It was a heavy week on Lesvos, a violent fascist mob, supported by cops forced refugees to (at least temporarily) stop the occupation of Sappho square in Mytilini. On Saturday many people protested against the fascist mob, deportations and for open borders. Report and statement by Refugees and Solidarity supporters about the occupation of Syriza headquarters at Lesvos, Greece on Saturday November 25.
Image: On Saturday November 25 activists occupied Syriza headquarters on Lesvos, Greece, after a demo through the islands capital Mytilini. Image by Lesvos Solidarity – Pikpa Facebook page.
Submitted to 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.
Read all the Enough is Enough reports about RefugeesGR; here.
#RefugeesGR & Supporters Occupied Syriza Offices on Lesvos
It was a heavy week on Lesvos, a violent fascist mob, supported by cops, forced refugees to (at least temprarily) stop the occupation of Sappho square in Mytilini. On Saturday many people protested against the fascist mob, deportations and for open borders. Report and statement by Refugees and Solidarity supporters about the occupation of Syriza headquarters at Lesvos, Greece on Saturday November 25.
The No Border Kitchen Lesvos crew wrote in a statement on their facebook page on November 23 about the fascists on Sappho square and an attempted illegal deportation: “Concerned citizens” and angry shop owners formed part of a 40-strong fascist mob at Saphous Square last Tuesday, gathered in an attempt to evict refugee protesters from their month-long occupation of the site. They were soon joined by police. After extensive negotiations between the protestors, the mayor, and the police, the protestors agreed to pack up their tents. Verbal abuse and the threat of physical attack from the surrounding mob left the protestors with little choice but to do so. They were promised a night in a ‘warm place’ in return, but this was never delivered, and instead of decent government-provided shelter they were brought to sleep in tents at House4Humanity.
Following this, the protestors returned to the square the next morning, welcomed again by the fascist mob. Police in full riot gear showed up to separate the parties and to negotiate again. After some time the protestors were offered a three-day stay in Pikpa, an independent refugee camp, with the obvious question of what will happen once the three days are up left unanswered. The protestors announced to return to the square if not offered any solutions after this time. During the negotiations the gathered fascists shouted violent verbal abuse, directed at the protestors and those in solidarity with them. At one point this broke out into a physical attack, with 25 men attempting to assault 4 women attending the protest in solidarity. In the end, luckily, no one was hurt.
Currently Saphous Square lies empty, save for a handful of bored police. For now we wait to see where this leads us, with a verdict promised by Saturday.
The importance of the Saphous Square protest, and the need for it to continue, was demonstrated again this morning. Despite one individual’s lawyer appealing his deportation order, we learned today that this man remained on the list for deportation to Turkey. The deportation has been stopped for now, by pressure from the lawyer, activists, and journalists on the police.
However, the question remains: what if this individual had not been one of the lucky few represented by a decent lawyer? Most likely, he would right now be in a Turkish detention centre, and in a few months, on a plane back to Kabul.
Nearly every week between 7-20 people are forcefully deported to Turkey. The situation is almost impossible to monitor, as access to the prisons is strictly limited to lawyers and close family members, and there are nowhere near enough lawyers on Lesvos to provide access to legal aid for the detainees. We know that today was not the only attempt to illegally deport someone, and we can be sure that the cases we hear about are the very tip of the iceberg.”
Arash Hampay wrote on his Facebook profile on November 25: “Two days ago the police, along with some fascist people, came to us the day after our protest and started beating everyone – even women!.
They used so many bad words and humiliated us! After that the police asked details of our demands!
We are demanding that they free Hesam Shaeri Hesari is in hunger strike now for more than one week (the police put him in prison and want to deport him) and open the Lesvos border and let refugees leave this big prison where their people, the mayor and the head of the police don’t want us to stay anymore!
Yesterday the police wanted to deport Hesam Shaeri to Iran and we saw that we can’t count on their promises! The last time we talked about it they told us that they are going to let him go free!
So after all these things we will go back to our protest place again and continue our peaceful protest. even if we know that it might be dangerous for us and they might kill us (people or police), but it’s no more dangerous than staying here in this situation and their camp which is really like a Nazi Camp.”
On Saturday there was a solidarity demonstration in the capial of Lesvos island, Mytlini. At the end of the demonstration people occupied the Syriza head quarters on Lesvos. Refugees and supporters published the following statement on Athens Indymedia:
Statement of the Occupation of SYRIZA head quarters of Lesbos
Refugees and solidarity supporters of refugees occupied the SYRIZA offices in Mytilene, Lesbos, on Saturday November 25, 2017 after the anti-fascist demonstration in which refugees, members of anti-authoritarian movement, and non-parliamentary leftists participated. The final action of the occupation of SYRIZA offices is the continuation of the struggle that has been taking place for the past one and half months in Sappho square, when a group of refugees decided to leave the Moria detention centre in protest with the declaration that we will not return to Moria or any similar camp. This protest is not an attempt to demand any sort of privilege over other refugees, but solely because we do not feel nor are we safe.
The unacceptable conditions of accommodation, the miserable nutrition provided, the absence of decent and appropriate medical care, the vengeful deprivation of water supply for drinking as well as hygiene due to the participation in mobilizing for protests, the constant police oppression inside Moria, and the violent conflicts erupting between different nationalities which are cultivated by the administration of the camp itself compose the framework of the aggressive imprisonment perpetuated in that environment. Part of the culmination of this cannibalism is also the sexual exploitation of women, homosexuals, and also minors who are forced into these dehumanizing paths, which is caused by the need to survive or because they have become victims of criminal networks. The fabricated divisions created among refugees with categorical distinction as refugees verses migrants creates chronic conflicts between different nationalities because of the privileges granted to some nationalities.
All the above are connected to the EU policies which continuously produce wars that create in turn migration flows, while simultaneously denies free and safe passage of the victims of these wars. These policies include the EU-Turkey deal which was singed by the SYRIZA-ANEL government of Greece. The Mediterranean water graveyard, the islands of the Aegean which have been turned into open air prisons, and the concentration camps in which refugees have been herded are the results of these lethal policies.
It also needs to be mentioned that from the moment we arrived at Sappho Square we became invisible for all the international Non-governmental Organizations a prime example of which is the total absence of any medical and pharmaceutical care or any other type of support and assistance.
Despite the attacks that we endured while at Sappho square we prefer to remain exposed to the cold weather and any other type of threat rather than return to the detention centre called Moria. Threats ranged from the provocative indifference of those directly responsible (such as UNHCR, SYRIZA, and local authorities), the apathy of parts of the local community, all the way to the expression of hate such as it was displayed by the deputy mayor Katzanos who was destroying the banners at the square, the gathering which was called by the mayor S. Galinos, the position taken by the former president of the Business Association Poulelli, and the beating of the refugees by the police.
On the chessboard of the wider socio-political scenario everyone has an active part to play. Having realized this fact we proceeded to the occupation of the local offices of SYRIZA intending to pressure and hold accountable one of the responsible actors complicit in this treaty. This is why through this struggle we abolished the distance between us, proving that charity is an illusion and solidarity is our weapon.
On our part, as refugees, we can only testify to these few people that they broke every border and made us feel part of this society.
To conclude, our demands are:
- THE IMMEDIATE RELEASE OF HESAM SHAERI HESARI – THE IMPRISONED MEMBER OF THE PROTESTING REFUGEES
- THE REMOVAL OF THE GEOGRAPHICAL RESTRICTIONS OF MOVEMENT FOR ALL THE PROTESTING REFUGEES IN ORDER TO PROCEED TO ATHENS AND GOVERNMENTAL GUARANTEE THAT NON OF THE PROTESTERS WILL BE DETAINED AND/OR DEPORTED UPON ARRIVAL IN ATHENS
- THE ACCOMMODATION OF EVERY PROTESTING REFUGEE UPON ARRIVAL IN ATHENS
- NO CAMP IS AN ACCEPTABLE ACCOMMODATION
- ACCOMMODATION MUST BE IN ATHENS
- ACCOMMODATION MUST BE APPROPRIATE FOR HUMANE LIVING CONDITIONS
Refugees and Solidarity supporters, November 2017
Image gallery by Lesvos Solidarity Pikpa Facebook page:
Urgent! We need your support to organise and provide mutual aid on Lesvos and in Athens. Please support!
Some of the Enough is Enough team will join Cars of Hope to support refugees on Lesvos and in Athens in December and January. They will arrive on Lesvos at December 17. The work of Cars of Hope is based on mutual aid and one of the groups they will cooperate with on the Greek island is the No Border Kitchen Lesvos crew.
Cars of Hope needs your support for their work with refugees on Lesvos and in Athens. You can support them with direct donations on their Paypal account firstname.lastname@example.org or by joining the Cars of Hope crowdfunding campaign (Donations by bank transfer or credit card) at: https://www.leetchi.com/c/soziales-von-cars-of-hope.
Here is a video that we produced in September 2017 (on Lesvos):