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Greek/Turkish border: Deliberate cruelty as official policy

Chios warehouse burnt down, reactions. Greek decision to suspend asylum claims draws a number of harsh reactions from all over. The bottom hit by the EU Commissioner & co. is deeper than we thought.

Originally published by Are You Syrious (Daily Digest, March 3, 2020). Image above: “The solidarity will win!” — Chios, photo by: Katerina Anastasiou (Warning Facebook Link)

According to Greek police tear gas is being fired from the Turkish side of the border, but the same information comes from different sides about the situation on the Greek side. In an effort to “blackmail” Brussels into offering more money or supporting Ankara’s geopolitical aims in the Syrian conflict, Turkey continues to let people uninformed and unprepared to go towards the closed Greek border that has sadly started to symbolize the European “shield” in the face of some of the most vulnerable people out there. Please, read our previous News Digest editions to find out more on the events of the past few days.

Chios warehouse burnt

Clashes between refugees and Greek border officials continued. One of the key warehouses on Chios island was completely burnt, destroying many emergency items, clothes and other helpful and basic items for people in need.

The video published by Europe Must Act (Warning Facebook Link) shows the ruins left behind. They also commented:

This arson against a local warehouse, run by members of the Chios solidarity group is testimony to how divided the Aegean Islands now are, and how dangerous the situation has become. As the EU Leaders meet in Greece, we keep calling for immediate action to decongest the islands, de-escalate the situation, and to do so through effective policy measures that safeguard human lives and enshrine the right to a fair and safe asylum process.

Locals have been blockading the road to Vial for the past three days. No NGOs or volunteers were allowed to pass. Food trucks were blocked as well until police forces came to open the way for them. Initially, they were letting organizations through, but not newly arrived people. Those are now being housed in two buildings, one in town and one outside of it.
Today however the blockade did not allow anyone through, including the food trucks. Those were finally let through later in the day when the police intervened.

Find the story on attacks at journalists here:Anti-refugee protesters attack journalists in Greece Berlin, March 3, 2020 — Greek authorities should quickly and thoroughly investigate attacks on reporters covering…cpj.org

“As long as we tolerate our neighbours, old friends, family, collegues or anyones casual passive racism, it has the potential to explode. And you will one day find these people with facists on the street, shouting to exterminate all that is other. From the people we allow to set to policy, to the bureacrats who sign the checks, to their collaborators in the working class, to the pigs who protect them, all of them are guilty. And as long as we leave this hate unchallenged we are too.” — No Border Kitchen Lesvos

The Greek authorities said that in the 24 hours between Monday and Tuesday morning, they had “prevented a total of 5,183 people from entering Greece, and arrested 45 people”. They also said they had stopped more than 24,000 attempted illegal crossings at the land border with Turkey since early Saturday, and arrested 183 people.

Greece has sent military and police reinforcements to the area, which have used tear gas and water cannon to repel mass attempts of people to cross into the country.

Dear EU, the people who are leading you prioritize lawlessness over human lives

“If the EU’s highest officials are willing to turn a blind eye to such abuses and violations of international law, they will invite more of the same.” — Human Rights Watch

We have previously published a post reflecting our personal feelings and reactions as activists and fellow human beings to people in distress, but also as EU citizens whom these people are representing:

The text read out:

SHAME ON YOU, EU OFFICIALS!
If you want to find a perfect illustration of the EU hypocrisy, just follow official Twitter accounts of the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen (Warning Facebook Link) , President of the European Parliament David Sassoli (Warning Facebook Link) , President of the European Council Charles MICHEL (Warning Facebook Link)  and Croatian PM Andrej Plenković. Together with the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, they’ve “inspected the situation at the border” with Turkey from a military plane. Cowardly and far enough to see people as mere dots on the ground. Depersonalised, inspected from above like they’re a natural catastrophe. They didn’t talk to any of the affected people, they only talked to each other. But they had time to do a quick social media PR before holding a press conference on the issue they’ve glanced from distance. Hypocritical dedication to European values, hypocritical interest for well-being of refugees and migrants, hypocritical solidarity with people of Greece, who actually needed support years ago. Hard to expect anything but more hypocrisy and militarisation from these folks.

During and after their visit, the EU representatives kept enforcing the defensive rhetoric, speaking of how they would organize armies at the borders and such, not mentioning their plans to actively get involved in solving at least some of the most burning issues when it comes to current conflicts, persecutions, political and economic injustices driving these people out of their homes, lands they grew up in and having to often leave their dignity along the way as well.

The EU Commissioner for Home Affairs has publicly stated that “assisting people in need remains a priority”.

However:

More reactions of shame and disbelief at what the head of the Commission managed to say, regarding to Greece as a “shield” of Europe, arriving from many sides:

In Germany, these events sparked many reactions and concrete actions. The Seebrücke has called for people to join actions in their towns and regions and to start their own so as to strengthen the voice of civilized humane Europe.

We call for protests nationwide against the murderous isolation of the European external border! Participate in nationwide campaigns all week!

Participate in demos and rallies in your city! You can find all the promotions below!
Nothing is planned for you yet? Then organize an action yourself! Send them to us here!

The Greek military and Frontex fire at the Turkish border with tear gas, stun grenades and water cannons to seek protection, in front of Lesbos a small child drowned in front of Lesbos in the presence of the Greek coast guard. While families, children and young people are being fought militarily at the border, reception facilities are empty in Germany and other countries, and hundreds of cities are ready to accept them. Let us work together loudly to ensure that people in Greek camps and at the Greek-Turkish border are treated humanely and evacuated.

We say: We can and want to welcome these people and take them in. We give people a future and do not allow ourselves to be blackmailed by the fascist Salvinis, Orbans and Erdogans of this world! Human rights for everyone! Against the fortress Europe, Erdogan and the crisis of humanity! Defend the fundamental right to asylum! #WirHabenPlatz

Find more details here (German):

https://seebruecke.org/grenzen-auf-leben-retten/


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