Greek demonstration against anti-refugee fence

This video says about itself:

Plans for Greece to boost security against illegal immigrants by building a fence along its border with Turkey have been dismissed by the EU.

By Tom Mellen:

Greeks rally against border fence plan

Sunday 16 January 2011

by Tom Mellen

Over 1,000 people marched through Athens on Saturday to protest against plans to build an eight-mile barrier at the Turkish border to keep refugees out.

Trade unionists, leftwingers and human rights activists joined immigrants from war-torn Afghanistan and Pakistan, denouncing the proposed barrier as part of European Union plans to build “Fortress Europe.”

They marched from central Athens to the St Panteleimon area, where many refugees have been attacked in recent years.

When the peaceful Movement Against Racism and Fascist Threat rally arrived at the neighbourhood’s main square a few hundred members of far-right group Chrysi Avgi, or Golden Dawn, started stoning marchers and police.

Some ultra-left protesters also hurled stones, while rightwingers swung flagpoles at officers in a bid to break through police lines.

Riot police fired tear gas and arrested three people.

Chrysi Avgi, for many years a marginal organisation, has exploited St Panteleimon residents’ worries about strained public services in the area and has organised patrols that routinely intimidate and harass immigrant families.

The group got 5.3 per cent of the vote in last November’s local elections, which saw leader Nikolaos Michaloliakos elected to the city council.

Chrysi Avgi garnered 8.4 per cent in St Panteleimon.

Resident Nicholaos Sofos said: “The quality of life has dropped here in Greece. There are so many who come from these places, from Pakistan and Afghanistan. They arrive in such big numbers that no-one can control the situation.”

Migrants at the march attacked Greece’s fence scheme as well as its glacial asylum application procedures, which have been condemned by the UN refugee agency.

Alhadj Sow, from Senegal, said: “I have been here for three years. Every day just with the red temporary residence card. I cannot do anything to change it and I cannot go back.”

A ship carrying around 260 asylum-seekers sank west of the island of Corfu on Saturday night. Twenty-two passengers are still missing.

Coast guards said strong winds prevented rescue boats from taking to the water straight away and that a helicopter search had failed to find anyone.

Belgium has been sentenced by the European Court for Human Rights for sending back to Athens an asylum seeker who had entered the EU from Greece. The court ruled that Greece did not comply with minimum standards on the treatment of asylum seekers: here.

CANBERRA, Jan 18: A group of up to 30 Afghan detainees at the Curtin detention center in Western Australia on Tuesday launched a hunger strike. The move came one day after Immigration Minister Chris Bowen announced that the federal government has signed a landmark deal with Afghanistan, which would see those Afghans whose asylum claims have failed be sent home: here.

Greece faced mounting pressure to end its mistreatment of refugees today as hundreds of migrants entered the third day of a hunger strike to highlight “inhumane conditions” endured by undocumented asylum-seekers in the country: here.

9 thoughts on “Greek demonstration against anti-refugee fence

  1. Councillor makes nazi salute

    GREECE: Athens councillor Petros Constantinou branded far-right group Chrysi Avgi (Golden Dawn) a “neonazi faction” on Tuesday after its leader made a nazi salute at a council meeting which he attended with a phalanx of “bodyguards.”

    “The nazi salute given by the fuehrer of Chrysi Avgi during a municipal council meeting and the presence there of armed heavies has made it clear that this so-called political organisation is nothing more than a neonazi faction,” Mr Constantinou said.

    The group has been linked to attacks on immigrants and staged a violent anti-refugee demonstration last weekend.


  2. Afghans, Palestinians on hunger strike in Greece

    21 January 2011,
    ATHENS — Nine Afghan and Palestinian refugees have gone on hunger strike in Greece in a bid for asylum after Iranian migrants achieved their goal with a similar campaign last year, their support group said Friday.

    The two Palestinian asylum-seekers are already in hospital after beginning their protest in mid-December while the seven Afghans, which include a woman, have sewn their mouths shut, the organisation said.

    The protest is part of a broader mobilisation by Iranians, Afghans and Palestinians who claim refugee status.

    In recent months they have separately camped outside two Greek university buildings to raise public awareness on their plight.

    One of the protesters, Iranian Sahab Khosyavi, on Friday told reporters he has spent eight years waiting for his asylum request to be granted.

    Rights groups have repeatedly criticised Greece for failing to support people fleeing conflict in Africa, the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent.

    Greek authorities last year granted asylum to some 50 Iranians who had gone on hunger strike for refugee recognition.

    Some 300 migrants this week said they would begin a similar campaign and stage outdoor protests in Athens and Thessaloniki.

    Athens has pledged to step up asylum examinations to clear a backlog of some 47,000 applicants, many of them awaiting approval for years.

    But it has warned that many will be sent home.

    Would-be migrants and asylum seekers are currently kept in squalid and congested detention centres and police cells for months.

    Most are then released with an administrative order to leave the country. Some try to book illegal passage to other European countries but the majority end up on the street, destitute and at risk from criminal gangs.

    Greece says a surge in arrivals by thousands of would-be migrants and asylum seekers has stretched its capacity to breaking point.

    Athens recently announced plans to erect a 12.5-kilometre (eight-mile) wire fence along a stretch of its northeastern border with Turkey that is commonly used by traffickers to deposit their human cargo.


  3. Migrants’ hunger strike for papers

    GREECE: More than 300 immigrants began a hunger strike today at Athens University’s law school to highlight the plight of asylum-seekers and to press their demand for legal status.

    The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has condemned the Greek asylum procedure and reception conditions for refugees, stating in September that “the refugee status determination system does not operate properly and as a result, persons needing international protection are not identified as such.”

    Hunger striker Mustafa Halfoun said he had been in Greece for six years and found it impossible to obtain legal papers.


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