asks young Hamis Abdalah Ghasmi from Afghanistan on a piece of cardboard that was slipped to our delegation in Fylakio. And indeed, it is the question all migrants in detention in the Evros region have in mind: Why am I being kept here?
Yesterday, i.e. Saturday, the 18th of December 2010, saw a mobilisation from the Greek antiracist movement to the Evros region, where most of the border crossings happened the last months and where many hundreds of migrants are being detained under comparably horrible circumstances as in the infamous prison of Pagani.
Yes, we have arrived on Lesvos island, and we are preparing out first reports, discussing our timetable and meeting with local activists. Expect updates soon.
But right now, we would like to turn your attention to Australia, where more than 80 Afghan refugees whose asylum claim had been rejected and who were detained in a privately run detention centre in Darwin have broken free and staged a protest in order to halt their deportation. They have now been arrested and are being taken to another detention centre.
Immigration Department spokesman Sandi Logan earlier said the men had broken through two electrified fences – an interior fence and a perimeter fence, both carrying 11,000 volts – at about 6.30 this morning.
Followups: here, here and there generally seem to be tensions at Darwin detention centre: Indonesian fisherman who are charged with people smuggling and face a 20-year prison sentence have been rioting.
We send our solidarity to all those imprisoned in Australian detention centre! Freedom! Azadi!
Athens, 25th of October 2009 | Reflections on Lesvos two months after Noborder:
Hello, my name is Milad. I am 17 years old. I was for 23 days imprisoned in Pagani in Mitilini and first I want to define how was the situation inside this prison and how was the behaviour of police and doctors with us.
Some guys were sick for weeks, they were calling for a doctor, but nobody was ready to listen to our voices. There was no treatment for sick persons and the drinking water had a bad smell. If we asked for a doctor, for clean water or anything, mostly nobody was even listening.
They also did not have a good behaviour to the families with the small kids. One day I saw the kids had their ten minutes time to go out. They were playing football and one policeman was beating a small kid, he was about 8 years old, his mother was crying. Continue reading ‘“We really didn’t feel like refugees!”’
It was the last night of Pagani when a group of imprisoned refugees started singing again.
The conditions inside had changed within the last days. Police had slowly given up to control the situation, they just locked the people inside and stayed outside. Since the doors were broken the refugees could move inside the yard and to all the cells. Some of the cells were burned, each revolt inside had left it’s signs on the building. It looked as if the building was breathing its final breath. Burned mattress were just thrown in front of the door. The yard was used to play football in these last days. And there was the singing in the night.
The final night in Pagani on Friday turned into a real party-night. It began with question that would not sound crazy in any other place: “Do you need anything? I will just go, shopping.” Although he
didn’t belief it, our friend who was narrating about the party gave five Euro (“because it sounded crazy enough for me”). The guy jumped over the fence and came back with cigarettes, whiskey and beer. They started drinking and telling each other their stories of migration and what they are missing and about their life. “When I told my story it was so and I started crying myself about it.” When the beer was finished they wanted some more and so the guy jumped again. The police came to him and said he can not leave. “But I have to go shopping!” he said to them. “If you don’t want me to go I can make a list with our needs and you go get it for us.” Obviously the policemen didn’t want to go and said to him: “Okay go, but you have to return, you know!” He went himself and returned again with more beers. A real party started with a lot of songs in various languages. A lot of sad songs about the things people left behind – but also dancing and the hope to go further.
In the next morning there the first deportation from newcomers to Xios took place. It happened silent. They brought one bus with families a second one with men and boys and in the last minute a smaller one to the harbour of Mytilini. All in all about 50 people were brought to the detention camp in Xios.
A lot of things to be done to stop these deportations to another prison, to prevent the old Pagani-building to be renewed and reopened — and to fight for open centres and of course papers for everyone!!!.
Maybe, Pagani could be used as a memorial place.
The ferry that was supposed to leave Mytilini on Sunday at 6:00 pm could not go because of the weather. Today, three days and two nights later, the ship with the released people has left the harbour of Mytilini.
Pagani is abandoned – looking ancient already.
As it was to suspect yesterday, the detention centre of Pagani became the ghost town of today. Pagani is know empty, except of four refugees. It is not clear jet what will happen with them.
Today they released five buses from pagani. When the buses left eight people remained in Pagani, a family with four members was released short after the others. Now, there are still four single men inside. One of them a unaccompanied minor, the other on is Abdul Hadi Otman Zahi. He has a red card and lives in Mytilini. A few days ago he was controlled by the Police who take his red card away and brought him to Pagani.
The released refugees are in the harbor of Mytilini right now. The ferry to Athens was supposed to leave at six o’clock to day. Because of the stormy weather it will not leave before midnight. Anyway, the atmosphere in the harbor is cheerful. Every one got a ticket and there is enough food for all.
Demonstration in Mytilini, against the detention centres was completed successfully. It was formed by about 250 persons (a number quite good for the local conditions), from different political waves, but also together with some migrants that had been freed from Pagani some days ago. There was a quite good spirit throughout the demo with slogans being yelled all the time, and posters being put around the walls of Mytilini. After wards, a number of comrades carried out the occupation of a university building to shelter 25 refugees that had been left in the city, and were not able to carry on their journey, because the next ferry leaves tomorrow evening. At the same time we have the chance to exchange our experiences and beliefs.
Right now there is a plenary taking place at the occupation.
The prefecture announces the release of the last 130 refugees from the detention centre of Pagani for tomorrow. The newspapers report that it might be renovated from Monday on but leave also the option that it might be closed down forever. Temporarily new arriving refugees will be temporarily hosted in the hotel Zaire until their transfer to the detention centre of Chios island. The revolts of the detained refugees and their constant pressure together with the constant support from antiracist groups resulted in a small success. The short term aim is to keep this detention centre closed, while the real success roots in a future without detention centres!
Another day is passing by. In Pagani, the same proscedure as avery day. People inside are waitng, waiting for their release and to continue their lifes.
While cloth donation were distributed, everybody became very excited. People started scrapping for a shoe, a short or a trouser. Local television journalists cover the chaotic philanthropy. A young man behind the bars seems disappointed:
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!