Going to Hell – As migrants in Greece get caught between repressive state and racism


Over a thousand migrants have been arrested and made homeless over the last two months after the Greek government launched a sweeping crackdown in the port city of Igoumenitsa.  
Last month the Greek government announced the scorched earth policy at Igoumenitsa alongside plans to begin the construction of 14 new detention and deportation centres. Since then police have evicted squats and razed camps in an increasingly violent campaign that has left many migrants badly beaten.
Igoumenitsa is the second largest departure point for migrants escaping from Greece for Italy and up to 1000 migrants live there at any time, including refugees from many of the world's warzones. The migrants live in squalid conditions, often in makeshift huts without water, electricity and sanitation, in camps in the mountains and forests near the port. Poverty is rife and many have to dig through bins to find enough to eat.
The raids have been constant as migrants are chased out of one temporary home after another. In the latest assault, police raided a camp in a forest near the harbour, arresting fifty migrants and destroying around 250 huts and tents.
The migrants are also facing an increasingly hostile reaction from city residents. A growing movement protesting the presence of the migrants has been joined by organised fascists and there have been several demonstrations with residents blocking the port. The demos have seen confrontations between the residents, fascists and the migrants. At the start of May, the third such protest – supposedly 'For a more human city' - ended in protesters screaming 'Burn them! Kill them!' followed by skirmishes between a handful of fascists and a group of migrants.
The attacks on the migrants at Igoumenitsa come at a time of mounting racism around the country. While last month saw anti-migrant pogroms tear through Athens, where around 17% of the population are immigrants, other hotspots such as the western port of Patra have also seen anti-migrant protests.
Unlike in Calais, there is no established, constant activist presence in Igoumenitsa. Activists are calling out for anyone that can to get down there to observe and document police violence as well as provide desperately needed support and solidarity. Contact solidarity_igoumenitsa@yahoo.com
In Calais too, activists are thin on the ground and more support is needed. Go to this website for more information.<See www.calaismigrantsolidarity.wordpress.com>

Thanks to Schnews for this information