Every night, some 1,000 refugeesarrive at the Greek island of Lesbos, many cramped on rubber dingys carrying 35 to 45 people each. More than half of them fled Syria, others left violence-torn Afghanistan and Iraq.
After making it safely onto Lesbos’ shores, for many refugees, a harsh reality check awaits. The number of migrants arriving on the Greek island in hopes of finding safety and a better life in the European Union has risen dramatically in the past year, but the island lacks the resources to accommodate them properly.
A migrant family rests in the Kara Tepe transit camp in Lesbos, Greece.
New migrants usually arrive on the island’s northern shore and need to make their way 40 miles south to the transit camps, where they stay up to ten days before moving to a detention center to be registered. Some of the transit camps, however, lack adequate water or sanitation facilities as well as organized garbage collection, Kirk Day of the International Rescue Committee told The Huffington Post in an email. He added that the sites’ residents are exposed to communicable diseases and injury infections. Some migrants arrive with diarrhea, deep cuts or open wounds that are left untreated in the camps. Those in need of medicines for heart problems and diabetes often have to wait for supplies.
Faced with a crippling economic crisis, Greece’s government in Athens has been unable to provide the migrants on the island with the necessary assistance and the United Nations has urged other countries of the European Union to step in. In the meantime, it is often left to local residents, activists and aid organizations to fill the gap.
AntiGoldGr Based on an article by Stavroula Poulimeni on Alterthess.gr Photos by @lolosmarios and @dromografos AntiGoldGr – Once more a demonstration against Eldorado Gold’s Skouries mine in Halkidiki was met with tons of teargas by the riot police. More than 1.500 demonstrators of all ages marched to the location where Eldorado’s subsidiary, Hellas Gold, is developing a huge open-pit gold and copper mine right in the middle of what used to be a pristine forest. Approximately 180 hectares of forest have so far been cleared in order to make way for the mine, a processing plant and two monstrous tailings dams. For the past three years, the local people and the broader solidarity movement resisting the mine have faced extreme repression and penalization of their struggle. More than 300 residents of the area are facing criminal charges related to their efforts to preserve the mountain, the environment and the health of their communities.
The protest started around noon and the demonstrators took the police by surprise as they found the gate open and managed to enter the plant construction site. Within moments they were attacked by the riot police with teargas and flash-bang grenades.
The demonstrators were pushed outside and the gate was closed but the police started chasing them in the forest, firing massive amounts of teargas directly at them. But the people were determined not to leave and they managed to stay there for three hours, chanting slogans and encouraging each other as teargas canisters were dropping on their heads. The whole area was covered in a white cloud of teargas. Several protestors suffered respiratory problems and one had to be taken to the hospital. Even under these conditions, the demonstrators did not lose their sense of humour and they offered bottles of water to the riot policemen with the sign “Do not beat us. We brought you water. SOS HALKIDIKI”.
This was the first big protest after a while and it proved that the anti- gold mining movement remains strong and determined to oust Eldorado from Halkidiki. According to the press release issued by the people’s Coordinating Committee: “Once more the democratic right to protest was sacrificed on the altar of development.
“No human is illegal”, thousands protest to close down detention center for migrants and refugees in Barcelona. via @Comite1desembre
It’s been almost a week since 20,000 police have started to hunt down poor migrants in Europe, and proofemerge that these raids are racist actions against refugees. Cops invade transportation means or other public place and always check everyone “who isn’t white”, as witnesses report.
Operation Mos Maiorum is indeed a public-funded police operation of stigmatization, racist discrimination, and criminalization of poor migrants. Activists all over Europe are resisting by informing migrants and refugees how to avoid raids, and how to alert others; see below.
Police and state terror against migrants has been again documented in Spain: @PRODEINORG has filmed police clubbing migrants who try to jump Meila border. It is not known how many migrants have been killed by police at this border, but previously proof of these crimes were made public without any stirring any action or response against the killer cops.
[Yet another example of the US’ arrogance of empire, this time among fellow imperialists. Who can doubt that the world political crisis is opening new cracks of suspicion and resentment against the has-been Godfather, among his partners in crime? — Frontlines ed.]
Berlin accuses Washington of cold war tactics over snooping
Reports of NSA snooping on Europe go well beyond previous revelations of electronic spying
Ian Traynor, The Guardian, in Brussels, 30 June 2013
Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger: ‘If the media reports are true, it is reminiscent of the actions of enemies during the cold war’. Photograph: Ole Spata/Corbis
Transatlantic relations plunged at the weekend as Berlin, Brussels and Paris all demanded that Washington account promptly and fully for new disclosures on the scale of the US National Security Agency’s spying on its European allies.
As further details emerged of the huge reach of US electronic snooping on Europe, Berlin accused Washington of treating it like the Soviet Union, “like a cold war enemy”.
The European commission called on the US to clarify allegations that the NSA, operating from Nato headquarters a few miles away in Brussels, had infiltrated secure telephone and computer networks at the venue for EU summits in the Belgian capital. The fresh revelations in the Guardian and allegations in the German publication Der Spiegel triggered outrage in Germany and in the European parliament and threatened to overshadow negotiations on an ambitious transatlantic free-trade pact worth hundreds of billions due to open next week.
The reports of NSA snooping on Europe – and on Germany in particular – went well beyond previous revelations of electronic spying said to be focused on identifying suspected terrorists, extremists and organised criminals.
Der Spiegel reported that it had seen documents and slides from the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden indicating that US agencies bugged the offices of the EU in Washington and at the UN in New York. They are also accused of directing an operation from Nato headquarters in Brussels to infiltrate the telephone and email networks at the EU’s Justus Lipsius building in the Belgian capital, the venue for EU summits and home of the European council.
Citing documents it said it had “partly seen”, the magazine reported that more than five years ago security officers at the EU had noticed several missed calls apparently targeting the remote maintenance system in the building that were traced to NSA offices within the Nato compound in Brussels. Continue reading →
Anti-gold mining protest — Halkidiki, March 25, 2013
More than 3.000 people chanting slogans against Eldorado Gold marched three kilometres from the village of Megali Panagia to the location where the first clash of anti-mining protestors with the riot police took place one year ago. This was the last in a series of powerful demonstrations against gold mining that took place in the last couple of weeks in Alexandroupoli, Komotini and Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city, where an unprecedented 20.000 people chanted “Eldorado Gold go away now!”.
[Photo: Greek activists outside Eldorado’s Vancouver headquarters May 31 / David P. Ball.]
Greek villagers brought their region’s fierce battle against Vancouver-based Eldorado Gold to the firm’s headquarters Friday, marking the end of the activists’ cross-Canada tour opposing open-pit gold mining in their homeland.
Over the past year, a growing conflict in Greece’s Halkidiki region — birthplace of the philosopher Aristotle –has seen thousands of residents blockade roads, raid mine sites, and skirmish with police they say are corrupt and beholden to the company. Another demonstration brought 20,000 protesters to the streets of Thessaloniki.
“Our will will not be curbed,” said Maria Kadoglou, a resident of Ierissos village, Greece. “We will keep on fighting until Eldorado Gold goes away.” Continue reading →
April 19, 2013 — Thousands of pensioners from across Greece flood the capital to demonstrate over cuts to their pensions.
A sea of old age pensioners from across Greece flooded into Athens on Friday (April 19) to protest against pension cuts. Aristides Manikas, protester, said “I have grandchildren, I have great-grandchildren, and I don’t have enough money to buy them candy. It’s embarrassing. I stopped going to the coffee shop. I used to have a glass of wine, I stopped that too. There have been many dictatorships in the past, but none like this one. What’s going to happen to our children.”
Some aided by walking canes and led by a demonstrator on a motorized cart, the elderly marched through the city past the Greek parliament to the Public Administration Ministry, where they were stopped short by police.
The protesters came from cities across the country, saying they have been reduced to poverty by the pension reductions, which are as much as 15 percent.
They have also been hit by new taxes on their homes as part of the reforms, as well as cash for drugs, after the free state social insurance fund suffered medicine shortages. Continue reading →