[ 28. Sep 2009 ]

No Border Camp on Lesbos - Protests in advance

Days before the camp began on the 25th of August 2009 on the greek island Lesvos the first direct actions took place.


The most attention was drawn by a :: hunger strike which was started by of some of the migrants in the detention center Pagani on 18th of august. Their intention was to advert to the dehumiliating conditions there. The factory hall which was converted in a detention center actually isn't eligible as an accommodation facility. It is appropriate for 280 persons, still over 1000 are imprisoned there. After two to three days the hunger strike ended but the message reached the people outside.

Requirements of the prisoners concerning their freedom is emphasized by :: letters coming out of the detention center. A demonstration by No Border activists to the center in Pagani to support the captives followed on the 20th of August. The outcome of this action were :: videos, which were published on the internet. A variety of different medias reported about the issue and the activities filled the :: headlines of several daily papers for days.

In the night between the 20th and 21st of August 38 people were :: released out of the detention center. With a paper that calls them to leave the country within 30 days they are set free without supplying them with food and accommodation. At the moment the No Border camp activists are are giving them the opportunity to sleep and eat at the camp.

On the 21st of August the activists again went to Pagani and this time managed to get inside the center. Another :: video and pictures were taken and then published. These show that even young children are locked up there. Imprisoned women are demanding their freedom, several young men show that the cells are so full that many have to sleep on the naked floor or under the beds.

On the 22nd of August approx. 40 juveniles were brought to Agiassos, a small village in the mountains of Lesvos, where the Villa Azadi - built in 2008 - is situated. It is a :: reception center for uncompanied minors.

In the meanwhile more and more activists are arriving at the campsite. Furthermore the camp is becoming a place for those people who were released out of Pagani. Slowly the infrastructure is being built up and plenary of several hours length are held in which the activists speak about the current situation. Especially the situation that a lot of migrants come to the camp seems to overcharge some activists, but solutions are found. Finally the plenary decides that the camp actions can't be constrained to help for the migrants but also or primarily have to change their situation through political actions in Mytilini, the capitol of Lesvos. Only in that way can the local authorities be put under enough pressure.

In the afternoon of the 23rd of August an infopoint is established in the center of Mytilini. Around 6 p.m. about 200 people - activists as well as migrants and refugees - went to Mytilini together to use use the arrival respective departure of two ferries to :: call the point of rassist walling-of policies and the way institutions deal with migrants and refugees. Their claims are open borders, the closing o all detention centers - especially the one in Pagani - and the freedom of movement for everyone. The local authorities are put under pressure to stop their dehumiliating handling with refugees and migrants. It is unbearable to set people on the street without money, food and a place to sleep.

Several Leaflets in different languages are distributed to hundreds of passangers and tourists while the police remains in the backround and limit their operations to directing the passangers from and to the ferries. The action of distributing raised enormous attention. After about an hour a demonstration formed which was accompanied by only one police officer. After a few 100 metres the demonstration reached a :: Frontex boat in the port of Mytilini. With the jingle "Assasini Assasini" the boarder police was "welcomed". The police didn't find this action all that funny and fleed. (view the video)

The demonstration moved on and more leaflets were distributed to passing cars. The goal of the demonstration was the infopoint. Now the activists have time for a break and later on there will be something to eat. Numerous migrants pass by and make use of the offer to get some food and speak to the activists. (view :: reports, fotos and videos from the actions on the 23rd of august)

Officially the No Border Camp begins on the 25th of August, but obviously it has already begun. To be continued...

Further information on ::

This article was published first on 25. Aug 2009 in ::