The truth may be bitter, but it must be told
– Written on a wall of a detention centre in
[The following is based on reports by many people and organizations in Greece.]
It has been around a year and a half now since the first attempt of the state to demolish the self-made Afghani refugee camp in Patras, which was prevented due to a vast and eminent solidarity movement. Nevertheless, the public authorities struck back and eventually succeeded to fulfil their initial plan on the dawn of Sunday 12th of July. This action can be only described as part of a major concrete plan of "zero tolerance" designed and declared by Markoyannakis, the Minister of Public Order of Greece.
The operation was initially planned to take place the night before, yet it was decided to postpone for a day in order for riot police reinforcements to arrive from
Immediately after the arrests and the removal of the immigrants on police buses, the demolition of the camp started before a huge fire erupted, burning any ruins of sheds and personal belongings. Nothing should be left to remind us that there used to be a refuge for thousands of immigrants and refugees throughout the years, desperate to seek survival and a dignified life in the European Fortress.
At the same time, at the other side of the
The Afghani self-made refugee camp that used to be located in the city of
There are two main routes into
Huge concerns are also focused on reports from asylum seekers who, during hearings in
It is hard also for someone to describe the horrible conditions under which people were living at the Patras camp. Being cordoned off 24/7 by the police in order not to get out, they would have to sneak out to get food of some kind. Moreover, the infrastructure of the camp was entirely insufficient, with just a few makeshift sheds and packed people struggling to survive inside and no water supply or sanitation. The attempt by some activists in late May to build a water system was sabotaged only some days after having been completed. The continuous growth of the movement in solidarity with the refugees reached its peak in September 2008 when a No Borders Camp was organised in the area around the camp and with the active participation of the refugees, not only for the discussions but also in vibrantly demonstrating in the centre of the city.
The camp was located in an upmarket area of Patras, surrounded by buildings some of which were half-constructed since the contractors were afraid that they wouldn’t be able to sell their properties due to the "hideous image" of the camp. The propaganda of the mainstream media, especially local ones, against the camp and generally against immigration had been harsh and continuous. Newspaper headlines the day after the demolition are significant: "It was about time to demolish this disgrace!", "The abscess is finally gone" and many more. Furthermore, a large portion of the local community of Patras had always been hostile towards the refugee camp, scaling even to organise a petition against it, without realising the terrible consequences of potential deportations or tortures by the police after the immigrants would be arrested.
After the demolition of the refugee camp, the city of
So now that the city got decontaminated by the "dangerous disease of the refugees" who is next?
The answer to this question is quite obvious: any voice of resistance should be silenced. The government has declared for quite some time its intention to suppress every dissenting voice, targeting mainly the movement of resistance. Using the dogma of "zero tolerance" even more repressive regulations are being unleashed, criminalising occupied social centres, introducing special laws with which wearing a hood during a demo is considered to be a felony. At the same time, there is also an attempt to create a tremendous database with DNA samples and fingerprints along with installing as many CCTV cameras as possible across urban areas. The Minister of Public Order was clear when proclaiming: "first we’ll go for the immigrants and then for the anarchists".
Consequently, the State of
Yet not only does the State of
In addition to this, the political legacy of December has also affected the workers’ movement. The workers who lost their jobs due to their strike during December in solidarity with the protestors have been embraced by the movement and continue their self-organised struggles. Apart from this, the autonomous unions are gradually gaining more support. Finally, there are ongoing grass roots struggles against the privatisation of public services.
It takes more than repression and terror laws to restrain a movement that is growing gradually bigger and more effective. A movement that, especially now, does not work for those suffering but along with them. Not for the society but with the society. A movement that has repeatedly proven to remain unaffected by the image imposed by the mainstream media about some imaginary "public opinion" but expresses what the real public opinion is on the streets and on their daily lives. Even if they manage to shut one mouth, thousands of other mouths will be opened.
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