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The Devastating Refugee Crisis On Greek Islands

by , The Huffington Post, 07/17/2015

Every night, some 1,000 refugees arrive 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.

Across Europe, Police Stalking, Brutalizing, Jailing Migrants

Amid Racist Raids&Police Violence Against Poor Migrants, Thousands Protest Fortress Europe’s Concentration Camps
10/19/2014

Greece: Farmer shoots 30 unpaid Bangladeshi migrant workers when they demand pay

Greece farm shooting: 30 injured in pay dispute
BBC, 18 April 2013

Migrants are employed to pick strawberries in Nea Manolada

Migrants are employed to pick strawberries in Nea Manolada, a Peloponnesian village in souther Greece.

 

About 30 migrant workers have been injured in a shooting on a strawberry farm in Greece after requesting salaries that had not been paid.

The migrants – mainly from Bangladesh – were shot at by at least one farm supervisor, in a Peloponnesian village in southern Greece.

Several of the workers have been taken to hospital but none are in a critical condition.

The owner of the farm in Nea Manolada and one foreman have been arrested.

Nea Manolada, about 260km (160 miles) west of Athens, is an area where thousands of migrant workers are employed.

Around 200 workers had gathered to request their unpaid salaries when at least one farm supervisor opened fire, reports the BBC’s Mark Lowen.

Police Captain Haralambos Sfetsos told the AP news agency that the workers had “moved threateningly” towards foremen when the shots were taken.

In addition to the two men already arrested, warrants for two further arrests have been issued.

‘Blood strawberries’

Nea Manolada has previously been in the spotlight over exploitation of migrants.

In 2008 workers staged a strike against inhumane conditions. There have also been reports of previous attacks.

A social media campaign has now been launched to boycott the fruit from Nea Manolada, calling them “blood strawberries”.

The Council of Europe – the main European human rights watchdog – issued a report this week detailing abuse against migrants in Greece.

The report warned of a growing wave of racist violence, stating that “democracy is at risk”. It highlighted the role of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party.

Greece’s neo-Nazi Golden Dawn goes global with political ambitions

[Specializing on drawing from the resentment and powerlessness of Greek people suffering from the deepest crisis in memory — and directing that resentment at migrants — the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn movement is encouraged by the Greek bourgeoisie and reactionaries, to deflect blame from themselves, and to get one section of the people, drenched in xenophobic hysteria, to attack suffering migrant workers.  That they are increasingly shown to be directly connected with the police, only emphasizes that there is no bourgeois solution to such fascist forces, who will have to face justice from the people, not the state. — Frontlines ed.]

Golden Dawn party infiltrates Greece’s police, claims senior officer

Buoyed by its meteoric domestic success, the far right party is planning to expand ‘wherever there are Greeks’

in Athens

The Guardian, Monday 1 April 2013

Emboldened by its meteoric rise in Greece, the far-right Golden Dawn party is spreading its tentacles abroad, amid fears it is acting on its pledge to “create cells in every corner of the world”. The extremist group, which forged links with British neo-Nazis when it was founded in the 1980s, has begun opening offices in Germany, Australia, Canada and the US.

The international push follows successive polls that show Golden Dawn entrenching its position as Greece’s third, and fastest growing, political force. First catapulted into parliament with 18 MPs last year, the ultra-nationalists captured 11.5% support in a recent survey conducted by polling company Public Issue.

The group – whose logo resembles the swastika and whose members are prone to give Nazi salutes – has gone from strength to strength, promoting itself as the only force willing to take on the “rotten establishment”. Amid rumours of backing from wealthy shipowners, it has succeeded in opening party offices across Greece.

It is also concentrating on spreading internationally, with news last month that it had opened an office in Germany and planned to set up branches in Australia. The party’s spokesman, Ilias Kasidiaris, said it had decided to establish cells “wherever there are Greeks”. Continue reading

Greece: Crisis-driven scapegoating, explosive growth of migrant detention

[In a mounting wave of xenophobia and fascist gangs pressing amateurish ethnic cleansing attacks,  officials are rounding up thousands of migrants.  Here, the most recent sweeps of hundreds more. — Frontlines ed.]
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More than 400 migrants detained in latest sweep

The latest police sweep of undocumented immigrants in the capital led to 404 arrests, police said on Friday.

Authorities said six of the detainees were arrested because they were not in possession of the proper residence papers.

The sweep on Thursday included a search of four properties and was carried out as part of an ongoing crackdown on illegal immigration which has been code-named Xenios Zeus.

According to the police, 54,086 migrants have been briefly detained since the start of the sweep operation. Of these 3,994 were charged with being in the country illegally.

Source:  ekathimerini.com

Anti-Austerity Strikes: Protests Grip Europe

Anti-Austerity Strikes: Protests Grip Europe

Anti-austerity protests and strikes

Activists battle with police during violent clashes in Lisbon, as protests against austerity sweep across Europe.

10:21pm UK, Wednesday 14 November 2012
Lisbon

Video: Protests Across Europe Against Austerity

Enlarge

General strike

Rome is being brought to a standstill as anti-austerity protesters take on riot police in the streets.

A wave of anti-austerity anger is sweeping across Europe with general strikes in Spain and Portugal and walkouts in Greece and Italy – grounding flights, closing schools and shutting down transport.

Millions of workers have been taking part in the dozens of co-ordinated protests in a so-called European Day of Action and Solidarity against spending cuts and tax hikes. Continue reading

Athens, Greece: Racist police operation in the city center

[The world-wide economic crisis has brought extreme repression and mass suffering to every region. Often, mass unemployment is coupled with intensified exploitation in slave-like conditions of migrants, who also face attacks by racist, xenophobic gangs.  The following statement, from the Communist Party of Greece (Marxist-Leninist), speaks to the recent attacks on migrants in Athens, Greece.  It is posted here in an unofficial English translation. — Frontlines ed.]

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from  Αντίσταση στις γειτονιές  (Neighborhood Resistance website), August 6, 2012

The recent anti-immigrant operation to remove migrants revealed the racist crimes of the government.

By order of the Prime Minister Samaras, police entered homes, stopped and seized all immigrants of color. According to figures given, Saturday, August 4 of the 4900 arrests made, the arrests of 1130 were charged with “illegal residence” in the country.

Minister Dendias arrogantly explained the pogrom as a measure to safeguard the human rights of migrants. On the other hand it is a clear intention of the government to distract the masses from the real cause of their problems, as reflected in his speech in parliament in which Dendias characterizes the immigrant as the ‘biggest problem of the economy.” He promotes nationalist delusions of the baptism of the Golden Dawn, claiming that immigrants and immigrant invaders “challenge national well-being” — which if not addressed “threatens the complete deterioration of society”!

The brutality against immigrants complements the profile of unpopular government so far has shown clearly that the policy towards the people when he fights against real enemies, they will be enforcing the “legitimacy” of terrorism and repression. Migrant workers as any worker, generate wealth and jobs. Migrants are not “a drain or danger” but instead contribute to the economy. Which they need to cruelly exploit — and now condemn as most “dangerous” for the country. But, in fact, it is capital and imperialism that endangers the people and the country.

It is the duty of all leftists, democrats and all conscious workers of the country to condemn the racist pogroms and atrocities against immigrants, the most oppressed part of the working class. And simultaneously expose the bourgeoisie as the real enemies of the people and workers.

Crisis breeds xenophobia in Greece as nationalists gain clout


Jul 11, 2012 by RussiaToday

Greece is in turmoil. Violent clashes have shaken the city of Agrinio in the west. Supporters of the far-right Golden Dawn party fought with anarchists, leaving cars and shop windows smashed, and one person injured. Golden Dawn’s influence is rising. It gained around 7 per cent of the vote in the recent general election. RT’s Jacob Greaves takes a look at xenophobia in today’s Greece.

Al Jazeera: African migrants in Europe speak out

Migrants all over Europe fight for their rights and try to improve their situation.
20 Sep 2011

What to do when you are mistreated as an African immigrant in Europe?

Hip hop artist K-Nel presents reports about migrants all over Europe who fight for their rights and try to improve their living conditions.

Sissoko Azoumane from Mali is the spokesman for a protest movement in Paris, that fights for papers for the undocumented migrants who have been living in France for years, contributing to the French economy. But a new law has eroded all of their hopes for papers.

Sorious Samura checks out how some migrants even clone identities in order to try to get a job.

Wahabou from Senegal survived a devastating fire that killed 20 people in an apartment where migrants were housed, and decides to do something about fire safety in Parisian buildings.

In Brescia, Italy, Africans unite to improve housing conditions when they get evicted as a result of anti-immigration sentiments.

In Greece, austerity kindles deep discontent

[The continuing–and deepening–of the worldwide crisis of the imperialist system continues to elude  management and control by the imperialist’s economic and political strategists and managers.  Their intelligentsia and their mass media continue to portray the crisis as one of failed policies–and not as a crisis of capitalism.  The Washington Post–a major “liberal” media operation in service of US hegemony–has turned attention, once again, to the situation in Greece, which continues to unravel in both economic and political terms.  Their “analysis” of the  root causes and growth factors of the Greek (and European) anarchist movements ends up with some insights, but conclusions no deeper than the “wag of the finger, tip of the hat” of comedic lore. — Frontlines ed.]

By Anthony Faiola

Washington Post, May 13, 2011

"Measures meant to shore up the country’s finances have sparked protests that go beyond the bounds of normal civil disobedience and reinvigorated the anarchist movement." (Washington Post caption)

Athens — Already struggling to avoid a debt default that could seal Greece’s fate as a financial pariah, this Mediterranean nation is also scrambling to contain another threat — a breakdown in the rule of law.

Thousands have joined an “I Won’t Pay” movement, refusing to cover highway tolls, bus fares, even fees at public hospitals. To block a landfill project, an entire town south of Athens has risen up against the government, burning earth-moving equipment and destroying part of a main access road.

The protests are an emblem of social discontent spreading across Europe in response to a new age of austerity. At a time when the United States is just beginning to consider deep spending cuts, countries such as Greece are coping with a fallout that has extended well beyond ordinary civil disobedience. Continue reading

Background: the Mass Resistance movement in Keratea-Lavreotiki, Greece

Indymedia (Greece)

Keratea is a town of 16,000 residents in Lavreotiki municipality, situated in southeastern Attica, 40km from Athens, near Lavrion. The site has an ancient history that has left many remains, an amphitheatre, parts of the ancient fortification, etc. As many parts of Attica, it has also a strong Arbanitic tradition, which highlights values such as extended family solidarity and social cohesion against a usually alienated authority, as well as a sense of pride and putting head to a cause. Most residents are small farmers (wine, olives, etc.), workers and/or unemployed, retired. During the last decade, after the construction of the international airport at Spata (2001), and also Lavrion and Rafina ports development to unburden Piraeus’ heavy traffic, eastern Attica suffered a sort of gentrification with Athens recreational, touristic and construction firms moving eastern (this movement can be tracked by almost annual forest fires, taking care of what’s left of Attica’s ‘unexploited’ space). Of course, infrastructure and any kind of social services (even proper sewage systems) remain significantly inadequate. The suggested creation of a huge open dump would be the top of the iceberg – or the mountain of garbage – to the complete subjugation of the territory and its people to private profit, as a dangerous and typically illegal ‘solution’ to the garbage disposal problem of all Attica is proclaimed against the will of those that will have to suffer it, and once they make clear their disagreement, they are violently repressed. No time for the old days’ ‘negotiations’ in the socialist government’s ‘fast track’ capitalism. The issue of dump constructions and garbage disposal in general has given birth to diverse militant struggles held in different parts of Greece these last years, with most significant the ones in Grammatikon (northern Attica), Neraida-Serres, Varnavas, Naxos island, Karvounari, Elliniko-Ioannina, and of course Leukimmi, Corfu, where a small village manages to block the construction works and confront the police by all means for three years now, having one woman dead to the police violence, and many facing charges.

On Saturday, 11 December, at dawn, residents of Keratea resisted against riot police’s and the prosecutor’s attempts to break their defense in order to establish landfill construction machines in the area (at a place sited since 2003). The residents clashed with police squads by stone throwing, slingshots, melee, barricades and Molotov cocktails. For the first time the cops responded with blasts from water cannon, against the protesters. Continue reading

Greek police clash with protesters opposing new garbage dump near Athens

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A car driver reverses his vehicle, after protesters blocked the road with rubble, in the town of Keratea, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) southeast of Athens, Tuesday, March 29, 2011. Authorities say new clashes have broken out in the town near the Greek capital between riot police and residents protesting plans for a rubbish dump in the area. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)By The Associated Press

ATHENS, Greece (AP)— Riot police fired repeated volleys of tear gas Tuesday to push back firebomb-wielding residents of a town near the Greek capital in the latest violence over plans for a garbage dump in the area.

The extensive clashes in Keratea, some 40 kilometres (25 miles) south of Athens, began Tuesday morning, when protesters set fire to a bulldozer sent to clear roads they had blocked for more than a day with rubble.

In pitched battles fought across rural roads and in fields on the outskirts of the town, hooded and masked protesters hurled rocks and dozens of firebombs at lines of riot police as evening fell, and threatened the few journalists covering the violence.

Police said four officers were injured in the clashes. Authorities called in bulldozers to clear road blocks set up by the protesters.

The clashes in Keratea were the latest in a series of violent demonstrations against the plans to set up a dump in the area.

Keratea residents have been involved in running clashes with riot police for much of the past three months, arguing the dump will degrade their area and damage local antiquities.

Greece: 98 Migrants Hospitalized During 39 Days of Hunger Strike

Mar 2, 2011

This is a video about an ongoing migrant hunger strike taking place in Greece. 300 people, mainly from North Africa, are on their 39th day of holding a hunger strike in a push for the legalization of all Greek migrants, but the Greek authorities are yet to budge. As of this writing at least 98 hunger strikers have been hospitalized in Athens and Thessaloniki, and strikers have pledged to die for their cause.

Greece: 59 migrants on hunger strike hospitalised


Το τραγούδι του μετανάστη – Song for the 300 hunger strikers in Greece

Feb 25, 2011
solidarity is our We@pon
download the file and open it at 2nd march 2011:
http://ecd-hungerstrike.blogspot.com/
write a protest e-mail to the greek authorities:
http://hungerstrike300.espivblogs.net…

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02-Mar
An immigrant on hunger strike is transferred to an ambulance in Athens (Reuters)

By Nicolas Paphitis

In the opulent settings of a central Athens mansion, more than 200 North African immigrants are slowly starving themselves to death in a bid to secure legal residence – the latest headache for debt-crippled Greece’s governing Socialists.

By late Tuesday, the 36th day of the hunger strike, 59 of the men had been hospitalised with kidney, heart and other problems. Doctors say several more will require treatment very soon as dozens have stopped taking liquids.

“We keep seeing more people who need to be taken to hospital,” said Thanassis Karabelis, a doctor monitoring the protest. “The strikers’ lives are in danger, and they could end up with permanent disabilities.”

Another 50 men are holding a similar protest in the northern port city of Thessaloniki, where 14 of them have been hospitalised. Continue reading

Greece: Another 20 hunger striking migrants in hospital after 35th day of protest


One of the 20 hunger striking immigrants who were taken to hospital on Sunday is covered by paramedics in a thermal blanket.

Another 20 immigrants from the group of 237 that have been on hunger strike in Athens since last month were taken to the hospital over the weekend after showing signs of extreme exhaustion.

Supporters of the hunger strike, which entered its 35th day yesterday, said that some of the protesters had even stopped accepting fluids to drink. Four members of the group were taken to the hospital last week.

“They won’t even drink water and the doctors that are watching them fear that there will be more members of the group in a state that will require hospital treatment,” said Petros Yiotis, a member of the Solidarity Initiative, which has backed the protest since it began at Athens University’s Law School and then moved to a listed building in the city center.

The migrants had only been drinking water and sugar for the last 35 days in an effort to put pressure on the government to renew their residence permits. Most of the protesters had been working in Greece legally but were unable to renew their permits because of a shortage of social security credits as a result of work drying up. Continue reading