In the end of January 2008 the city of Patras, Greece lived through some unprecedented events, some events that could potentially change dramatically the relationship between the local society and the city's huge wave of recent migrants.
Newly-formed Indymedia Patras reports:
In the past few years, thousands of migrants (primarily of Afghani and Kurdish origin) amass at the gates of the port of Patras in the hope of clinging on the back of one of the lorries boarding the vessels to Italy (:: brief history). In a most dramatic depiction of fortress-Europe, the migrants are constantly faced with unbearable living conditions in shanty town-type settlements, humiliation and prosecution by the "welcoming" authorities of the city.
On the weekend of January 19th/20th the migrants were handed an unsigned :: "final warning" by the local authorities, asking them to leave their settlement. A day later, the settlement was surrounded by the police. :: Solidarity demonstrations in the next few days did not deter the authorities from knocking down part of the settlement on January 23 (:: report and :: video and :: photographs from the settlement on the day). Yet no-one could have predicted what was to follow.
On Thursday, 29th of January, in an unprecedented move, the vast majority of the settlement's residents (over 1,000) joined in the solidarity demonstration and demanded their rights to dignity and asylum (:: full report and photos from the demonstration, :: photos and :: more photos). The demonstration took the authorities by surprise and local mass media report that in its light, the knocking down of the remainder of the settlement is to be postponed. For now, solidarity has won in the city of Patras.
Further reports in the topic :: borderregime greece and in :: patras.indymedia.org.
This article was published first on 02. Feb 2008 @ :: indymedia.org