Friday, January 28, 2011

Solidarity gatherings with the hunger strikers in Athens, Chania, Thessaloniki, Volos, Mytilene, Kozani, Iraklio, Xanthi.

To the streets! For solidarity, for dignity

Jan. 27, 2011 Occupied London

#484 | Solidarity gatherings with the hunger strikers in Athens, Chania,
Thessaloniki, Volos, Mytilene, Kozani, Iraklio, Xanthi. To the streets!
For solidarity, for dignity.

10pm GMT+2 Negotiations are taking place the last two hours. The hunger
strikers set several conditions in order to leave the Law School but the
government does not seem ready as yet to agree with all of them so the
huger-strikers and several hundred of supporters incl. some university
teachers, students, human rights groups and activists are ready to defend
the academic freedom by the police. Cops have surrounded the School and
do not allow to people to approach.

The hunger strikers in the Law School

People who gathered in solidarity to the hunger strikers and the rest of
the people in the Law School

Cops in front of the Athens Law School gate, behind them activists.

As the police operation against the migrant hunger strikers in the Athens
Law school seems imminent, impromptu solidarity gatherings have been
called at the following Greek cities (list to be updated). All gatherings
at 7pm GMT+2

* Athens (Exarcheia Square)
* Chania, Crete (Agora)
* Thessaloniki (Labour Union)
* Kozani (main Square)
* Xanthi (Polytechnic)
* Volos (Migrant Haunt, 9pm)
* Mytilene (Bineio, 8.30pm)

#483 | Decision by the assembly of the 300 hunger strikers of the Law School

Rough translation of the full text of the migrant hunger strikers’
assembly which has triggered, as it seems, the immenent police operation
in the Law school.

Greek original


Us, the 250 hunger strikers

Who are already on the 3d day of hunger strike in the Law School,
demanding the legalisation as our given right, have been hearing about the
discussions around our demand, the inaccuracies, lies and intentional
distortion of the truth. We do not know if it is the government or mass
media responsible for this situation, however it is unacceptable for such
lies to be told since we have issued press releases, we had made the site
of the hunger strike accessible to journalists from day 1 and we have sent
representatives of ours to the university community and the government.
And so, wanting to restore the truth, we declare the following:

* · We are not what the media present us to be, that is the poor
migrants who are penniless, without houses, work, clothes and so on.
We have homes, relatives, work in the cities we left behind. We were
not looking for shelter here in Athens but rather, we came to struggle
(for as long as our bodies can take it) for our legalisation, our
rights and for dignified life conditions.
* We did not wish to bother anyone. From the beginning we knew that
the site we had chosen in the Law School was not used for educational
purposes. We respect and protect the site hosting our struggle and
were very happy to hear that the school is operating as normal once
* · We decide on our own and unaffected by anyone, through our
assemblies (the assembly of the hunger strikers). There is no-one
hiding behind us, neither in front of us. And we will not take
guidance [orders] by anyone! We asked for help and from the beginning,
Greeks and foreigners stood in solidarity, a fact for which we thank
them very much. We will never forget how much they aid our struggle.
* We declare our solidarity to all the migrants who are on hunger
strike demanding their legalisation (in Propylea and the Athens
Polytechnic) and we ask the government to meet their demands.
* Today we were offered a relocation under given conditions. The main
reasons for which this relocation is not possible are the following

a) the proposed site would only be accessible by the hunger strikers
and not those in solidarity

b) that site would be guarded by police, a fact that would not only not
only solve any problems but create further tension too.

c) The suggested solution is temporary and offers no permanent solution.

Us, the migrants, who are forced to wander around the entire world, do not
want to be forced to wander around during our hunger strike too.

We nevertheless declare we remain open to suggestions that will however
meet our struggle’s demands.

Also, we know there is no Asylum issue. We therefore ask the Government
not to deal with this matter but rather to focus on our just demand and
meeting this.

Finally we ask all those in solidarity who wish so, to attend tomorrow’s
solidarity assembly at 6pm outside the Law school.

#482 | Police completely cordon off Athens Law School; raid is imminent;
people gather in Exarcheia and Propylea in Athens; Leftist party
Synaspismos denounces the hunger strikers

19.15 GMT+2 There are approximately 300 hunger strikers and another 300
people in solidarity in the Law School of Athens which is now completely
cordoned off by heavy police forces who are only awaiting, it seems, the
final signal to start off their raid operation.

People have also gathered in solidarity behind the police cordons and also
in Exarcheia and Panepistimio in Athens and in Thessaloniki.

Unconfirmed reports that the riot police have already entered the building.

#481 | Riot police encircle the Law School in Athens in apparent
preparation for a raid as migrant hunger strikers vow to stay – constant

At this moment (17.45 GMT+2) heavy riot police forces have encircled the
Law School building in Athens, immediately after the decision by the 300
migrants in hunger strike to stay in the building. The migrants’ assembly
decided they would stay despite the demand by university authorities and
the government that they move out. The assembly justified the decision
based on the fact that the building used by the migrants is unused by the
university (under construction) and that the building proposed for the
transfer does not meet basic huigenic conditions.

It is very likely that the riot police will now attempt to violate the
academic asylum and raid the Law School.

More updates as they come.

#480 | Call for solidarity to the 300 migrants hunger strikers in Greece

Call for Solidarity to the 300 Migrants Hunger Strikers in Greece

On January 25, 300 migrant workers went on hunger strike in Athens and
Their main demand is to be legalized.

At this moment, when the financial crisis has violently erupted and
ultra-right political forces have come to the fore, this may sound as a
maximalist demand.

For this reason, we need to pay attention to their demands so as to create
symbolic cracks in the system and achieve political victories.

-The political establishment and mainstream media in Greece have already
started putting pressure to the migrants’ struggle and to those in

It is urgent to vow now the broadest support possible!

Below the call for signatures.

Those that wish to sign are welcome to send their name and profession in
the following address:

Solidarity to the struggle of the 300 hunger strikers

How many times do they have to risk their lives in order to confirm their
and our existence?

In order to have the right to live with dignity and hope, in a country
that seeks for scapegoats in those who are the most vulnerable and weak.

For the migrant who, with his/her own blood, his/her poorly paid work and
his/her creativity, make the country’s economic machine move on.

For those who’re seeking for freedom and fleeing from neediness, war or
some other short of «peaceful» occupation, cross the borders in search of
a better life.

For the migrants who lost their lives at the national borders of the
European countries, for the 13.000 certified victims of the security
doctrine since 1993 and the thousands of persons still missing.

For the migrants’ children who from their early age grow with legal and
social constraints and exclusions.
In order to bring forward and establish to the common consciousness, as
struggle and cause, the joint social interests of Greeks and migrants who
produce the social wealth in every short of services, in constructions, in
factories, in the fields, in domestic works – as well as the common social
interests of the unemployed people.

For the reasons mentioned above and other unmentioned here:

- We express our solidarity to the 300 migrants, hunger strikers
- We demand the unconditional legalization for all migrants
- We support the migrants’ demands for equal political and social rights
and duties with the Greek workers

January 2011

Solidarity Assembly to the Migrants Hunger Strikers

It is also important that individuals, assemblies, groups and
organizations express their support through letters of support, press
releases and actions of solidarity.

Greece: Hunger strikers end campus occupation

By DEREK GATOPOULOS, Associated Press Derek Gatopoulos, Associated Press –
Thu Jan 27, 9:49 pm ET

ATHENS, Greece – More than 200 immigrants on hunger strike ended a
five-day occupation of Athens University's Law School early Friday,
following a tense standoff with police that underscored the country's
ongoing illegal immigration crisis.

The immigrants, on hunger strike since Tuesday, were joined by scores of
Greek demonstrators and left the university building before marching
across the city center to a private building rented by pro-migrant

The hunger strikers, most from north African countries, are demanding
legalization — an appeal that was flatly rejected by the country's
Socialist government, which is grappling with a growing illegal
immigration problem.

Scores of police — included special forces — had surrounded the central
Athens campus building during more 10 hours of negotiations that finally
ended at 3:30 a.m. Friday (0130 GMT) when the immigrants walked out
carrying rolls of blankets and thin mattresses. They filed past police,
raising their arms to make the victory sign, as onlookers chanted slogans
against the government and police.

Some protesters briefly attacked photographers and reporters outside the
campus, accusing them of siding with police in the dispute.

Under Greek law, police are barred from entering university campuses, but
academic authorities had lifted the university asylum Thursday, handing
police the rarely granted power to intervene.

Several hundred protesters gathered outside the police cordon, chanting
"Greek and foreign workers are united," while the standoff chocked evening
rush-hour traffic in central Athens.

Greece is the European Union's busiest transit point for illegal
immigration, and it has promised to take a tougher line against
trafficking. About 90 percent of immigrants caught entering the bloc
illegally are apprehended in Greece, according to European Union figures.

The country is planning to build a fence along a 12.5-kilometer
(eight-mile) section of its northeastern border with Turkey, and use old
army bases to detain illegal immigrants.

On Thursday, Greek Public Order Minister Christos Papoutsis had ruled out
using force to end the Law School occupation.

"A political decision has been made — my decision — that under no
circumstances will we contribute to the tension, clashes or even bloodshed
that certain people may have wanted," Papoutsis said after meeting with
French Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux, who was visiting Athens.

Hortefeux said his government is backing Greece's border fence plan.

"We support the creation of obstacles to counter immigration pressure," he
said. "Of course this cannot be compared to the Berlin Wall or anything
like that."

But the proposed fence has been met with criticism by human rights groups
and a lukewarm response from the European Union.

Hortefeux said he also discussed a recent spike in violence by far-left
groups in European countries.

France is seeking information on violent groups before hosting G-8 and
G-20 summits later this year, he said.

"Traditionally, these summits attract protests ... We are looking into
ways of sharing information and various preventive measures," Hortefeux


AP writers Elena Becatoros and Nicholas Paphitis contributed.

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