Pogrom night in Mytilini

On the night of April 22nd, a group of 200-300 fascists attacked a group of residents of Moria camp on the Greek island of Lesbos. The pogrom lasted all night, leaving dozens of those occupying the square injured. Ultimately police evacuated the square entirely.
At the beginning of last week a group of Moria’s residents moved out of the crowded state camp in the olive groves of Moria to Sappho Square, Mytilini’s main square. The group settled down there, occupying a part of the square day and night. There are many reasons for their protest, including the oversight and inadequacy of local organisations in providing medical care for a friend of theirs dying in hospital. And they protest more generally against the oppressive camp structures propped up by a number of NGOs. The protesters accused Eurorelief and MMS in particular, both of whom work in the prison-like structures of the camp. There were slogans against the UN, as well as fundamental demands for freedom of movement.
Change of scene: Every Sunday a military parade and flag ceremony takes place in Mytilini. The Greek flag on the town hall is raised by the military and nationalists. This Sunday fascists came from all over Greece. After the ceremony they make their way to Sappho Square. The police are already present at this time and form a line between the people on the square and the surrounding fascists. Around 9 p.m. the first attacks occur: from the ranks of the fascists, two torches and a barrage of stones are hurled at the protestors. The protestors stand their ground, having already started to prepare for the attacks during the parade. They form a circle, with women, children and the elderly protected in the middle. All the others, including a few dozen Greek and international supporters, are standing around the edges. People start to form a tent of blankets to protect themselves from the objects to throw.
Until just before 11 p.m. there is some peace and quiet. The group of fascists seems to calm down and decrease in size, and the police make negotiations with both groups. The occupiers want to stay, and the fascists make it clear that they want to drive them out. Reports from Moria camp, about an hour’s walk away, suggest that many people set out to provide support, but were stopped by police and driven back to camp. The camp was then locked down. Shortly thereafter there are new waves of attacks: Again, objects fly towards the people in the square. This time also firecrackers, and bins set alight, to break through the police rows. The attacks are shifting to the promenade. Occasionally there are small fights when fascists succeed in breaking through next to the police line.
Throughout the night there are many injuries, mainly from stones, bottles and firecrackers. Many unconscious people are carried away after being hit in the head by rocks. There are open wounds as well as eye and ear injuries. In nearby premises, people of solidarity are setting up an infirmary in which injuries are treated in a makeshift manner. Due to the riots, it takes a long time for the first ambulances to arrive. Thanks to the strong solidarity structures on the island, fortunately some doctors are quickly on the spot. Small groups of fascists sometimes make it very close to the temporary infirmary, so that the injured have to be evacuated from there in an emergency and distributed to other places.
Meanwhile the fascist mob has grown to several hundred people. Between the promenade and the square are two police buses that block the view. Behind it, the fascists continue throwing objects at the people who are
still on the square. Although many have been injured and would like to retaliate, the people in the square are not provoked, and take great care that nothing is thrown back. In view of the great danger and the hopeless situation, the people on the square remain admirably calm. Stoically they accept the attacks and try to sit out the night. Don’t go back to Moria! But where else?
In the centre of the circle, the situation is particularly awful. Under the tent the remaining women, children and old people endure. They can’t see what’s happening around them. Children scream while the fascists try to hit right in the middle of the circle. Again and again firecrackers
fall down between the ceilings, which offer good protection against the stones, and explode between people. Tear gas wafts repeatedly pass by and get stuck under the ceilings.
Individual groups of fascists try to get closer to the protesting people from all sides. Stones are thrown from the side at head level. There are constant attacks in which several dozens of projectiles fly over the bus at the same time. Among them massive stones, Molotov cocktails and big firecrackers. The fascists accept the dead.
The police maintain a spatial separation of the two groups for most of the night. But often there is only a row of policemen in between. The people in the square remain within throwing distance. At times the police use tear gas, pepper spray and truncheons to drive back the fascists. This gives some space for a short time, but no sustained attempt is made to keep the fascists at a distance. For a long time there have been far too few police officers present. Many are probably still busy stopping the people from Moria who have run off in support. Only at the end, with the evacuation of the square, do new buses with policemen arrive.
This night revealed the racist face of the Greek police.
At 4 o’clock the police drive the fascists far away again and keep them at a distance. At the same time, they begin to crowd people together on the square. Supporters are attacked with pepper spray. The remaining 130 people are closely surrounded by the police. When it becomes clear that they will not voluntarily board the buses provided, the police use pepper spray and physical violence. This leads to last bad scenes. The police beat the people, kick them, and drag them by their hair across the square.
After more than 8 hours of attacks by the fascists, the people are arrested and taken to prison by bus. It is still unclear whether and which charges will be brought. In addition, four Greek activists are also being taken away by the police. Most of the fascists, many of whom were not disguised, remain at large.

Saturday 17th of March 12:00 @Safos Square Protest against the EU-Turkey deal.

Broad Demonstration against the second anniversary of the EU-Turkey deal!
This Saturday the 17th of March 12:00 @Safos Square!

But this is not the only place where demonstrations will take place that day.
Don’t let the Anniversary go by unnoticed! Find your local initiatives and get to the streets!

With the anniversary of the EU-Turkey deal coming up, it will be two years since the European goverments signed this deal with the devil. The despot Edrogan keeps bombing Afrin while the Eu looks on, forcing even more people to flee their homes. They claim to represent fancy words “civilisation” and “democracy” but turn a blind eye to the suffering of millions, that they have an active part causing.

No More! #openthefuckingborders

Justice for The Moria 35!

 

On the 18th of July 2017, prisoners in Moria held a peaceful protest outside of European Asylum Support Office. Their demand was simple: freedom of movement for everyone who has been trapped on the island for more than six months, and humane living conditions. All of the 35 people arrested and accused of crimes, seem to be chosen out of coincidence. They are also accused for exactly the same crimes. During the arrest, the police used more violence than needed including teargas. One of the accused refugees was taken to hospital where he had to stay for a week.

To give everyone a chance, Legal Center Lesbos is crowdfunding in order to be able to provide the legal support needed for the trials. They are running out of time, so HELP THEM HERE, NOW.

For more information: https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/maya-thomas-davis/on-lesvos-police-violence-crushes-refugees-resistance-justice-f

The Myth of Voluntary Deportations – “Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration” from Greece

“Many people are literally broken by the unbearable living conditions in Europe’s refugee camps and by an asylum procedure lacking core standards of fairness to apply for IOM’s return programme… Once migrants have signed the agreement, IOM and other participating states and agencies seem to consider themselves discharged from the responsibility for the returnee’s well-being.

Many people signing up for the AVRR programme experience nothing close to a “safe and dignified” return. Before their return, they are treated as badly as deportees: transported in handcuffs, held in detention and affected by violence in the pre-removal centers. Back in their home countries, many returnees are again exposed to detention, exploitation and the persecution they fled from seeking safety and a decent life in Europe.”

Powerful piece from comrades at HarekAct border-monitoring, on the realities of the EU’s so-called “voluntary” returns programme.

VIOLENT CLASHES AND POLICE CRACKDOWN IN MORIA

From Tuesday to Thursday this week there were once again violent clashes erupting between different groups inside of Moria camp. According to local news 15 people needed treatment in the hospital. As far as we know at least some of them were innocent bystanders. Furthermore several tents burned, leaving innocent people without shelter. We are still waiting for news if the injured will recover. The rumors that three people died in the hospital is not officially confirmed nor denied yet.

A huge police raid on Thursday followed this violence. Riot cops swarmed the camp and arrested several dozens people. Targeted were refugees with the second rejection on their asylum claim. Many arrested were brought to prison. We condemn this police action and we expect and fear that many will be held in prison until being forcefully deported back to into a horrible Turkish detention center.

It is time that the government takes responsibility. They create the conditions that fuel the recurring violence that every time endangers innocent people and gets families, children and other bystanders injured.

It is time to open the islands.

Stop deportations and freedom of movement for all!

Refugee in wheelchair deported to Turkey

On Thursday December 14th 8 people were deported back to Turkey under EU-Turkey-Deal. Among them was one man in a wheelchair. Only two weeks ago another severly sick refugee that could not even walk by himself was forcefully deported back to Turkey, and prior to that two families with small children.
Maybe the deportation of the person in the wheelchair was legal. Maybe it could not have been stopped. But if it was legal is not the only question we need to ask ourselves.
The question we need to ask is HOW can it be legal?
How can obviously vulnerable refugees be sent back to an obviously unsafe country?
How will they be able to access decent medical care in a cramped and unhygienic detention center in Turkey?
What future will they have?
How did it happen that the EU politics and laws are so corrupt and inhuman that they allow the most vulnerable people to be sent to places where they will definitely NOT get the care they need and decent live that they deserve?

Stop deportations NOW!
Freedom of Movement for All!

Support our crowdfunding!

Our crowdfunding is now live at https://www.youcaring.com/refugeesonlesvosgreece-1045272

Please share!

No Border Kitchen Lesvos currently supports 450 refugees to cook and subsist autonomously, at a regular cost of 20€ per person per month. We are a self-organized group of activists with and without papers from all over the world, with the shared aim of overcoming the borders and restrictions that impede freedom of movement. We fight together for a world where we all recognized equally as humans. Our project is entirely volunteer run and we do not receive any regular funding. In two weeks our bank account will run empty and we will need your support to continue our work!

Why we are needed

Since the closure of the European borders in 2015, the situation on Lesvos has been deteriorating. The official camp Moria is with nearly 7000 inhabitants more than three times over its capacity. Solely in the last three months, 8000 people arrived by boat to Lesvos. Basic necessities are scarce and people’s basic needs for shelter, clothing and food are not met from the official structures. The quality and quantity of the food in the official camp is absolutely insufficient. Some people have been forced to live in the official camp in this horrible conditions for 20 months now. That’s where we step in, unbureaucratically filling some of the gaps the rotten European asylum system creates.

What we need the money for

Food provision is by far the area in which we spend the majority of our money. Every month we support more than 300 people with food boxes which enable them to live and cook autonomously at a cost of 3,60 € per person per week. For most, our support allows them to live outside the miserable, state-run camp, and making their homes in their own flats and squats instead. The demand for the boxes is huge and we currently have a long waiting list. We always hope to be able to support more people in future, but even continuing to support those we already provide for demands more funds than we currently have!

For the people we cannot currently support with food boxes, and for those who don’t have cooking facilities, we also organise a daily distribution of hot food of 200 meals a day with a cost of 0,30 € per meal. This is also important as an opportunity for meeting each other and chatting over a nice cup of rice and salad, and building networks of solidarity on the island.

To make all of this happen we buy monthly 1000kg potatoes, 600kg onions, 640kg tomatoes, 800kg vegetables, 1000kg rice, 500kg pulses, 1000kg of flour, 500kg sugar, 600l of oil, 80kg of tea, 80kg of coffee and 40kg of salt, plus spices and toiletries.

Delivering food boxes and meals involves a lot of driving which means we spend a lot of money on fuel, car repairs etc. At the moment we are also readying the kitchen for winter and so urgently need to buy building materials.

If you cannot donate yourself, you could help us by spreading the info about NoBorderKitchen and sharing this crowdfunder on Facebook and twitter!

Follow our Facebook (“No Border Kitchen Lesvos”) and our Twitter (“@noborderkitchen”) for information for updates on the work your support will enable.

14 protesters detained and in danger of deportation for putting imaginary tents on saphous square

14 protesters are still detained at the pre-removal center in Moria camp. Only two people were released. Among the 14 detainees there is one cancer patient and one suffering from epilepsy. We are very worried that their health will deteriorate if they are not immediately released and can access sufficient medical care outside of the prison.

All of the 14 arrested protesters are North-Africans and therefore subjected to an accelerated asylum procedure. We expect that they will be detained for the entire course of their procedure and then deported. This accelerated procedure is very biased and does not guarantee that each persons case is considered properly. All of them will most likely be rejected on the prejudice that all North-Africans are “economic migrants” and do not deserve international protection.

In the last days IOM staff has been visiting the people in prison and pressured them to sign for so called “voluntary return”. The choice they are given by IOM is barely a choice though. Either they sign, spend months in prison and will be deported….or they do not sign, spend months in prison and will be deported.

What is most outrageous about all of this is that their arrest itself was based on a lie. They are charged with illegally occupying saphous square by putting tents. Just… there were NO TENTS! We are at the moment collecting evidence that can prove that the accuse is simply wrong.
Will it change anything? Probably not. Even though the protesters arrest is based on a lie, we do not expect them to be released from detention. In the end, on Lesvos, the law is not respected. Human rights are not respected. The only thing that seems to count is to get as many people as possible deported as fast as possible.

We demand the release of the remaining 14 protesters.
We demand that the two sick people can access sufficiant health care outside of the prison immediately.
We demand that the charge of illegally occupying the square is dropped.

We demand freedom of movement and a life in dignity for all!

Nigerian man deported despite serious health condition on November 30th

Two brothers from Nigeria who made the deadly crossing from Turkey to Lesvos in a rubber dinghy were immediately detained in the pre-removal prison inside the so-called “Hotspot camp”, Moria. For almost three months they were isolated from society, adequate legal assistance or support structures. All refugees from countries with less than 33% acceptance rate (which are more than 28 countries including Syrian single men) can currently be detained immediately after their arrival on Lesvos, for the entire duration of their asylum procedure. While the two brothers were held in detention, their asylum application was rejected twice under the fast-track border procedure implemented on the Greek islands since the EU-Turkey statement of March 18th 2016. It has been repeatedly pointed out by the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights and lawyers such as those from the Legal Centre Lesbos that the fast-track procedure tramples roughshod over human rights. In practice, individuals are targeted because of their nationality and stripped of their legal right to a fair and proper asylum hearing.

Together with eight fellow detainees, the two brothers were deported back to Turkey on November 30th by ferry from Mytilene. They only experienced Europe from behind the barbed wire and blank walls of a detention centre, guarded by policemen subject to a constant feeling of isolation and suffering inhuman treatment.

“The conditions in the closed Section B of Moria Centre [are] particularly poor and could be considered as inhuman and degrading,” one Council of Europe researcher reported.

Inmates are stripped of their personal possessions, denied blankets and often live among flooded sewage. Some can only be seen by a doctor at the discretion of the prison guards.

Thanks to these conditions and a lack of medical support, one of the brothers got seriously sick. A video of his deportation shows that he was not even able to walk on his own when he was brought handcuffed on the ferry. Obviously, this condition was no reason for FRONTEX and the Police to postpone his deportation – as we have seen in several similar incidents across recent months.

In Turkey, the two brothers will be detained in prison for an unknown period of time under even more inhumane conditions. By law they can be detained up to one year. Experiencing racism as a person of colour will be a cruel inevitability. One brother said: “It’s even better to be in prison in Greece, then to go back to Turkey.”

Many of the people who are deported from Greece to Turkey will, after the detention period, eventually be deported once again to home countries that they fled due to persecution in the first place.. The story of the two brothers is just one example out of thousands, as people flee suffering only to face the brutal detention and deportation politics of this so-called bastion of human rights, the European Union.