Tag Archive for 'pagani'

Pagani – Last Good Bye

On Monday we took our exhibition Traces from Lesvos through Europe to Pagani and turned the space where refugees and migrants have been detained and humiliated into a museum – a place that belongs to the past.

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w2eu@lesvos: our programme for the next days

Saturday, 4th of September 2010, Platia Sappho, Mitilini. 6pm
Exhibition Traces from Lesvos through Europe – one year after the noborder camp in Lesvos

Last year during noborder, we met a lot of people that soon continued their way through Europe. With the exhibition, we want to bring the stories of the people back. Where did they go and what happened to them?

Sunday, 5th of September 2010, Skala Sikaminias. 5pm
Installation of a memorial for the drowned refugees of October 2009

On 26.10.2009 next to the coast of Korakas, eight refugees drowned during their attempt to reach Europe. A local fisherman could rescue a baby from one of the families, who had the luck to survive. To remember this great act of solidarity but also all the deaths of fortress europe we will be installing a memorial at the lighthouse at the beach of Korakas outside Skala Sikaminias.

Monday, 6th of September 2010, Pagani, Mitilini. 6pm to 9pm
Temporary museum of migrant struggles against detention camps

We present the exhibition Traces as well as photo- and video-screenings about the continued resistance of refugees and migrants from the inside and about the protests from the outside against the imprisonment of refugees and migrants. The protests led to its official closure in October of last year. Pagani is an abandoned place today, but the traces of the struggles are still alive.

Pagani – Relict of an old system

The migrant prison of Pagani near Mitilini, Lesvos stood at the centre of the activities of last year’s noborder. During the noborder, the refugees imprisoned in Pagani started hunger strikes, while noborders stages actions outside, which together led to a significant number of people being set free immediately. September saw numerous revolts inside Pagani, cells were set on fire and the police ultimately withdrew. Pagani was declared as officially closed at the beginning of October.

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Pagani – Villa Azadi – Dikili

As you can see, this our blog is picking up speed again, and we intend to maintain that speed: A lot of things are happening, and of course we will make a lot of things happen this year again, too. But one after the other. We receive a lot of questions concerning various developments, so we try to follow up. We start with these sites.

Pagani, detention centre/prison
Is Pagani closed or not? This is the question most often asked, and subject of heated debate. We have always stated that Pagani is closed (as not-functioning as a detention centre) and open (as in rather open reception centre). This is not entirely true anymore.

To be very clear: The situation in Pagani is far from what it was last year, and this is still a major success. To date, not more than 30 refugees are detained in Pagani, but at most for a couple of days, until they are being transferred to Xios or Athens. We still need to verify what is happening to them there (white paper? detention? deportation?), so bear with us for the time being. The cells however are never closed, a lot of people sleep in the yard, which however is locked and guarded by the local police. The visible difference is that Frontex has become active in the camp, interrogating detainees (like what is happening in Samos).

What to make of this news? The Greek state clearly has not managed to reverse the situation that was created during and after noborder last year. There are no real detention capacities, a new, human-rights-compatible detention centre has not been built (also due to local popular resistance), it is only the european side of things that is moving forward, intervening, forging ahead.

Villa Azadi, open reception centre for under-age refugees
Some of you might be familiar with Villa Azadi, the open reception centre for under-age refugees near the village Agiassos on Lesvos. It was one of the few efforts on behalf of the greek state to house migrants in need of protection in a good and safe environment.

Villa Azadi is not functioning anymore as of this month. There is no more money, hence no paid staff.

Dikili, Turkish port opposite Lesvos, to become deportation port
The newspaper Ethnos reported on the 5th of July that

[d]uring last week’s meeting of Greek and Turkish officials on irregular migration in Athens, the Turkish side agreed to set out the port of Dikili, about 15 miles off Lesvos island, to serve the readmission of irregular migrants in Turkey. Turkish authorities estimate that the port will start operating within the present month of July.

In May, during a joint cabinet session of the Greek and Turkish governments, an agreement was reached to reinforce the Greek-Turkish Readmission Protocol. Apart from agreeing to process 1.000 readmission requests per year, the Turkish side also agreed to open a port for direct deportations. So far, deportations from Greece to Turkey had to pass the land border at the river Evros/Meriç. So in the case of the islands, all intercepted and to-be-deported migrants had to be transferred to Athens, then on to Thrace, and over the land border. This might change now.

The developments in the Agean are severely lopsided. While Greece and Europe are strengthening their deportation capabilities (Frontex patrols, Frontex interrogators, deportations via sea, the continued use of Pagani), the reform (read: creation) of an asylum system vaguely reminiscent of protection is not moving forward at all, and the few gems like Villa Azadi are being shut down.

Daily arrivals in Mytilini: Dantes Inferno has open doors!

Daily arrivals in Mytilini: Dantes Inferno has open doors! While everybody is waiting for the new asylum law announced to be passed around May 2010, the new season has begun! Almost every day refugees arrive on the island: 11 today (within them a pregnant woman/ 9th month!), 14 yesterday, 30 the day before, depending always on the weather conditions. The new screening center in Outza is under construction despite protests by neighbouring businesses. New arriving refugees are currently being brought to Pagani for one or two days, issued a white paper and released to go to Athens. Probably some are still transferred to Chios island. The doors of Pagani are widely open. No police presence, only food is being brought there. The facilities of the detention center have not changed at all. There is no stuff working there. The facilities of the detention center have not changed at all.
At the same time Frontex is preparing the official opening of their operational office in Piraeus. Officers are already working in the detention centers of Samos and Chios, with additional presence on other islands such as Kos and Rhodes. Within the next two months German officers are expected to arrive in Greece with two helicopters strengthening the Frontex force. Also the Greek coast guard of Mytilini expects enforcement and additional stuff for the coming summer.

“We really didn’t feel like refugees!”

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!”’

Hunger strike in Pagani

We will not eat in a place like here!!

The 30 people in Pagani are angry. Most of them are families with a lot of kids. The people refused the food because of the horrible ambiance. One woman is disgusted about the circumstances inside the “open centre” of Pagani.

Our close are all wet, we have nothing dry to wear. The sheets and beds are used, dirty and hideous. They will not give us fresh sheet our dry clothes. It is ridiculous, they bring us to the hospital to check f we are ll or something but they let us sleep in sheet full of virus and with wet clothes!?

Close down Pagani and every detention centre, now and all about!!!

Out of the frying pan into the fire

News from the “Open Centre” in Pagani:

Today 60 people were n Pagani, all together in one cell. The cells are still open but the atmosphere does not seem very open. The people were transported today at 6:00 pm to the detention centre in Xios, of course accompanied by the police. The refugees have now arrived in Xios. Obviously the end of pagani is only the begnnng. As it seems now the plans are pointing in the direction of a new detention centre will be opening n Lesvos in the one or two years. Until then, Pagani will be used as a open transit centre.

There is only one thing left to say:

  • No Detention Centre! Not n Pagani, not in Xios and nowhere!!!

steigen auf lissos 07
mitilini harbours flags are no more greek

42 new people in pagani

A building collective memory can not be erased through cleaning or repairing the building.

Pagani has been “closed” few days ago. All refugees that where part of the revolts have been free and could leave Mytilini. Probably that was one of the reasons to close Pagani , the hope that all the knowledge about the revolt would disappear together with the refugees. But also buildings have a collective memory.and no repair or cleaning can take away from the walls of Pagani the history of the revolts. the walls will all the time talk to the newcomers and tell them the stories they heard, and they will all remember! 42 neue

40 people spent night in Pagani

Pagani is not been shut down. Last night 40 people slept there with open cell doors, possibly open yard doors and one (or few) cops guarding outside. These people are beeing transfered right now to Mersinidi, Chios.

There are a lot of speculations about future developments regarding detention. Today (4/11) local newspapers are writing that Pagani will be functioning as a transit registration center. The renovation will be finished at the end of December and on the mean time one cell will “host” migrants overnight in cases there are no ferry. Maximum number of detained migrants will be 150 (rmk: when they first opened Pagani the official maximum number was 70-80!).

On Monday at the Global Forum on Migration and Development Vougias (Deputy Citizens’ Protection
Minister) declared an agreement with the Defense Minister for using an 8 hectares military area to build a new camp. Local newspapers are refering to it as “model” camp “for adults and minors”, with “police guarding just outside”. The new camp will be located at ‘Kata Tepe’ (Black Hill, this is turkish) that is about 10 km north from Mytilene.

About the deputy’s statements and report from the GFMD (in english)
The report about the new camp (in greek)
(*) by the way: a student’s union denounced last weekend occupation of Paparisva building because they  haven’t been informed and  haven’t discourse with university authorities first. Of course they declare their absolute solidarity to migrants.

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)

Watch the video