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Greek state uses protests to stage a wave of repression on immigrants


The Greek state stages a wave of repression against immigrants during the riots in Greece
In the last few days, there has been an explosion of violence and racism against immigrants by the police and the courts. In Athens only, over 50 immigrants have been sent to trial in flagrante delicto, with ridiculously insignificant accusations. This is the general picture: Express trials, no legal representation, no interpreters and a pre-decided charge of 18 months in prison followed by deportation. Most immigrants were arrested on the streets and not inside shops. Some were found carrying looted wares, some weren't. In one characteristic case, an immigrant was charged with robbery while he insisted that the single cellphone he was found carrying was actually his own! He was imprisoned and is awaiting deportation. In another incident, an immigrant was incarcerated for carrying a cellphone charging device! He was also sent to prison. He will be deported too.

In Athens, Patras and other cities, cops, para-State groups and fascists seized the opportunity to organize pogroms against immigrants. According to the denunciation by Elias Ahmed, representative of the Union of Bangladeshi Workers: "In the last days extremist nationalists are ambushing immigrants' meeting places. Most immigrants return home late at night, since they work in restaurants or do other evening jobs, and wherever the nationalists find them, they beat them up and terrorize them." The representative of the Afghan community Zacher Mahmat issued an accusation stating, amongst other things: "Two nights ago at Attiki Square 4 or 5 Syrians were beaten up. They were attacked by a group of 10 to 15 (... ) Every day policemen beat up immigrants".

The police are working hard these days, with the excuse of lootings and unrest: Multiple arrests of immigrants, threats of deportation, beatings and mass transportations to police stations. On Monday evening, in an exhibition of atrocious violence in Omonoia Square, policemen were beating up immigrants for hours on end and dragging them to the nearby police station to be held (let us note here that the Omonoia police station is notorious for its brutality).

And while all this is happening, the sensitive Interior minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos - also head of the Greek Police (a post which he publicly announced he wanted to resign from, expecting that the prime minister would never accept his resignation) - is zealously getting on with his own business: on Friday 12 he and Merchant Marine, Aegean and Island Policy Minister Anastasis Papaligouras signed a declaration for the supply of equipment with the European agency FRONTEX, responsible for coordinating efforts to curb illegal immigration into Europe, at the former public order ministry with the executive director of FRONTEX Ilkka Laitinen. In other words, FRONTEX is congratulating the Greek police and coast guard for doing a good job and is offering them more arms and equipment... As minister Pavlopoulos proudly stated: "This initiative was taken by the Greek prime minister, and after this FRONTEX could eventually evolve into an organisation like Europol... I warmly thank Mister Laitinen that the greatly successful NEPTUNE Operation [by FRONTEX], which was so important to us, was given an extension until March 1, 2009". Ilkka Laitinen returned the compliments by especially thanking the "Greek Police and the Greek Coast Guard for their cooperation".
But that is not the only cooperation beyond borders that is going on. The same goes for social struggle and solidarity. Governments in various European states are expressing their fear and caution... Let us prove them right.

We shall meet in the streets

Related Link:  http://www.clandestina.org

“These days are ours, too” 15.Dec.2008 11:06

migrant text from Greece (on the riots)

"These days are ours, too"
Monday, December 15, 2008

(The following text was distributed at the student picket outside the police headquarters today by people from Athens' Haunt of Albanian Migrants. I wanted to translate and upload it here because it shows something very important: that ties of solidarity are being formed and strengthened across different sectors of the greek society - a wonderful thing!)

"These days are ours, too"
Monday, December 15, 2008

(The following text was distributed at the student picket outside the police headquarters today by people from Athens' Haunt of Albanian Migrants. I wanted to translate and upload it here because it shows something very important: that ties of solidarity are being formed and strengthened across different sectors of the greek society - a wonderful thing!)

These days are ours, too

Following the assassination of Alexis Grigoropoulos we have been living in an unprecedented condition of turmoil, an outflow of rage that doesn't seem to end. Leading this uprising, it seems, are the students - who with an inexhaustible passion and hearty spontaneity have reversed the whole situation. You cannot stop something you don't control, something that is organised spontaneously and under terms you do not comprehend. This is the beauty of the uprosing. The high school students are making history and leave it to the others to write it up and to classify it ideologically. The streets, the incentive, the passion belongs to them.

In the framework of this wider mobilisation, with the student demonstrations being its steam-engine, there is a mass participation of the second generation of migrants and many refugees also. The refugees come to the streets in small numbers, with limited organisation, with the spontaneity and impetus describing their mobilisation. Right now, they are the most militant part of the foreigners living in Greece. Either way, they have very little to lose.

The children of migrants mobilise en mass and dynamically, primarily through high school and university actions as well as through the organisations of the left and the far left. They are the most integrated part of the migrant community, the most courageous. They are unlike their parents, who came with their head bowed, as if they were beging for a loaf of bread. They are a part of the greek society, since they've lived in no other. They do not beg for something, they demand to be equal with their greek classmates. Equal in rights, on the streets, in dreaming.

For us, the politically organised migrants, this is a second french November of 2005. We never had any illusions that when the peoples' rage overflew we would be able to direct it in any way. Despite the struggles we have taken on during all these years we never managed to achieve such a mass response like this one. Now is time for the street to talk: The deafening scream heard is for the 18 years of violence, repression, exploitation and humiliation. These days are ours, too.

These days are for the hundreds of migrants and refugees who were murdered at the borders, in police stations, workplaces. They are for those murdered by cops or "concerned citizens". They are for those murdered for daring to cross the border, working to death, for not bowing their head, or for nothing. They are for Gramos Palusi, Luan Bertelina, Edison Yahai, Tony Onuoha, Abdurahim Edriz, Modaser Mohamed Ashtraf and so many others that we haven't forgoten.

These days are for the everyday police violence that remains unpunished and unanswered. They are for the humiliations at the border and at the migrant detention centres, which continue to date. They are for the crying injustice of the greek courts, the migrants and refugees unjustly in prison, the justice we are denied. Even now, in the days and nights of the uprising, the migrants pay a heavy toil - what with the attacks of far-righters and cops, with deportations and imprisonment sentences that the courts hand out with christian love to us infidels.

These days are for the exploitation continuing unabatedly for 18 yers now. They are for the struggles that are not forgotten: in the downs of Volos, the olympic works, the town of Amaliada. They are for the toil and the blood of our parents, for informal labour, for the endless shifts. They are for the deposits and the adhesive stamps, the welfare contributions we paid and will never have recognised. It is for the papers we will be chasing for the rest of our lives like a lottery ticket.

These days are for the price we have to pay simply in order to exist, to breathe. They are for all those times when we crunched our teeth, for the insults we took, the defeats we were charged with. They are for all the times when we didn't react even when having all the reasons in the world to do so. They are for all the times when we did react and we were alone because our deaths and our rage did not fit pre-existing shapes, didn't bring votes in, didn't sell in the prime-time news.

These days belong to all the marginalised, the excluded, the people with the difficult names and the unknown stories. They belong to all those who die every day in the Aegean sea and Evros river, to all those murdered at the border or at a central Athens street; the belong to the Roma in Zefyri, to the drug addicts in Eksarhia. These days belong to the kids of Mesollogiou street, to the unintegrated, the uncontrollable students. Thanks to Alexis, these days belong to us all.

18 years of silent rage are too many.

To the streets, for solidarity and dignity!

We haven't forgotten, we won't forget - these days are yours too

Luan, Tony, Mohamed, Alexis...

Haunt of Albanian Migrants