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Thuggish, Gangster-like, and Random Police Violence Against Migrants in Athens

Statement about police violence against Sherzad Rozhman in Athens, Greece and another statement by Abtin Parsa about a violent police attack in Athens. Both attacks took place at July 27, 2018. August 1, 2018: Updated with a video interview with Sherzad Rozhman.

Originally published by Salim Nabi Facebook profile. The second statement was originally published by Abtin Parsa’s Facebook profile.

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.

Thuggish, Gangster-like, and Random Police Violence Against Migrants in Athens

On July 27, 2018 at around 2 am Sherzad Rozhman, a refugee from Iran’s Kurdistan, was sitting with a friend on the stairs of the Archaeological Historical Museum in Athens when two police officers from the bottom of the stairs and two police officers from the top of the stairs were approaching them. As they stood up, Sherzad recalls, the two riot police officers approached them directly and ordered them to lie down on the ground and empty their pockets. Although Sherzad knew exactly that he had done nothing wrong, he followed the instructions of the officers. As they lied down more riot police approached the situation. After the officers could not find anything on the two refugees, they ordered them to stand up, and consequently the officers, holding the two refugees’ arms, walked them down the stairs.

Sherzad recalls that one of the officers escorting his friend started hitting the friend with the baton following which one of the officers escorting him started to hit him with the baton, too. In protest Sherzad started to ask them what he had done wrong for which he was being beaten. However, Sherzad says, that all they responded with were profanities and insults such as “A-hole” and “faggot” which he has come to partially understand over the past year and a half during which he has lived in Greece. As his pleas had no result, Sherzad started hitting himself as a measure of protest, namely: the act of hitting himself was to demonstrate that if it is just about beating him, he will do it for them. It was during this desperate protest that another five riot police officers joined the officer who was beating him. As they had surrounded him one of the officers jumped at him attempting to kick him; as he dodged the kick the officer punched him in the face.

Loosing his balance in the act, the rest of the officers joined in and attempted to handcuff him. During the ordeal Sherzad fell to the ground upon which the officers started kicking him in the head and face. 

Sherzad does not recall how long the kicks were raining down on his head and face as he was no longer fully conscious. Eventually, he recalls, the officers pulled his arms from behind and attempted multiple times to throw him face-first on the ground, most likely to justify his severe facial injuries as “falling to the ground during an attempted escape” – a practice quite the normal world wide. After a number of attempts to throw him on his face failed because Sherzad turned to fall sideways, the officers lifted him and dragged him to a cruiser and made him stand against the car. After some more hitting with the baton, then the officers told Sherzad that they will count to ten (10) during which he can get lost. Upon counting, Sherzad states that he started limping away as his one leg was hurting badly due to the baton hits he had taken. 

Two days later, Sherzad suffers from severe pain in his jaw, ears, and shoulders, back, chest, hip, and legs due to the treatment of his head and body as a football by the officers. As Sherzad stated in a video conference call I had with him at around 2:30 pm Toronto time on Saturday July 28, 2018, more than the physical pain that he is enduring, the unjustified and barbaric violence by the police officers is of the highest degree of pain. “When police officers act worse than criminal and gangsters, one wonders what the future of this country will be.” When the arm of a state which is supposed to uphold the law and justice acts like gangsters justified by the state to do as they please, then the legitimacy of the state is not only jeopardized, but it goes to show that the state has made racism and violence against the other, the foreigner, a legitimate act, albeit implicit insofar that the state does nothing to bring such misconduct by its agents to justice.

“I have been a law-abiding member of this society from the day I arrived, I have worked since the beginning of this year and paid my taxes. I had found a job at a tailor shop, which I was supposed to start the following day at noon. But this cowardly act and this racist and fascist behaviour of the Greek police has caused me not only physical pain, but it cost me the job I was supposed to start. They claim that refugees and migrants do not contribute to the society and just take away, but the truth in my case is that they destroyed the prospects of a contributing and tax-paying refugee for their sheer desire to feel superior. The police is the reason that I will not be able to contribute to this society in the coming time. The police is the reason why I will no longer expect protection from this government, but rather, from now on I must think of measures to protect myself against this government and its apparatus.” These were the last words of a refugee whom I have known since last November, and who has never ceased to be a positive contribution to the Greek society.

Salim Nabi, July 28, 2018.

You will find a statement by Sherzad Rozhman himself in Farsi on his Facebook  profile; here.

State terrorism: Torture on the back streets of Athens.

On Thursday 27th of July around 2 in the morning in Athens, on Bouboulinas st. in Exachia neighborhood, a squadron of greek cops kidnapped and tortured an anarchist immigrant. Straight away they began to torture me with a barrage of kicks, using racist and fascist insults. Meanwhile, the police stated that my offense is that I am an anarchist and belong to a known political group of Exarchia. Then the squadron of riot cops forced me into a dark alley. They laid me on the ground and they tried to break my ribs by kicking; I placed my hand on my ribs to protect them. They took away my hand from my ribs and tried to break my fingers with their shields. In order to protect my fingers, I pulled my hand under my belly. At that moment, they hit my ribs again to break them. This action lasted a long time, until one of the cops proposed to break my wrists. So they placed my hands on the curb stone to break them with batons, but I managed to pull my hands away. This escalated their anger, and by saying fascist and racist insults, they all started to beat me. They beat me for more than one and a half hours. All the while they were taking several photos of me getting beaten up, as well as when I was lying semi conscious on the street. When cops realized that my body had been seriously damaged and I was not able to move, they started to play a game with me, telling me “you have ten seconds to leave from here, if we catch you again, we will kill you”, and two cops moved a little bit ahead of me to catch me again. They hit my knee several times with batons to make sure that I can not escape. When one of them turned to look behind him, with all of the pain that I had, I started running. One of the cops tried to catch me again but I could escape by running up Tositsa and seek help at a nearby house of comrades.

Solidarity paramedics came immediately and after examination, told me I should go to hospital. There they found that aside from severe bruising all over my body and head wounds, I aslo had a fructured spinal joint.

Exarchia, as an area with self-organized projects and revolutionary struggle, is under constant attack from the state because it is part of international social struggle against capitalism, mafia, terrorism and generally the system. Exarchia is a zone of defense where different groups exist together to fight for freedom and equality against the oppression of the system. By mutual cooperation we can meet the needs of each other without any authority. For this struggle the state beats us.

The state by placing permanent police forces in the perimeter of Exarchia has made a kind of border between us and the rest of Athens, so it is as if they put us in a kind of prison. At the moment we have no other way to resist this prison except riots against the military check points. One of the reasons that the cops wanted to break my wrists is because as they said, I am one of those who participate in the riots. Many persons usually participate in these clashes with the police forces, because they do not want to be in prison, because they do not want control from any authority.

As an immigrant anarchist I understand that the struggle for freedom is common between locals and migrants. For this reason I work towards unity and making collective body between locals and migrants. We will not fight only for immigrants but for everyone, because we understand that our pain, our problems are the same.

Immigrants are under constant attack from the state and facists and it does not matter what kind of goverment is in power, whether it is ultra-right or leftist goverment. SYRIZA present themselves as supporters of immigrants but the reality is they imprison migrants on mass scale, every day they deport and kill people at the borders. We know that all authority is our enemy.

In Exarchia today immigrants are under increasing threat of repression. Recently they began to make police sweep operations on the square arresting any migrant that is there. At the same time there are groups in Exarchia who act like police, using the same tactics, like pogroms on the square against migrants. Such as a group known as security team, military part of the political group “Antiauthoritarian Movement” (AK), who have relation with the government and present themselves as supporters of immigrants, but instead they use immigrants as a cover for their mafia business. As an immigrant I have to say to such groups: stop using our name for your dirty business.

It is clear that cops and mafia work together for the same purpose: control and the crushing of resistance.

The message of this violent attack by the pigs was: to terrorize immigrants, anarchists and those who actively resist and fight the police. We shall not kneal down. The state’s violence make it more clear that our struggle is just.

COPS MAFIA MURDERERS

Abtin Parsa, July 28, 2018.


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One thought on “Thuggish, Gangster-like, and Random Police Violence Against Migrants in Athens

  1. […] While it was a big shock, it was not strange to us. When you are an anarchist, it does not matter where you are, you can be Soheil Arabi in Iran, kept on a cell for many years and tortured every day; or like Santiago Maldonado in Argentina, kidnapped by the system and a dead corpse three months later; or like our anarchist comrade in Greece, kidnapped by the police and tortured on the street. […]

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