on the move. We also sign the call of our Turkish friends (https://crossbordersolidarity.com/#english):

Five years after the so-called “refugee crisis” and almost four years after the EU-Turkey deal, we are once again witnessing the violence caused by security-centred migration policies. Since last Thursday (27.02.2020), thousands of people have been moving towards the Turkey-Greece border following the announcement that migrants wanting to reach Europe will no longer be stopped on the Turkish side. The announcement from Turkish government officials came after the death of 33 Turkish soldiers in the Idlib area, where conflict escalation has seen the civilian death toll rapidly increase by the day, with basic infrastructure and health facilities being blatantly fired at. Turkish government keeps its borders with Syria closed while seeing no harm in pushing thousands of migrants towards the doors of Europe, into a limbo.

Migrants and asylum seekers from Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and several African countries have been reaching the border-crossing areas of Edirne, Çanakkale, and İzmir; some were brought there by buses of municipalities, some arrived by private taxis, or walking. In the Edirne area, they have been allowed to proceed to the border zone by the Turkish authorities, but Greek police forces prevented them from passing with gas and sound-lighting bombs. At the same time, Turkish authorities restricted the access of journalists and reporters. Those stuck in the grey zone between the two states under heavy rain and with scant food supplies have been shouting for the opening of the borders. Some of those who reach the land border were told by the authorities to cross by sea despite hazardous weather conditions.

In Greece, the scenario is also worsening. The government has recently passed a new stricter and even more inhumane law on asylum entailing detention upon arrival to the Greek territory for all new asylum seekers. In the past days, local communities on the islands of Chios and Lesbos have been clashing with riot-police in opposition to the establishment of new detention facilities. Under the burden of the so-called “refugee crisis” since the EU-Turkey deal, they have been protesting against the deterioration of their own living conditions and of the living conditions of those seeking asylum there. However, xenophobia and racism have never stopped infesting the public discourse. In reaction to the latest events, Greek government officials have been fuelling hatred and fear by spreading the myth of an invasion by “illegals” at the behest of its neighbouring country.

Xenophobia, racism and their normalisation must be opposed everywhere they surface, be it in Turkey, Greece and anywhere else. The instrumentalization of the lives of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees reduced to a threat and a bargaining chip must end, both in domestic electoral campaigns and in the relations between the Turkish government and the EU. The security policies that push thousands of already displaced people into a limbo and the border regimes that cause the endless cycle of violence against them must cease. What we demand are peace, fundamental rights and freedoms of every person on the move.

Borders are killing, open the borders!
Stop the war on refugees & migrants!
Transnational solidarity against racism and war!
For a free world without borders, exploitation, and exile.

[Greece] Solidarity statement: Freedom for Hamza & Mohamed

first published on https://www.borderline-europe.de/unsere-arbeit/gemeinsames-solidarit%C3%A4tsstatement:

Solidarity statement: Freedom for Hamza & Mohamed

The European Union must stop the arbitrary incarceration of refugees and migrants

We express our solidarity with Hamza Haddi and Mohamed Haddar who are currently being held in pre-trial detention in Komotini, Greece. Both are facing long prison sentences because they are being wrongfully and arbitrarily accused of “smuggling”.

Hamza Haddi and Mohamed Haddar are Moroccan citizens who fled their country searching for protection and better living conditions, Hamza Haddi in particular is a known political activist who was hoping to be granted political asylum in Europe. In Morocco, he is facing political persecution for his activities during the Arab Spring as well as for his engagement with the Moroccan Human Rights Association L’Association Marocaine Des Droits Humains AMDH. He has been imprisoned three times and, together with his family, been constantly targeted and intimidated by Moroccan authorities. Hamza is a political refugee.

With Europe’s ever-increasing closure of borders and the impossibility for refugees to legally enter Europe and claim asylum, they were forced to embark and risk their lives on a makeshift boat. Hamza, who had fled from Morocco together with his brother Yassine went on to meet two companions on the way; Reda and Mohamed in Turkey. There, they spent only a few days before attempting to cross the Evros river that marks the border between Turkey and Greece in July 2019.

In Greece, the four arrived, only to be immediately arrested by Greek border police. But not enough. Hamza Haddi and Mohamed Haddar are now accused of and are facing trial for the “smuggling” of two persons – one of them being Hamza’s own brother Yassine!

The accusations against Hamza and Mohamed are clearly unfounded. They are refugees, not smugglers.

Their companion Reda was coerced into signing a testimony that is now being used to wrongly accuse Hamza and Mohamed as being the smugglers. Reda can neither speak nor read Greek and later confirmed that the written document does not match his statement.

Consequently since July 2019, Hamza and Mohamed have been held in pre-trial detention in Greece and are facing more than ten years of imprisonment each. The basis of their trail is placed upon a testimony signed under pressure and without an interpreter.

We are calling for their immediate release!

The case of Hamza and Mohamed is unfortunately not an isolated case but paradigmatic for yet another facet of Europe’s policy of closing borders and deterrence. While European supporters or so-called “human rights defenders” such as Carola Rackete or the iuventa10 have recently received a lot of attention and support after having become the target of increasing criminalisation, there is hardly any information nor support for those without a European passport facing the very same accusations. However, it is them who constitute the majority of those being arrested and imprisoned in Italy and Greece on grounds of alleged “smuggling” and “aiding illegal immigration”. Arrested immediately upon arrival, a lot of them disappear unknown and unheard of and with no access to support from outside.

The basis for this is Greek legislation that considers any person found to have driven a vehicle across Greek borders, entering Greece without required documentation, as a smuggler.

The arrests as well as trials that follow these often-unfounded accusations of smuggling are arbitrary. Police officers might accuse the person holding the tiller to steer the boat, or the one who communicated with the coast guard to call for help or simply someone who speaks English, to be a smuggler. In Greece, the average trial lasts only around 30 minutes, leading to an average sentence of 44 years and fines over 370.000 Euro. Suspects, or what we would deem ‘victims’ of this unjust legislation, usually have limited access to legal assistance, most of them relying on public defenders. Observers voice concerns about a “shocking lack of deep processing”, reporting that judgements are pronounced despite lack of evidence and poor quality of translation.

This statement is to express our solidarity with Hamza Haddi and Mohamed Haddar and all those criminalized and deprived of their basic rights in the European Union’s proclaimed fight against “smugglers”. We call on everyone to condemn the arbitrary application of anti-smuggling laws against people on the move, who are often already in fear of their lives. We denounce the exploitation of the vulnerable situation of asylum seekers by the EU member states, leaving them without the means to properly defend themselves.

Together with the Hamza Haddi and Mohamed Haddar support committee we demand:

• The immediate release of Hamza Haddi and Mohamed Haddar.
• All charges against them to be dropped, and their innocence to be recognized.
• Hamza’s asylum application to be accepted and his asylum granted.
• Regularisation of the situation of Hamza and Mohamed, and freedom of movement for all.

We further demand:

    • Freedom for all those that are suffering the same fate, being imprisoned in Greek and Italian prisons because they were looking for a better life.
• A change in the Greek and Italian law in order to remove the legal grounds for these arbitrary arrests and convictions.

    –>  Attend the trial of Hamza and Mohamed on February 4th 2020 in Komotini, Greece!
–>  Donate for their legal defence: https://www.lepotsolidaire.fr/pot/94duqw1k

– ADIF Associazione diritti e frontiere, Fulvio Vassallo Paleologo, Italy
– Adopt a Revolution
– Alarm Phone Watch the Med
– Prof. Dr. Annita Kalpaka, University Hamburg
– Antina Plath, Initiative Schwarze Menschen in Deutschland, Germany
– ARCI Porco Rosso, Palermo
– Prof. Dr. Astride Velho, Germany
– borderline-europe e.V., Germany
– Borderline Sicilia Onlus, Italy
– Carola Rackete
– Centre for Peace Studies, Zagreb
– Clandestina Thessaloniki, Greece
– Christian Peace Maker Team Lesvos, Greece
– Délinquants solidaires, France
– Demokratische Juristinnen und Juristen e.V., Germany
– Esc-Infomigrante, Rome
– European Civic Forum, Switzerland
– European Democratic Lawyers – Avocats Européens Démocrates
– Harald Bauder, Ph.D., Ryerson University Canada
– Il Comitato di Base No Muos di Palermo, Italy
– Institute of Race Relations, Anya Edmond-Pettitt, United Kingdom
– iuventa10
– Judith Gleitze, borderline-europe, Palermo
– Kontakt- und Beratungsstelle für Flüchtlinge und Migrant*innen e.V., Germany
– La FASTI, Fédération des associations de solidarité avec tou-te-s les immigré-e-s, France
– L’Association Marocaine Des Droits Humains, Morocco
– Loubna Messaoudi, CEO Founder BIWOC* Rising, Berlin
– Marie Amoyi, Initiative Schwarze Menschen in Deutschland, Germany
– Migreurop, Observatoire des frontières, France
– mediale pfade, Germany
– Mobile Info Team, Greece
– Münchner Flüchtlingsrat, Germany
– Observatory of Solidarity, Milan
– Refugee Law Clinic Berlin, Germany
– Republikanischer Anwältinnen- und Anwälteverein, Germany
– Rete Antirazzista Catanese, Italy
– Sea-Watch, Germany
– Seán Binder
– Seebrücke, Germany
– Solidarité sans frontières, Switzerland
– Solidarity Watch, Belgium
– Statewatch, United Kingdom
– TPC Maison Solidaire, France
– You Can’t Evict Solidarity, Germany

[Bulgaria] CALL FOR SOLIDARITY with the NO NAZIS ON OUR STREETS 2020 demonstration

We document a call of our comrades from Sofia:

CALL FOR SOLIDARITY with the NO NAZIS ON OUR STREETS 2020 demonstration

No Nazis on Our Streets 2020 – Sofia, 22.02.20, 13.00 h, Banski Square

On the 22.02.2020, the neo-nazi Lukovmarsh will happen in Sofia for a 17th time. The Bulgarian neo-nazis will walk the streets of Sofia with their  European counterparts. The march will probably be silently patronized by the municipality of Sofia and the higher levels of power in the country.

On 22.02.2020,  the demonstration “No Nazis on Our Streets!” will also take place. After a Pan-European neo-nazi organization called Fortress Europe was established in Sofia in 2019, we think that it is time that society in the country has to wake up and stop its’ silent consent to its’ own fascization.

For us, antifascism is not a party or a person – it is a human position against far-right aggression and violence that has become a reality in the street, as well as a state policy.

Lukovmarsh will happen 75 years after the horror of the Holocaust. While Bulgarian politicians hypocritically go around the world and talk about a “Bulgaria that has saved its’ Jews”, formal and informal neo-nazi groups celebrate the memory of Hristo Lukov – a person who wanted their extermination. Today his ideological heirs appear in more and more places around the country, followed by more neo-nazi marches. At the same time, the Bulgarian “patriotic” government is making attempts for revisionism.

Public figures and media are flooding us with the cliches of the elite, while turning up people against each other: Bulgarians against people who are perceived as non-Bulgarians, heterosexuals against non-heterosexuals, women against men, even medical workers against doctors, the list can go on forever.

It is time to unite against the lies of racism, xenophobia, anti-semitism, homophobia and sexism! Against the lies of power and the state!

The streets are ours! Let’s take reclaim them on 22.02.2020!

In case you haven’t stumbled upon a call for the demonstration “No Nazis on Our Strees” before, here is some general information about why we are protesting  Lukovmarsh:

Who are Antifa Sofia/ Antifa Bulgaria?

We are a group of people with pedominantly anarchist and anti-authoritarian ideas, who oppose traditional party structures and organizations. We have gathered in our attempts to stop the neo-nazi Lukovmarsh and oppose acts of far-right violence.

Who is general Lukov and what is “Lukovmarsh”? 

“Lukovmarsh” is a classical fascist torch-lit march with hundreds of participants that occurs annually since 2003, in February, honoring the memory of the lieutenant-general, politician and minister of war Hristo Lukov (1887-1943), a supporter of Nazi Germany during the World War II, pressuring the government to send the Bulgarian Jews to death camps in Germany, leader of an ultra-nationalistic organization UBNL, clearly proclaim anti-semitism xenophobia, totalitarism and fascism. He was killed by Violeta Yakova, a woman of Jewish origin, member of the underground antifascist resistance in Sofia.

17 years ago, in 2003, the figure of Hristo Lukov was pulled out of the trash bin of history to be commemorated for the first time and the march in his honor has been happening ever since.

The formal and informal groups behind the organization of “Lukovmarsh”, along with most of the participants in the procession, represent the Bulgarian the vast majority of the Bulgarian extreme right and Neo-Nazi scene: the main organizer Bulgarian National Union, the nationalistic party VMRO (officially part of the parliamentary group United Patriots, currently in the government), National Resistance (famous for holding homophobic demos), Neo-Nazi ultras groups, the Bulgarian branch of neonazi organization Blood And Honor and others.

Why is transnational solidarity important?

Ultra-nationalists are already in the government. Parliamentary and extra-parliamentary nazi organizations are uniting against migrants, meeting up, marching together, holding conferences and showing “white international solidarity” more than ever to “protect Europe” as they claim. This was evident in the numbers of foreign supporters of Lukovmarsh lately, among which are: Spain (La Falange), Germany (NPD, Die Rechte, Der III Weg), France (Terre et peuple), Italy (CasaPound), Austria , Croatia (The Neo-Fascist Party), Poland (National Revival), Romania (Nova Dreapta), Hungary, Sweden (The Nordic Front), Russia (Russian Imperial Movement), etc.

Lukovmarsh is a good example for how the system “works” – for years, the march has been protested against. Even the Capital Directorate of Internal Affairs has published data that Lukovmarsh is an event in which members of pro-Nazi terroristic and criminal groups participate. Since 2014, the mayor of Sofia is formally “banning” the march, only later to let Nazis march with their torches, escorting them with a large number of police force. Meanwhile, political parties in close ties with the organizations behind Lukovmarsh are in the local, national and European power structures, holding a number of top positions. Constant hate-speech is promoted and widely welcome in the media, which has continuously used it to raise its audience’s moneymaking fears and racist stereotypes.

Below is our brochure if anyone wants to print and spread information on the subject:

More Infos:
http://antifa-bulgaria.org/
https://www.facebook.com/events/113035276743896/

[Athens] No holidays in Petrou Ralli: A LETTER FROM DETAINED WOMEN

An article from our comrades from Bulletinmag in Greece:

No holidays in Petrou Ralli: A LETTER FROM DETAINED WOMEN

On December 19, 2019, was our last visit to Petrou Ralli Detention Center. Once more the number of detainees had increased and reached no50 50 women from 15 different countries. Indonesia, Ethiopia, Albania, Afghanistan, Georgia, Iran, Italy, Cameroon, China, Tibet, Belarus, Nigeria, Somalia, Syria, and Turkey. In our effort to talk with them, some police officers were in such close proximity that prevented women to express themselves freely about situations they experience. The behavior of some officers was also provoking towards us.

A characteristic testimony: “When we came here they forbade us to wear our headscarves and told us:” Out of here you can be Muslim, here NO! Here you are Christians… ”

Another testimony: “A police officer invaded into the shower room, while a prisoner was bathing, and made her pull the towel…” At the time, the health of several of them was very bad. Despite our own pressure for two women to be transferred to a hospital as emergency cases, nothing really changed. Τhese women are still very sick. Also, there are no doctors during weekends and during the night time, at Petrou Ralli. On Christmas day we were informed by relatives of prisoners for possible initiation of a few women on hunger strike. The day after our visit they started writing their experiences in the following denunciation letter, where they describe them with their own voices. Experiences that we can simply only imagine. Women from six different countries asked their will for their letter to be publicized. When you have lost everything you do not fear anything.

Their voices should be heard in the whole world. You can discuss it in your assemblies. The organizations and institutions that talk about human rights should stop fooling us and playing with the plight of migrants and refugees, who are led to extermination.

We stand by and admire these women for their bravery and solidarity they show to each other…

No person illegal, no person invisible

Our Rebel sisters are right for the abolition of detention centers and opening of Borders

for stopping illegal racist & misogynist behaviors

for smashing verbal, physical and mental torture

The passion for freedom is stronger than all kinds of prisons

In streets, in squares and prison cells, migrant women you are not alone

The House of Women, for the Empowerment & Emancipation

spiti.gynaikon@gmail.com

(translated in English from the original)

“Greece, Allodapon (Immigrant House) PRISON 20-12-2019

That so-called-immigration office is such a hideous and villainous place that makes anyone forget his/her humanity. Nothing is legal here. Lies, molestation, sexual abuse, diseases, neglection, squalidity, ill-treatment, beating, insult…You literally face with all of these.

Above all, how can they dare? If Europe doesn’t know, how come they dare? Maybe it is a conspiracy! Here we are locked into wards 3-4 times a day which are filthy and full of lice. Only after hitting the iron fences over and over, a policewoman asks «what», by shouting and insulting. They treat us as if we are animals. (not even animals should be treated like this). They took our mobile phones on the first day and didn’t give it back to prevent us to take pictures or videos. Even the lawyers can’t come inside. When the volunteers of organization companies come we are locked. Volunteers are told a lot of lies. For example, they are told we stay here 2 weeks maximum. Most of us are here for 1,5 months. There are people here who stay for 4 months without being told anything.

We are being taken to airing twice a day like herds. When the time is off, they shout ‘Inside’, and lock us inside the wards. When people need to go to the toilets, they have to shout, punch, kick the doors. Sometimes, only sometimes, a policewoman comes after 15-20 minutes. Other times no one comes. Even if one of us dies at those times, no one cares.

Ceylan Pinar Kanli, Turkish. Everybody is sick. Everybody has wounds because of the filth. Some of us even have cysts. For example, I have cysts all over my body. After 5 days, they took me to the doctor inside the immigration house. He said “you should go to the hospital immediately. You need a blood analysis. It is urgent.” Despite that, they make me wait. It has been 5 days.

We do the cleaning ourselves. We have neither shampoo nor soap. Nothing… The ones who have visitors are lucky, what about the others? They ask the ones with visitors to buy things for their needs if they have money. Our friends without money, they either ask to share or they smell.

There is no word to describe the toilets. No detergents, no soaps, nothing! The toilets changed their color because of the dirt and filth. The ones with wet handkerchiefs wrap their noses and face to be able to enter the toilets. The ones without handkerchiefs mostly vomit.

And the policemen! Under the pretext of distributing food, they touch and harass women. This is a horrible place.

The ward on the right belongs to men. The inhuman beating by the police (the victim was a man called MECIT) shouldn’t be ignored. 4 cops kicked him to death barbarously. I can’t forget his ashamed looks because he was beaten in front of all of us.

The food they give both cold and smells! Tomatoes and oranges are rotten. Even to drink water we have a timetable. Water drinking time… We have to drink that disgusting, smelling water. When I said ‘I can’t drink this water. May I buy from outside?’ the policemen laughed a lot and said ‘You have to’. There are a lot of things to say about that place… The sentences on the walls, relentless tears, and continuous supplications.

All are here in that hell.

Alla from Syria, whose headscarf is pulled from her head

Aisha from Somalia, who can’t walk because of the cysts, who is taken to hospital in the middle of the night and when the inflammation gets a bit better, taken back in prison.

And us, who are insulted every day, 1 Iranian, 3 Albanian girls who were abused.

That place is not an immigration office, it is a torture house. I believe I will be able to go out but it’s not only me. After me, there are lots of women who haven’t got any money, a lawyer. They have no one. There are children hereunder 18 and it is not legal.

Please help us. The women who were on indefinite hunger strike ate for the first time after 3 days. No one cares.

Esraa Kreash (Syria), age 22. Esraa is on medication for her psychological condition under the supervision of a doctor twice a day. However, the police gave her only once at night. For a day, they didn’t give her any. Then, Esra didn’t take the pills at night and the next day she took two of the pills. Because she took two pills in a day (she took one in a day for 20 days before), she slept. When she woke up, she went out airing. The police said that the time was off. She had to go inside, but she knew neither English nor Greek. So she didn’t understand.

After that, the police pulled her arms hard and pushed her. Esra attacked the police’s hair. 4 police came from inside. 2 policemen handcuffed her, 2 policewomen hit her arms. And in front of all of us, they dragged her on the floor and locked her in a cell. They left her handcuffed in the cell without food until night. She cried a lot, knocked the door continuously but they didn’t open it until the night shift. She only knows to say ‘sorry’ in English. She said it tons of times, over and over. Only after that, they opened the door. Her roommates asked food for Esra, but they didn’t give any.

She says ‘I haven’t used psychological drugs before. When I came to this prison, the doctor here gave them to me. She is here for 25 days. She has no visitor, neither money nor a lawyer. She retained a lawyer but because she doesn’t have money, the lawyer doesn’t come. She signed for asylum in Leros 3 months ago. Then she went to Lefkada and she was caught there while going to Italy on the ship and was taken to Allodapon. For 3 months, she has been waiting for the interview. 25.12.2019

Meryen Zare, from Iran who was swindled by her lawyer, hasn’t got any money and a lawyer. Neither translator nor visitor. She asked someone who knows English to write a letter to the police saying ‘Please send a translator or I will kill myself.’ Meryem has been waiting for the answer for 3 days. She is all alone, doesn’t know what to do, without a translator. She has gone on an indefinite hunger strike for 3 days. Today we made her eat.

Glory, from Nigeria, has been waiting to be free although she has been here for 2 months and finished 2 interviews. She is still an indefinite hunger striker! 26.12.2019″

Reading the denouncing letter of these women, in comparison with Article 21, on the rights of detainees, from the Decision: “Establishment, operation, and regulation of the aliens’ pre-removal centers(APC)”, one can easily, and leniently speaking, realize the tragic irony:

Regulation of Pre-removal Centers

Article 21

The foreign detainees in the detention centers have the right:

a. To medical treatment and to psychosocial diagnosis and support,

b. To unhindered religious practice, as long as the safety rules of the detention center are not violated

c. Not to be subjects of discrimination (…)

g. To access to a lawyer and in case of inability, providing legal support (…)

n. To be informed via newspapers, magazines, and books with which they are supplied during their visiting hours and to have access to the library (…)

L. To receive from the guards of the detention center the necessary things for their personal hygiene and tidiness,

m. To receive appropriate nutrition with the concern of A.P.C., 3 times a day and

n. To be informed via newspapers, magazines, and books with which they are supplied during their visiting hours and to have access to the library

(there is no and has never been a library at Petrou Ralli)

[Greece] Free Nour – criminalization of refugees as human traffickers

The source of the following article is the petition in change.org: (https://www.change.org/p/european-court-of-human-rights-free-nour-al-sameh) as well as the picture which is taken from this petition too.

Cases of state repression against refugees arriving with boats on greek islands by criminalizing their act of eventually conducting a boat as human trafficking as written below, are no single cases. It is a systematicly policy of deterrence and arbitrariness. We want to make these cases visible. Nour is an exemplary case for this:

Free Nour Al-sameh!

Nour Al-Sameh is 29 years old ٍSyrian who is unjustly imprisoned in Greece for 4 years now because he flee to Europe for refuge. Just like the Captain of the Sea-Watch Carola Rackete, he acted to save the lives of people on a boat in the Aegean Sea who would otherwise have drowned in the water.

Nour studied Business Management in Syria, he fled his country due to persecution and war that burst in. He stayed in Turkey in an unbearable situation without shelter or job until he managed to leave Turkey, in July 29th 2015. The only possibility for him to seek refuge in Europe was crossing the Aegean Sea in small sailing boat. He was the only person on the boat who could speak English, when the boat was about to sink he called for help using the walky-talky on the boat.

People on the boat were taken by The Greek coast guards accompanied by military forces (according to Nour,this forces were in military uniform, and he thinks that they were speaking in German)
The boat was taken to the harbor of Perya Island in Greece, he was handed to the Greek coast guards. Being blindfolded and handcuffed, Nour was beaten, insulted and humiliated by the Greek police.

He was accused with Human Trafficking and sentenced for 315 years and a fine of 3150000 Euros in June 2016. Similar cases have shown that the court counts prison year by the number of people on the boat. With the support of his friends he managed to get a lawyer and appeal against this decision in November 2017, the judge of Perya court dismissed the appeal. In another attempt for justice Nour’s lawyer brought the case to the highest court in Greece, the Supreme Court, to win the opportunity for an appeal and to explain his story properly. Since the hearing in the Supreme Court in February 2019 Nour is waiting for an answer on his claim.

Nour’s case is not an exception. Many refugees have been criminalized, arrested and are currently detained in Greek prisons simply because they were fleeing. The Legal Center Lesvos has documented https://legalcentrelesvos.org/category/news/).

“The individuals charged are denied the basic rights to a fair trial, guaranteed under Article 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights, as they are routinely denied adequate interpretation, are denied a fair hearing, and convictions are based on the sole fact that the individual was driving the boats attempting to reach Europe from Turkey” In Nour’s case it was simply making a call to ask for help. The Christian Peacemaker Team also documented a trial against refugees concluding

“No one in the courtroom supported the business of human smuggling of refugees—making immense profits by charging huge prices for transporting refugees in very dangerous conditions, usually crowding too many people in unsafe boats, often not giving them life jackets that actually work, or not putting enough fuel in the motor to reach the shore of the Greek island. It’s a horrendous crime against these vulnerable and desperate people. But the people being tried in this courtroom were not the people running these illegal businesses and getting rich.”

https://cptmediterranean.wordpress.com/2016/12/01/seeing-in-the-greek-courtroom/

Here is another article tackling the unjust sentencing of many more people, most likely there are many more like Nour that we haven’t heard of.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/241858/article/ekathimerini/news/three-arrested-for-migrant-smuggling-in-as-many-incidents

Nour is still arrested without any help and his case is forgotten

please sign his petition and share it, Nour deserves our solidarity

Saving lives is not a crime!

We demand Nour’s immediate release!

 

[Lesvos] This was not an accident! Statement about the fire in hot-spot Moria on 29.9.19

Source: http://lesvos.w2eu.net/2019/09/30/this-was-not-an-accident/

This was not an accident!
They died because of Europe’s cruel deterrence and detention regime!

Yesterday, on Sunday 29 September 2019, a fire broke out in the so-called hotspot of Moria on Lesvos Island in Greece. A woman and probably also a child lost their lives in the fire and it remains unclear how many others were injured. Many people lost all their small belongings, including identity documents, in the fire. The people imprisoned on Lesvos have fled wars and conflicts and now experience violence within Europe. Many were re-traumatised by these tragic events and some escaped and spent the night in the forest, scared to death.

Over the past weeks, we had to witness two more deaths in the hotspot of Moria: In August a 15-year-old Afghan minor was killed during a violent fight among minors inside the so-called “safe space” of the camp. On September 24, a 5-year-old boy lost his life when he was run-over by a truck in front of the gate.

The fire yesterday was no surprise and no accident. It is not the first, and it will not be the last. The hotspot burned already several times, most tragically in November 2016 when large parts burned down. Europe’s cruel regime of deterrence and detention has now killed again.

In the meantime, in the media, a story was immediately invented, saying that the refugees themselves set the camp on fire. It was also stated that they blocked the fire brigade from entering. We have spoken to many people who witnessed the events directly. They tell us a very different story: In fact, the fire broke out most probably due to an electricity short circuit. The fire brigade arrived very late, which is no surprise given the overcrowdedness of this monstrous hotspot. Despite its official capacity for 3,000 people, it now detains at least 12,500 people who suffer there in horrible living conditions. On mobile phone videos taken by the prisoners of the camp, one can see how in this chaos, inhabitants and the fire brigade tried their best together to at least prevent an even bigger catastrophe.

There simply cannot be a functioning emergency plan in a camp that has exceeded its capacity four times. When several containers burned in a huge fire that generated a lot of smoke, the imprisoned who were locked in the closed sector of the camp started in panic to try to break the doors. The only response the authorities had, was to immediately bring police to shoot tear-gas at them, which created an even more toxic smoke.

Anger and grief about all these senseless deaths and injuries added to the already explosive atmosphere in Moria where thousands have suffered while waiting too long for any change in their lives. Those who criminalise and condemn this outcry in form of a riot of the people of Moria cannot even imagine the sheer inhumanity they experience daily. The real violence is the camp itself, conditions that are the result of the EU border regime’s desire for deterrence.

We raise our voices in solidarity with the people of Moria and demand once again: The only possibility to end this suffering and dying is to open the islands and to have freedom of movement for everybody. Those who arrive on the islands have to continue their journeys to hopefully find a place of safety and dignity elsewhere. We demand ferries to transfer the exhausted and re-traumatised people immediately to the Greek mainland. We need ferries not Frontex. We need open borders, so that everyone can continue to move on, even beyond Greece. Those who escape the islands should not be imprisoned once more in camps in mainland Greece, with conditions that are the same as the ones here on the islands.

Close down Moria!
Open the islands!
Freedom of Movement for everyone!

Welcome to Europe – http://lesvos.w2eu.net/
WatchTheMed Alarm Phone – https://alarmphone.org/en/
Mare Liberum – https://mare-liberum.org/en/

[Roeszke11/Ahmed H.] Ahmed is back home!

We are happy to tell you that 4 years after the brutal attack of the Hungarian state on the protests after the closing of the Roeszke border crossing and the arrests of the eleven people, the so called Roeszke 11, the last person Ahmed H. was finally able to leave the country to Cyprus, back to his family, on the 28th of September 2019.

After several years in prison and through the court instances, the Hungarian state ignored the European wide protests and convicted Ahmed in a fake trial of “terrorism” to prison for 5 years in the end in 2018. Since January 2019 he we was meant to be released from prison but had to stay in deportation detention as Cyprus didn`t want to let him return to his family there.

We wish Ahmed and his family all the best!
Thanks to all people supporting Ahmed and his family and the Roeszke 11 – solidarity will win! Lets fight injustice and the border regime!

Read the statement of Amnesty International:
https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2019/09/hungary-syrian-man-unjustly-jailed-finally-allowed-home-to-cyprus/