After the July elections in Greece, the new government has lost no time in putting it’s agenda into action, passing new anti-labor laws, abolishing the University asylum and fortifying the racist legislation against immigrants and refugees and finally the repression of the migrant solidarity squats in Athens and Ioannina.
These squats were opened as a grassroots response to the oppressive austerity Greece has been under and the refugee crisis. They are self organised spaces where migrants and locals organise together and empower migrants by letting them take back control of their lives and go against the narrative of the “immigrant as victim”.
On Sunday the 26th of August, the Greek police launched a large operation in Exarcheia, Athens. Early in the morning, four squats were surrounded by huge police forces: anti-riot police, anti-terrorism police and secret police. The police then launched a large repression operation, leading to the arrests of three squatters and the detention of 143 refugees and immigrants, mainly women and children, and their removal from the housing squats. The last time a squat was evicted like this, a woman miscarried her baby as a direct result of the stress.
The migrants have been sent to camps known for inhuman living conditions and more than 15 kids that grew up in Athens and had their life there were deported. They weren’t given the time to collect even basic possessions and children’s toys, essential items like baby formulae and medication have been left behind. The closed camps offer no guarantee there will even be places sterilise bottles and illness has spread quickly in many of the Greek refugee camps due to cramped and unsanitary conditions. The Greek state has transferred refugees from the safety of the squats to the squalid conditions of the camps in order to crush the resistance in Exarcheia and render refugees invisible. There are twenty more such squats in Athens, but the newly elected prime minister has promised a complete “cleaning”.
We stand by immigrant women and men who formerly resided in the currently evicted squats and call on everyone to smash the isolation imposed by detention centres, whether these be in Greece or here in the UK.
If you want to show solidarity with the evicted squats you can come to the gathering today (Monday the 2nd of September) in front of the Greek embassy in London.
Alternatively you can donate to CRIBS.
CRIBS International started as an initiative by several independent volunteers who had been working in the woman and baby space in a camp near Chalkida, Greece. Every penny of your donation will go to supporting refugee families in Athens with vital accommodation, food, education, and medical and midwifery expenses.