Archive for the 'Actions' Category

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[300] It is time to ACT NOW!

+++ As hunger strike of 300 approaches day 30, striker are in dire need of transnational support! +++ It is time to ACT NOW! +++ Fax, E-Mail and phone the Greek authorities and demand immediate legalisation NOW +++

I want to be treated as a human being – like the Greeks. When we will get papers, I will not anymore be afraid of police and I can work legally with an insurance. But most of the time I think now: what will happen if the government does not give an answer? (Arqal, hunger striker in Athens)

Since the 25th of January 300 migrants are on a hunger strike in Athens and Thessaloníki. Many of them live in Greece for more than six years. Most have been working in the harvest – all of them under extremely problematic conditions. To be without papers means: no health insurance, unpaid wages, no chance to travel…

They decided to go on a hunger strike, demanding the unconditional legalisation of all migrants in Greece. A big group of hunger strikers came with by ship from Crete. Solidarity groups welcomed the migrants at the port of Piraeus, and then, they altogether moved to an empty building of the university in the centre of Athens. A university building was picked because police is not allowed to enter the university (university asylum) since the end of the military junta, when soldiers entered the polytechnic university by force – but in the case of migrant protesters the university asylum was not respected. As a result of negotiations the hunger strikers moved to a building close to the university.

But until now the government did not move. The hunger strike is at a decisive point. Each day the hunger strikers are getting weaker. Each day brings more dramatic developments. On Friday Hassan, one of the hunger strikers, collapsed during a press conference:

As you well know, today is the 25th day of our hunger strike. So far we have had no response from the Government. No one has spoken. What is the Government waiting for? Is it waiting for us to die?

After speaking these words, Hassan suffered a hypoglycaemic shock and turned unconscious. The incident illustrates the extreme situation of the strikers who have been on an austere hunger strike for more than 25 days now, taking only water, sugar and salt. Eight hunger strikers are in hospital to date (day 26), dozens more face serious health problems. But until now the authorities don’t move to fulfill their demand for legalisation.

We are sending a message to the Prime Minister, who has said that he was a cleaner in Sweden and has experienced racism. It is time to intervene before it’s too late. So that we won’t have any deaths.

The wave of support for the hunger strikers has become enormous: from institutional members, to unions, hundreds of artists and intellectuals, thousands of supporters in Greece and abroad stand in solidarity. But obviously the government needs some more kicking – so now it’s also up to you. It is time to act!

I believe that the resistance of migrants against expulsions, harassments, discriminations and exploitation, struggling for their rights and their existence, is a dramatic human cause of our times. In addition, or rather, inseparably, it represents a crucial element of the popular movement for democracy in Europe, which crosses borders and for that reason elicits a redoubled xenophobia. The solidarity with the migrants must take form not only at a local scale, but at the continental level. (Etienne Balibar)

+++ THIS IS WHAT YOU CAN DO +++

  • Send letters, fax and emails of protest to the Greek ministries of interior, of citizen protection and of health and to your local Greek embassy and consulate! (here you find a contact-list and here a draft for a protest-letter)
  • Help spread the word to media, and send press releases to your local, regional, national and european media. (here you find the press release we sent out)
  • Send copies of your press release and solidarity declarations to: hungerstrike300@espiv.net
  • Pass this message on in your networks and urge other people to act, too

Stream of recent information as always:

Continue reading ‘[300] It is time to ACT NOW!’

The hunger strike at day 21

This is a translation of this blog post in German. Picture Credit: Stroux

Today is day 21 of the hunger strike. This is a report about the last days. Most of the hunger striking migrants arrived from Crete on a ferry 22 days ago, in order to start the hunger strike. There were huge banners on the ferry, announcing the aims and demands of the hunger strike.

Solidarity groups welcomed the migrants at the port of Piraeus, and then, they altogether moved to an empty building of the university in the centre of Athens. A university building was picked because police is not allowed to enter the university (university asylum) since the end of the military junta, when soldiers entered the polytechnic university by force.

Just as the hunger strike had started, political parties and main stream media started a agitating against the strike. The government sued the owner of the ferry, its agents and the captain for the smuggling of illegalised people (“trafficking”). This is a big joke, since ANEK-lines has been doing deportations for the greek government for years. A few days later already, 1.800 persons had denounced themselves publically for having supported refugees as an act of solidarity.

The agitation led to the hunger strikers having to leave the university building after a few days, as the police threatened to enter by force. We had a gun to our head, one of the activists later stated on a press conference. The very night, a substitute place for more than 100 hunger strikers had to be found. After several hours of negotiations with the paolce and with the owner of a nearby, empty villa, a solidarity demonstration brought the hunger strikers to the new place. Since only the first floor and the cellar can be used, the majority of the hunger strikers have to camp in the yard. Heavy rain turned the situation precarious, only on the 5th of February, a change of weather alleviated the situation.

The hunger strikes are being supported, protected and accompanied day and night by solidarity groups. Since the hunger strikers are very adamant about retaining their autonomy, decisions are made in different assemblies, which nevertheless have exchange. The atmosphere is characterised by determination and respect. Many people support the strikers by visiting or practical aid.

On the 8th of February, a lot of migrant organisations from Athens and Greece declared their solidarity with the hunger strikers and their demands in a press conference. The hunger strikers announced that very day that they would now also stop to drink tea.

On the 9th of February, a long live concert with many greek musicians took place on the adjacent square. There were songs, but also speeches by the migrants and statements of solidarity.

On the 11th and 12th of February, two big demonstrations took place in Athens, where 1.500 people participated.

imagine!

Continue reading ‘imagine!’

Call for a Common Day of Action on the 11th of February

Just as we called for a Week of Action in solidarity to the hunger strikers, our friends in Greece put out a similar call for a Day of Action.

On Tuesday 25 of January the historical building of the Law school in Athens that is out of use at the moment- turned to be the place of a fair and democratic struggle; a place, where a lot of social struggles had taken place in the past, had the opportunity to host the struggle of 250 out of the 300 migrants- workers, who are fighting in Athens and Thessaloniki for the unconditional legalization of all migrants. A struggle for equal rights to life, carried out by those who want to be no longer invisible.

From the very beginning the political establishment and media put pressure on the migrants’ hunger strike accusing their struggle as an illegal act; legitimizing in this way the violation of the academic asylum and the forced evacuation of the building.

Continue reading ‘Call for a Common Day of Action on the 11th of February’

Solidarity all over: Common Actions

Also read the Call for a Common Day of Action on the 11th of February

The hunger strike of the 300 has been going on for over a week now. The reactions in Greece are quite strong, a lot of people and organisations have expressed their solidarity with the hunger strikers, however, the state has not been idle either, first attacking the hunger strikers because of their choice of place to hold the strike, then threatening their eviction by force. Now they are also going after the supporters, threatening them with legal action.

It is time that we show our solidarity! We call for a European Week of Solidarity with the hunger strike, from the 7th to the 13th of February. Not only are there Greek consulates and embassies all over, the problem is a European one, so there are plenty of places to go and to protest.

We’ll keep this post updated with actions going on, so please drop us a comment if you plan to do something.

Actions planned so far

Continue reading ‘Solidarity all over: Common Actions’

Performative statement of civil disobedience!

This statement, is an answer to the attempt by the government, to criminalize solidarity with the hunger strikers by saying that “those who are responsible for these processes we will search for with the prosecutor’s intervention and those who participated will be held accountable”.
Below is an email address for you to support this performative statement!

Continue reading ‘Performative statement of civil disobedience!’

Declaration of solidarity with the hunger strikers in Greece – Legalisation and equal rights now – Call for a week of action

The 25th of January is the day on which 300 migrants in Greece started a hunger strike. Their demand is a collective legalisation of all the people excluded from Greek society based on their status – be it asylum seekers, not recognised refugees, illegalised people, exploited migrant labourers. It is not the first hunger strike in Greece where human beings are forced to use such a drastic measure to fight for their rights.

Hunger strikers in Thessaloniki

Hunger strikers in Thessaloniki


Continue reading ‘Declaration of solidarity with the hunger strikers in Greece – Legalisation and equal rights now – Call for a week of action’

[300] Call for Solidarity

On January 25, 300 migrant workers went on hunger strike in Athens and Thessaloniki. Their main demand is to be legalized. At this moment, when the financial crisis has violently erupted and ultra-right political forces have come to the fore, this may sound as a maximalist demand. For this reason, we need to pay attention to their demands so as to create symbolic cracks in the system and achieve political victories.

The political establishment and mainstream media in Greece have already started putting pressure to the migrants’ struggle and to those in solidarity. It is urgent to vow now the broadest support possible!

Below the call for signatures. Those that wish to sign are welcome to send their name and profession in the following address: ypografes.allilegyi.stin.apergia@gmail.com

It is also important that individuals, assemblies, groups and organizations express their support through letters of support, press releases and actions of solidarity.
Continue reading ‘[300] Call for Solidarity’

[300] Hunger strike to start tomorrow

Short Update on the upcoming Hunger Strike for Legalisation in Greece. First of all, there is a new blog that will cover the hunger strike in Greek language: hungerstrike300.espivblogs.net. We will try to get as much content as possible translated on this site. You can follow all updates in this category: hungerstrike300 (rss).

So much for the technicalities. In the meanwhile, about 300 hunger strikers have arrived from Chania, Crete to join the other hunger strikers in Athens and Thessaloniki. Here is a video of their arrival in the port of Patra

The hunger strike will start tomorrow

25th of January 300 migrants will go on hunger strike in Greece

Announcement by the Assembly of Migrant Hunger Strikers

We are migrant men and women from all over Greece. We came here due to poverty, unemployment, wars and dictatorships. The multinational companies and their political servants did not leave another choice for us than risking 10 times our lives to arrive in Europe’s door. The West that is depriving our countries while having much better living conditions is our only chance to live as humans. We came (either with regular entry or not) in Greece and we are working to support ourselves and our families. We live without dignity, in the darkness of illegalness in order to benefit employers and state’s services from the harsh exploitation of our labor. We live from our sweat and with the dream, some day, to have equal rights with our Greek fellow workers.

During the last period our life has become even more unbearable. As salaries and pensions are cut and everything is getting more expensive, the migrants are presented as those to blame, as those whose fault is the abjection and harsh exploitation of greek workers and small businessman. The propaganda of fascist and racist parties and groups is nowadays the official state discourse for issues of migration. The far right discourse is reproduced through media when they talk about us. The “proposals” of the far right are announced as governmental policies: wall in Evros, floating detention centers and European army in the Aegean, repression in the cities, massive deportations. They want to convince greek workers that, all in a sudden, we are a threat to them, that we are to blame for the unprecedented attack from their own governments.

The answer to the lies and the cruelty has to be given now and it will come from us, from migrant men and women. We are going in the front line, with our own lives to stop this injustice. We ask the legalization of all migrant men and women, we ask for equal political and social rights and obligations with greek workers. We ask from our greek fellow workers, from every person suffering from exploitation to stand next to us. We ask them to support our struggle. Not to let the lie, the injustice, the fascism and the autarchy of the political and economic elites to be dominant in their own places too; all these conditions that are dominant in our countries and led us to migrate, us and our children, in order to be able to live with dignity.

We don’t have another way to make our voices heard, to make you learn about our rights. Three hundred (300) of us will start a Hunger Strike in Athens and in Thessaloniki, in the 25th of January. We risk our lives, as, one way or another, this is no life for people with dignity. We prefer to die here rather our children to suffer what we have been through.

January 2011
Assembly of migrant hunger strikers

[Update] There are now blogs of the Hunger Strikers:

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)

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