Today, Saturday, was the designated Frontex action day in Samos. We scored our first victory in the morning when all coast guard and Frontex ships withdrew from the port, disappearing somewhere. Up to now, they have not returned. The image below shows where they usually park their ships during the day… it is empty. We demilitarised, de-frontexisised Vathy, at least for a day.
In the early afternoon, we started our demonstration along the waterfront. It was themed as a fare-well parade for Frontex, because we just want them to go away and never come back. We had a stop over at Pythagoras square, the main square of the city. We handed out various leaflets in various languages, to inform the people of Samos and the tourists alike what we dislike about Frontex. As you can imagine, we also held speeches.
The next stop was at Hotel Samos, also situated at the waterfront, right opposite where usually the coast guard and Frontex ships are parked. It is in Hotel Samos that the international crews of Frontex stay. On the Italian ship, there is a border guard from Hungary, while on the Dutch speedboat, there is a Lithuanian border guard. This is their form of networking and getting to know each other. So we informed the other guests of Hotel Samos what kind of people they share the hotel with, and encouraged them to seek a discussion with these special guests, so that they might, for once, explain why they participate in the closure of the borders.
On we moved to the building of the coast guard, which has the Frontex box we reported about earlier right in front. Although it looks as if it has not much weight, they didn’t take it away like they did with the boats. However, they thought they would be really clever and simply removed the piece of paper stating that the box is indeed Frontex’ “Samos Island Headquarters”. Well, we had been there before and knew anyway, and since Frontex was not really reaching out to us, we left some messages behind, just to set their image straight. At one point, a coast guard officer came and asked us
please don’t paint
but since we left them alone, they left us alone, too. After some time, we left and concluded the action. Good action which should start the local discussion about whether it is good to have Frontex here. After all, it is the EU border agency which through its practises at the border is making it ever more difficult – indeed deadly – for refugees to reach safety. We are opposed to Frontex not only because of this fact, and today, we stated this opposition clearly.
Frontex is in many places… we are everywhere!