Posts tagged ‘hunger strike’

Five causes for resistance and solidarity in Greece today

We need to resist the totalitarian attitude of the Greek government who, in the name of an elusive “development” has started a war against anyone who disagrees with its measures. We need to express our solidarity and support to the many people suffering by this attitude.

  1. A modern Bethlehem has been set up in Syntagma Square: Syrian refugees, among them children and one pregnant woman, have started a hunger strike to be given traveling documents to reach other parts of Europe. A SYRIZA MP has expressed his decision to join them.
Syrian refugees on hunger strike

Syrian refugees on hunger strike

 

  1. Nicos Romanos, a 20+ armed robbery convict, has passed his University Entrance Exams while in prison but is being refused permission to attend classes. He is on hunger strike for over two weeks now and his health is in danger. Romanos first came to the limelight because he was with Alexis Grigoropoulos the night he was shot and killed by a riot policeman. In spite of the police efforts there is no proof that the young man was ever involved in terrorist activities.
Nikos Romanos at the time of his arrest

Nikos Romanos at the time of his arrest

  1. In Northern Greece the attacks on environment and on the populace trying to protect it continue. Largely ignored by the mainstream media the resistance of the people of Chalkidiki goes on.
Skouries demonstration

Skouries demonstration

  1. Police brutality is on the increase. After the uncalled attacks on the Disabled people’s demonstration last week there was further proof of it last night.

young girl attacked

  1. A trainer in the police Academy has come forward andstated that while teaching one of the cadets stated “I am a fascist and proud of it”. The most disturbing feature of the incident is that it was applauded by the rest of the class.

The bet for Greek society is how to resist efficiently, how to stand next to the suffering citizens without taking away their dignity.

One example by the newly elected regional government: Ms. Rena Dourou suggested to the Minister for Interior Affairs Mr.Dinopoulos to use 2.5 billion marked for festive activities to re-electrify poor households in their area. The proposal had been put forth by the audience in a popular tv show and became a reality. We could do more

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Athens hunger strike ended (9/3/2011)-Immigrants and Greek government meet halfway

Athens hunger strike ended – Wednesday, March 9 2011

Immigrants and Greek government meet halfway

The 300 immigrants who were on hunger strike for 44 days met today with the Ministers of Internal affairs Mr. Yannis Ragoussis, Health Mr. Andreas  Loverdos and the Deputy Minister of Labour Ms Anna Dalara in the offices of the General Confederation of Greek workers (GSEE).

According to the Athens News Agency, in a not so clear report, the Greek Government representatives proposed to lower the number of working years required for legalization from 12 to 8 years (the immigrants’ request was for 5 years), to provide the immigrants with traveling documents for them to visit their home countries and the possibility to extend the 6 months tolerance period before deportation with police approval and on an individual basis, not massively.

After the end of the strike the immigrants’ representatives thanked the solidarity committee and all the people who supported their struggle in any way. The solidarity committee mentioned in its statement that “the immigrants’ demands were partially satisfied. This case proved to us that the only “lost” struggles are those never fought.

The Greek Red Cross has started offering gradual food to the strikers still in the YPATIA building and the same is happening with those hospitalized.

In my opinion the government stepped back not only to avoid an unnecessary death and its repercussions but also due to the unexpected solidarity expressed by all kinds of people from artists to journalists, from doctors to academics, from unions to city councilors. Even in polls in the internet Greek society was divided in half. One of the good results of the economic crisis is that the “divide and rule” policy towards the working people is beginning to wear off. People are no more angry with strikers because they know that they might be the next to go on strike.

International Solidarity to the striking immigrants in Greece

The international solidarity expressed to the 300 immigrant workers on hunger strike in Athens centre is really impressive, increasing and heart warming.

I am publishing just the message sent from Ken Loach as a small sample:

This is to send a message of  solidarity from me and my friends to those on hunger strike. Life is hard for immigrant workers at the best of times. It becomes intolerable when they are persecuted and rejected in the way you describe. I am working in Scotland, at the other end of Europe, so I cannot come to Greece to express my support in person, so please accept this message of good wishes in your brave struggle,

Ken Loach

Immigrants on hunger strike original statement

Press release by the 300 migrant workers on hunger strike in Athens, Greece

In January 2011 the 300 migrant workers who travelled to Athens from the island of Crete to protest against the government’s harsh measures which force them to marginalization issued the following press release.

It is interesting to learn, in their own words, what forced them to the desperate action of hunger striking. Let me remind you that it is now three weeks that they are on strike and the risks to their health are constantly increasing.

LEGALISATION NOW

We are migrant men and women, refugees, from all over Greece. We came here to escape poverty, unemployment, wars and dictatorships. The multinational companies and their political servants left us no choice but to repeatedly risk our lives to journey towards Europe’s door. The West that is exploiting our countries while benefitting from much better living conditions is our only chance to live decent lives, to live as human beings. Whether by regular or irregular entry, we came to Greece and are working to support ourselves and our families. We live without dignity, in the dark shadow of illegalness. Employers and state agencies benefit from the harsh exploitation of our labour. We live by the sweat of our brow and with the dream that one day we will have the same rights as our Greek fellow workers.

Recently our lives have become even more unbearable. As salaries and pensions are cut and prices rise, migrants are blamed for the misery and harsh exploitation of Greek workers and small businesses. Far right discourse is reproduced through the media when they talk about us. On issues of migration, the propaganda of fascist and racist parties and groups has become the formal language of the State while their proposals have already become government policy:  the wall in Evros, floating detention centers and a European army in the Aegean, repression in the cities, massive deportations. They are trying to make Greek workers believe that we are suddenly a threat to them, that we are to blame for the unprecedented attack from their own governments.

The response to the lies and the cruelty must be provided now and it will come from us, from migrant men and women. We will put our lives on the line to stop this injustice. We ask for the legalization of all migrant men and women, we ask for the same political and social rights and obligations as Greek workers. We ask our fellow Greek workers, everyone suffering exploitation, to stand with us. Support our struggle! Do not allow the lies, the injustice, the fascism and the despotism of political and economic elites to prevail. These are the same conditions that forced us to leave our homelands with our children in order to live with dignity.

We do not have any other way to make our voices heard, to raise awareness of our rights. Three hundred (300) of us will go on hunger strike in Athens and in Thessaloniki on the 25 January 2011. We risk our lives because, either way, there is no dignity in our living conditions. We would rather die here than allow our children to suffer what we have been through.

Assembly of migrant hunger strikers.

http://hungerstrike300.espivblogs.net/ Visit the site for more information in many languages as well as for photos and videos from solidarity actions

The immigrants’hunger strike goes on – the misinformation campaign is alive and well and living in Athens

On January 25 2011 300 immigrant workers left Crete for Athens to protest against their treatment by the Greek government. Anti-racist NGOs and left wing youth organizations assisted them in finding a location in Athens from which to launch their protest against one more measure aiming at their further marginalization: till the 1st of January they were allowed to have labour and residence permits if they could prove that they had worked for 150 days during the current year and had paid their social security dues for that time– in 2011 these days went up to 200. This increase during a time of crisis and rabid unemployment means that they will definitely become illegal immigrants!!! The majority comes from North African countries and have been working on the island of Crete as farm laborers for six or seven years.

Upon their arrival and in cooperation with the student body of the Law faculty of the University of Athens they were taken to the renovated and used only for official functions old building of the faculty. On the 26th they gave a press conference and started a hunger strike.

After an intense campaign of misinformation and half truths carried out by the mainstream media, for example that the Law faculty cannot carry out its functions because of the immigrants presence – there are no lessons given in the particular building; health risks were mentioned while there are doctors visiting the immigrants three times a week and medical students doing their stage visit the immigrants daily, Greek society was split between those for the immigrants and those against them.

The  fact that it was turning Greek society against the immigrants forced the hunger strikers to agree to be moved to another location, privately owned, which is completely unfitting to house so many people despite its luxurious furnishings. The media still insist on presenting the “Palace” that has been chosen to house the protesters!! It is never mentioned  that while the hunger strikers are on the basement and ground floors the bathrooms are on the first floor and inaccessible. The fittest are sleeping in tents in the garden vulnerable to any attack or provocation by racist and nationalist elements and exposed to bad weather and rain.

The biggest “omission” though is that it is never mentioned that the present Prime Minister was the one who signed the Dublin II Treaty where among others it was agreed that the “first entry” country is responsible for the refugee/immigrant who seeks shelter in the European Union. Given the geography of Europe it is obvious which are the countries to be hit by an immigration influx.

The situation is worsening day by day because none of the two parties involved is prepared to back down. The immigrants insist that they have nothing to lose but their lives and they are willing to do that. The government claims that it will not succumb to blackmail.

So we have a stalemate and hopefully a solution will be found to avoid loss of life.