Samos is one of the Greek island off the Turkish coast. At the closest point, you have the feeling you can easily touch the other side if you stretch your arm a little. Not surprisingly, many refugees and migrants attempt to cross the border to the European Union here with small boats.
In 2007, a new detention centre was opened on the hills above the island’s capitol Vathy. Before, migrants were detained right in the city centre, behind the main church and the city hall, in the first floor of an old, run-down building. All those that passed this jail said that the conditions were unimaginable and made many people sick. With funding from the European Union, the new detention centre is nothing like that. It consists of 14 buildings made from metal, most of them are used for the detainees while some are administrative buildings. The whole camp is surrounded by a double barb-wired fence, CCTV cameras as well as loudspeakers are everywhere: bidirectional communication to the advantage of the guards. The camp even has a children’s playground as well as a basketball court. Too bad that there are no basketballs available, so the court is mainly used in summer, when the capacity of the camp does not suffice and newly detained migrants have to sleep there, on the bare ground (like in 2009).
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Today, we are “officially” opening the Noborder Camp Lesvos 2009. Several hundred people have been in the camp yesterday already, and today saw the arrival of scored of new people. We are still debating how many we are now. But we are definitely more than 500.
Although we start today, the people who came earlier to help set up the camp as well as the people from Lesvos have been active for several days already. The hungerstrike of 150 minors in Pagani detention centre sparked a campaign for the immediate closure of the detention centre which led us to establish a permanent infopoint in Mytilini.
Noborder Lesvos ’09 offers a broad programme. With people from all over the world attending and contributing their individual skills and knowledge, we will form a powerful collective to overcome the realities of the european borders. In workshops, we will exchange and learn from each other. Different actions are targeting authorities responsible for death and suffering at the borders and inside detention centres.
In the meanwhile, a detention centre construction site in Netherlands as well as a former deportation prison in Germany went up in flames.
If you couldn’t make it to Lesvos, you can nevertheless be part of Lesvos09. Follow us on this website, our twitter feed or at your local indymedia. Spread the message about noborder, fill gaps in reporting. We might be calling for collective action, so stay alert!
There will also be a camp radio. Locally, you can listen to it at FM105.05. Web stream, we are still working on it.
No border – No nation.
Shut down all detention centres.
Fight Frontex at Work.
Yes! The program of the camp is online. Here is where you can find it.