The No Border camp in Lesvos is scoring some real victories for the migrants who arrive here and are detained in horrific conditions in the infamous Pagani detention centre following the release of over two hundred migrants.
27. August 2009 - We haven't closed this hellhole down but pressure is building . We want to force Greece to respect asylum rights and the free movement of migrants and to refuse its role as Europe's border guard and all terrible abuses and deaths of migrants that entails . Yesterday 22 refugees avoided having to be detained and are now at an open centre with decent living conditions.
The No Border camp started before the camp and we've been doing a lot of actions, we're here particularly to denounce the fact that the Greek government is holding people in conditions not fit for animals; Pagani detention centre has over 1000 detainees in a facility not fit for 200 , it is an old warehouse with totally inadequate washing facilities, one toilet for 200 people and people sleep on bunk beds five stories high , the other day a Somali man fell off breaking his neck.
About 100 NoBorder activist met on the morning of 27. August 2009 in front of the Prefecture of Lesvos to squat it. The matter of the squat is to point out the responsibility over the horrible circumstances in the detention center of Pagani to the Prefect and to increase pressure: We want the unconditional closure of Pagani detention centre. Although they could not get inside the Prefecture, the Prefect responded to some demands of NoBorder. 22 Afghans, mainly families, that recently arrived and were hosted by noborder where brought directly to the open refugee camp, without being detained in the detention center of Pagani.
This is an important achievement for noborder: the standard procedure of unconditionally detaining all refugees intercepted in Pagani was finally broken. The families also received their traveling papers, although they needed to buy a ferry ticket to Athens themselves. At present there are about 180 refugees, mainly women with children in the new refugee camp.
In the afternoon, a parade took place to say goodbye and bide farewell to the refugees who spent the last days together with the no border activists in the camp. When the ferry left for Athens, both our newly found friends as well as those who stayed behind called out for freedom of movement. Once again the resistance against the border was made noticeable loudly in the harbor of Mytilini.
Even if the occupation of the prefecture was not successful, no frustration is left behind today. Our campaign for the close of Pagani and actually all detention centres continues and will be demonstrating for the closure of all detention centres tomorrow again. Much more important however is the fact that we broke the rule of detaining all the refugees in Pagani. We will continue to push for the generalisation of this new administrative procedure. The imprisonment of all refugees in Pagani is an obvious act of racism, but with a little effort, it will be an act of the past. The biding of farewell to the refugees who were continuing their journey was an important manifestation of our preparedness for practical antiracist solidarity. We wish our friends all the best on their journey. May they reach their destinations soon.
Article published first on 28. Aug 2009 @ :: indymedia.org.uk.