Archive for the 'hungerstrike300' Category

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The hunger strikers are in danger

On the response by the Greek government to the demands of the hunger strikers:

A “compassionate” politician turns cynical prime-minister, while his government ignores even the EU legislation it uses as a pretext to deny migrants’ regularization

1. THE SITUATION OF THE HUNGER STRIKERS ON FEBRUARY 24, 2011
The 300 migrant workers have been abstaining from food for 31 days now, since the 25th of January. In Athens and Thessaloniki, we witness fainting episodes all the time, everyday, all day long. More and more often, the situation of some becomes extremely critical, and the strikers are taken to public hospitals.

Big young men, who for years have worked on farms and on building sites all over Greece, fathers and husbands, are now weighing 44 and 45 kilograms. They can hardly stand up. Three days ago already, the medical health team, who has been on the side of the hunger strikers from day one, spoke clearly: The strikers “have entered a phase where they are facing irreversible damage to their health”. They are in danger. In common terminology, that means that their vital organs will be harmed irreversibly, their memory and eyesight will be seriously under threat.

2. THE HUNGER STRIKERS’ SPECIFIC DEMANDS

And why are they risking their lives? Is it because the 300 migrant workers somehow decided that they don’t fancy Greek souvlaki any more? No, they are putting their own lives in danger because they have repeated their arguments one too many times. After years of being derided and reproached, after years of working for no pay, after years of torture, incarceration, beatings and humiliation, after years of official non-existence, right now they are asking for a very specific thing: They are asking for their existence to be recognized. They want legalization. They say:
Continue reading ‘The hunger strikers are in danger’

[300] Day 31

Today 24th of February is the 31st day of hunger strike for the 300 migrant hunger strikers in Athens and Thessaloniki. Entering in the 5th week of hunger strike, consuming only water, sugar and salt, the health condition of the 300 hunger strikers is becoming very critical. There are approximately 6 persons in hospitals in Athens and about 4 in Thessaloniki. Next week is probably the most important for the migrants’ struggle.

On the political level we have developments which show the political pressure on the greek government, which reacts both in hardening of its public declarations and an attempt to threaten the hunger strikers and the solidarity movement by legal prosecutions -but it also keeps open the possibility of negotiation which can end to an agreement. The mass media after a period of “silence” are returning in an aggressive discourse against the solidarity movement and the migrants in general.

Today minister of interior Ragousis announced publicly a proposal of granting a 6month “tolerance status” to the hunger strikers, and declared also measures for the illigalized migrants of long residence. At the same time he said that any kind of collective regularization is out of question and he accused the “supporters” for the bringing in danger the hunger strikers. Of course the minister proposal cannot be accepted by the hunger strikers who announced 3 days ago their demands:

For us, legalisation is neither a generic nor an abstract slogan. We don’t want proposals to be heard without us. For us legalisation means many and very specific things. Between those, first and foremost:
The issuing – since we are entitled to it – of a proper residence and labor permit to us, the 300 hunger strikers, who demand what should be a given for everyone by putting our lives on the line

As well as:

  • that residence permits are no longer connected to work credits
  • that all who lost their permits because of the above reason are legalised again
  • the vindication of everyone whose application was rejected in 2005, after their application submission had been accepted and after they were forced to pay thousands of euros each
  • the establishment of a permanent and open procedure for complete legalisation, which will process applications constantly
  • the abandonment of any idea of criminalising any of our comrades in solidarity with us, who have been called as suspects of committing criminal acts by the authorities

And many more…

Anyone who wants to seriously engage with our strike and avoid a humanitarian crisis in Greece, should officially and directly contact us and whatever discussion must be focused on meeting the above demands.
Every human is worth a dignified life and labor
The hunger strike shall win!

Athens – Thessaloniki
21-2-2011 / 28th day on hunger strike
The 300 hunger strikers

Continue reading ‘[300] Day 31’

[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!’

another video

New video about the hunger strikers

find another two videos here

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!’

Igoumenitsa Jungle

This video shows under which conditions migrants have to live in Igoumenitsa…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4aWpHu13jWE

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’

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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