Riot cops attacked peaceful protesters inside the Moria camp today. After the attack clashes broke out. Refugees inside the Moria detention center started their protests yesterday, demanding their release. Some of the refugees are in hunger strike for three weeks now. With several updates.
Image: Refugees were attacked with teargas grenades by Greek police earlier today. Image: Legal Centre Lesvos.
Published by Enough is Enough
Note: Enough is Enough is not organizing any of these events, we are publishing this text for people across the US and Europe to be able to see what is going on and for documentation only.
While the hunger strike of Arash Hampay and three imprisoned refugees in Moria (Lesvos, Greece) continues, people started to protest against their detention yesterday.
Protestors in the Moria camp blocked the entrance to the European Asylum Support Office yesterday morning, demanding European authorities to allow anyone who has been held on Lesvos for over 6 months to leave. Refugees have been trapped on Lesvos for more than a year now, since the EU-Turkey deal in March 2016.
The Legal Centre Lesvos published a statement of community leaders of Moria on their Facebook page yesterday, saying: “We did a peaceful demonstration today in Moria and the question is “Why?”. Why are we being kept prisoners on Lesvos? Why are we being traded like merchandise between the EU and Turkey? We want the world to know the frustrating situation in Lesvos Island Moria Camp. We spoke to the Chief Police of Lesvos and told him our demand is to be allowed to leave the island. We want Freedom to move all around Greece not just to be in Hellenic Prison (Moria Camp). He responded that it is not up to the police or Marios (head of Greek asylum service in Lesvos), but the Greek state and EU who will decide. As Community leaders we ask for these authorities who are responsible for keeping us in Lesvos to come to Moria and negotiate with us directly since they have not responded to the many letters we have written or the demands we have made in previous peaceful demonstrations. We added to the Police that there will be no work going on in Moria if they fail to treat our demands with respect.”
Both images: Refugees blocked the entrance to the European Asylum Support Office yesterday morning. Images: Legal Centre Lesvos.
After yesterdays protests refugees were interviewed by Greek public radio station ERT. A refugee told reporters: “I’ve been here for 8 months without an interview. People are stuck in Moria for 8 months, a year, without having interviews, and the conditions are very bad. We have over 4000 people in Moria, using the same bathrooms. The food is very bad: even a dog wouldnt eat it. There is no medical care right now.
What we are demanding is very simple. We demand freedom. We demand the freedom to move throughout Greece. We know that it is not up to police, it is up to higher authorities. Thats why we’re asking them to meet with us.
We will keep demonstrating until they hear our cry, hear our demands, and give us the freedom we want.
Local people are trying to help but the problem is that people arent allowed to visit the camp. If Moria were a suitable place for human beings to live, they would allow visitors in there. But the authorities dont want anyone to see the conditions inside the camp so they dont allow any visitors in.
Let me tell you a story about Turkey, the country they want to send us back to. A pregnant woman was put in prison there. And you are trying to send us to these conditions? You do not care about human beings.
There was a guy who came from Syria with his dog. Now his dog has a passport and is in Germany, and the guy is still in Moria.
We need our freedom. We demand our equal right to movement, as human beings.
We say to the authorities: why are we kept here for so many months? And the children: why are they not in school? Why aren’t they allowed to move? Why are they keeping pregnant women here?”
This morning refugees started to protest again inside the Moria camp. The protest was peaceful but suddenly Greek riot cops attacked with teargas. People were furious after the police attack and started to fight back.
Tweet with video report of today protests:
The overcrowded Moria detention center is not the only place on Lesvos, where people are imprisoned. Refugees are also camping outside of Moria, which makes Lesvos, similar like the situation on Chios, to a kind of huge open air prison. People are not allowed to leave the islands.
After a tent was set on fire, authorities allowed families to go outside of the camp, where other people where also protesting.
A police van was seen driving into the Moria camp amongst reports of possible arrests happening inside. An ambulance was also attempting to drive into the detention center, but until now its unclear if the ambulance wants to pick up injured refugees or cops.
Images by United Rescue Aid.