Prologue to the Lesvos Noborder camp

Released Pagani migrants and No Borders activists together drive Frontex away Today in the port of Mitilini, Lesvos a demonstration was held concerning the refugees recently released from the detention centre in Pagani with no means to support themselves. A symbolic blockade took place to show that while holidaymakers come and go freely, many migrants are trapped on Lesvos in a situation of complete destitution. Leaflets (pdf: gr, en) were distributed to hundreds of passing tourists and locals in several languages explaining the situation the migrants are facing.

This action was a reaction to the dismissive release of a group of 38 migrants from the Pagani detention centre on Thurday. The plenary of the Noborder camp decided not only to attempt to meet the basic needs of the migrants by inviting them to come to the noborder camp but also to make their situation visible to the local population and to increase pressure on the local authorities to provide a real solution.

The demonstration finished at an Infopoint circus tent that had been set up simultaneously in the town centre. The Infopoint will remain throughout the week making known the situation to the local and tourist populations and also to act as a place where migrants can come and get basic support and accomodation until space becomes available on one of the ferries to Athens. We won’t let the local authorities ignore their responsibility. Generally when migrants leave the detention camp at Pagani they must leave Greece within 30 days.

Rumanian Frontex ship in Mytilini harbour

As the demonstration passed the Frontex boat moored in the harbour, shouts of “Assassini” (= murderers) forced them to make a retreat, not even having time to pull in their rope which was subsequently ‘liberated’ by some Noborders activists. If a few of us is enough to make them flee maybe over the next week we can expect better things.

Even though the noborder camp has not started yet (we will next Tuesday), we are already fully in action. The situation in Lesvos is so bad that we needed to act immediately. As a first concrete step, we invited the homeless refugees to join us in the noborder camp, but we won’t let the local authorities get away with what they are doing.

Tomorrow, the UNHCR and a high representative of the Health Ministry of Greece (resposible for Pagani) will come to discuss the situation with the local authorities. By squatting the park next to the prefecturate (island government), we will be there even before them and confront them with the reality the local authority will be lying about. This was not the first action of the noborder camp, it was our demonstration of solidarity to the hunger strikers in Pagani that triggered the whole development.

Close down Pagani!
Close down all detention and deportation centres.
Freedom of Movement worldwide!

Here is video of today as well as some photos.

About w2eu

This is the blog of the antiracist network Welcome to Europe. It was formerly known as lesvos09.antira.info.

 

The name Welcome to Europe expresses the discontent and anger we feel when looking at the fatal realities of the European external border: the long documented deaths and suffering have continued for years, and no end is in sight. We stand for a grassroots movement that embraces migration and wants to create a Europe of hospitality.

 

We maintain our focus on the European external border in Greece, but will not limit ourselves to that geographical area. The right of freely roaming the globe has to be fought for everywhere. Join us!

 

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Voices from the Inside of Pagani (2009)

Watch the video