Lesvos and Chios: volunteers helping refugees arrested by police and Frontex, involvement of the International Rescue Committee

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Mark.
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Mar 31 2016 15:28

Suggestion here of misleading official figures on arrivals since the deal came into operation.

Louis Dowse wrote:

Good morning: approx. 94 arrivals this AM to #Chios

Curious to see if there is sig. contrast between police stats and shoreline rescue stats again. Dubious official records...

Update: 217 people have arrived since last night

Mark.
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Mar 31 2016 17:47
cam wrote:

Vial detention centre on #Chios is now so overcrowded, the 200 new arrivals are being kept at the port.
....
Protest at #Vial, detained ppl burst out through the gates

After 30mins, cops make ppl return 2 Vial det.cntre. Worst are these guys frm charity MetAction, herding ppl inside.

METaction are an interpreter group - so why are they doing the work of the police. Scum

English language site for the scum in question: http://www.metadrasi.org/eng/

Quote:

Welcome To METAction

The Non-Governmental Organization “METAction” was founded in December 2009, its primary aim being to promote a rational system for managing mixed migration flows, while encouraging respect for human rights, national and international legislation, through the development of actions for the reception and integration of immigrants and refugees in Greece, as well as of actions of support for their voluntary return and reintegration in their countries of origin.

More on their interpretation services here. This comes across to me as an NGO being run as a business.

cam wrote:
Oh yeah, and who else was at #Vial? UNHCR. So much for their 'refusal to participate in detention'
Mark.
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Mar 31 2016 16:24
Nikolia Apostolou wrote:

The EU-Turkey deal has not deterred #refugees to cross the Aegean Sea. It has made the passing more dangerous.

As the TR police stops them, #refugees now have needed up to 4 attempts to successfully reach Greece

5 boats arrived in the south of Lesbos today #refugees. Despite the Turkish coast-guard pulling many boats back, hard to stop the migrant flow

New GR gov rhetoric concerning the refugee crisis:"the NGOs are making people riot". Imagine you were stuck in Idomeni or Lesbos for months?

Eric Kempson wrote:

Just had one boat of 50 people come in at Kia beach north Lesvos

Another 2 boats just came in at chapel north coast Lesvos 70 people

5 boats landed north coast lesvos

Natasha Tsangarides wrote:
Contacts inside #moria say there are about 2000 people inside. Not enough food. Minors unit full. #refugeesgr #lesvos
Mark.
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Mar 31 2016 21:23

Greek asylum system reaches breaking point

Quote:

....
“Insufferable pressure is being put on us to reduce our standards and minimise the guarantees of the asylum process,” Maria Stavropoulou, who heads the Greek Asylum Service, told IRIN. “[We’re asked] to change our laws, to change our standards to the lowest possible under the EU directive [on asylum procedures].”

Under the terms of the 18 March agreement, Greece must screen all new arrivals from Turkey as quickly as possible and return those deemed not in need of international protection on the basis that Turkey is a “safe third country” or “first country of asylum” where they were already protected.

Most of the pressure, according to Stavropoulou, is coming from “countries that are very invested in the deal with Turkey working.”
....

Mark.
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Mar 31 2016 21:47
Benjamin Julian wrote:

Today a protest was organized outside the Vial hotspot in Chios. Refugees took part by clapping and shouting and then broke out to join the protest outside. As they rushed out, they chanted “FREEDOM! FREEDOM! FREEDOM!” and continued chanting against deportations, for their asylum cases to be taken and appealing to Angela Merkel to improve their lot. The dozen or so policemen present, seemingly flabbergasted at this turn of events, put on helmets and positioned themselves between us and the refugees.

This faintly ridiculous setup was only symbolic. A friend of mine, whom I’d only talked with through a fence, just walked around the officers and shook my hand. “How are you doing?” he said with a beaming smile, as if we were meeting in a public park on a weekend stroll. People talked, walked around. Refugees enjoyed looking at their prison from the outside.

However, there wasn’t much for them to do outside. They’ve had some opportunities to leave the prison by climbing over the fence and walking the several kilomteres to town, but they can’t leave the island and are easily identifiable here. This is the genius of keeping them on the islands, which were cleared of refugees before they arrived. This also exposes how ludicrous their imprisonment is. If they can break out and still have no place to go, why lock them up in the first place?

As it turned out, most went inside again. A committee of local people visited the facility to check out conditions there. Police split off the more vociferous protesters, presumably to bring the protest to an early close, and because they had absolutely no capacity for a greater action.

Refugees mostly reacted with bemused indifference. They slowly went inside again at their leisure, underlining what an absurdity the locked door policy is.

At the end of the protest many interviews were given. People inside still haven’t got hot water, so they can’t clean themselves or their clothes. They’ve been there for 11 days, by and large, are still unhappy about the food, tensions inside are still running high and people seem more and more to reply “I’m not doing good” when asked how they feel. Asylum processing has finally started, with numerous problems and delays, but people are desparate. They didn’t come to Greece to remain in this country of economic disaster. They know people in the north of Europe. They want to go there. And the fact is that even if they apply for asylum here, they probably won’t get it.

But they have been through plenty, and this will not break them. There are other ways into Europe, other ways to get by. The walls may seem impregnable, the authorities unbeatable, but most of the time this is all an illusion. Sometimes all it takes is just shaking open the fence and walking around the policeman, and freedom is yours.

Video of the break out

Mark.
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Mar 31 2016 22:38

European policy is driving refugees to more dangerous routes across the Med

Mark.
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Apr 2 2016 16:42

Refugees broke out of Vial camp again yesterday and are occupying Chios port. See Benjamin Julian's timeline: https://mobile.twitter.com/blidfinnur

Mark.
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Apr 2 2016 17:17

Amnesty report on forced returns of refugees from Turkey to Syria

EU-Turkey deal: staff shortages and rights concerns

Mark.
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Apr 3 2016 23:32

Video: MAT riot police clashing with locals on Chios earlier tonight

... and with Afghan refugees in Vial, I think following this

Deportations from Lesvos and Chios are due to start tomorrow morning.

Edit: Report in Greek on the clashes in Chios town - these seem to have been over a protest against the transfer of refugees to a building there in advance of being deported. Another video of the same incident here

Meanwhile...

Bruno Tersago wrote:
In the past 24 hours, 888 #refugees arrived on #Lesbos, 462 on #Chios & 31 on #Samos

The situation on Samos

Plans for deportations from Lesvos

Advice for volunteers observing the deportations tomorrow morning

returnwatch.org

Mark.
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Apr 4 2016 11:27

Solidarity structures in Greece confronted with criminalization and control

BBC World Service interview with asylum lawyer Electra Koutra

Deportations from Lesvos and Chios started this morning

Patrick Kingsley wrote:

The people being deported today are supposedly those who chose not to apply for asylum in Greece. Key Q: did they have the opp to do so?

Vast majority of those on this first boat are people from Pakistan, Morocco – only 2 Syrians. IE not really a test of the deal.

To repeat, this is not really a test of new deal. We understand the deportees are mainly Pakistanis, who were already deported prior to deal

Nick Barnets wrote:

136 deported from #Lesvos, 66 #Chios, all taken to #Dikili. Mainly Pakistanis, 2 Syrians all left voluntarily, didn't apply for asylum -spox

Told there is no quota for deportations right now, just to return those that did not wish to apply for asylum.

Benjamin Julian wrote:
Inmate in #Vial prison for #refugeesGr, #Chios, says people deported this morning requested asylum, didn't get interview
Mark.
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Apr 6 2016 10:27
Will Horner wrote:

Today's returns to #Turkey were purely symbolic. #Refugees in #Moria told me all deportees had arrived BEFORE #EUTurkeyDeal

(contd.) Not to mention the fact that 124 of 136 deportees today were from Pakistan and Pakistanis were already being deported since 1 Jan

@PatrickKingsley Pakistani asylum seeker in Lesbos told me they thought claiming asylum would harm chances of getting to mainland

@PatrickKingsley He also said that Pakistanis who tried to claim asylum at last minute were refused and held in detention section of Moria

One thing this does indicate is the dishonesty of the UNHCR in all this. See this statement from Melissa Fleming

ajjohnstone
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Apr 5 2016 01:59

Just want to express my appreciation to Mark for all his information links and updates.

Mark.
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Apr 6 2016 10:21

Thanks.

Daphne Tolis wrote:
Today's & tomorrow's planned deportations from #Chios to #Turkey cancelled as "100 to-be-returned refugees disappeared" says @tovimagr.

Apostolis Fotiadis - So the Greece deportations are going ‘smoothly’? Take a closer look

Greece may have deported asylum seekers by mistake, says UN

Natasha Tsangarides wrote:
2 men deported from #lesvos and forcibly returned to #turkey have attempted suicide #refugeesGr http://www.politikalesvos.gr/dyo-aftoktonies-meta-tin-apelasi-ton-metanaston-stin-tourkia/
Eric Reidy wrote:
Pakistani committed suicide inside #Moria detention center today - source inside. Confirmed w NGOs.

Edit: The report of a suicide has been denied - I'm not sure which is true.

Eric Reidy wrote:
Clarification: no suicide in Moria yesterday. Attempt on Sunday night, not successful.
Mark.
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Apr 5 2016 16:38

Interview with Benjamin Julian

Mark.
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Apr 6 2016 10:14

"We will all commit suicide if they deport us"

Mark.
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Apr 6 2016 11:12

Video from Samos

Mark.
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Apr 6 2016 19:10

Anti-refugee protest on Chios, still going on.

See Oscar Webb's timeline: https://mobile.twitter.com/owebb

Mark.
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Apr 6 2016 23:46

Earlier tonight:

Souidos wrote:

#athens #now cops detain #refugees who attempt to reach the center from the port of Piraeus. Anarchists organize spontaneous solidarity demo

#now Anarchist demo on its way to #athens police hq in solidarity with #refugees

According to officials, detained #refugees from #athens center will be released soon. Concerns about police raid in the port of Piraeus

Benjamin Julian wrote:

Fights break out as #Chios municipality discusses #refugeesGr
....
Right wing protests in #Chios over, council meeting goes on
....
#Chios municipal council decides to request the Greek government make #Vial open, otherwise permission to use the place will be withdrawn

Molotov cocktail thrown at Soli Cafe, #Chios, after right wing protests against #refugeesGr

Mark.
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Apr 7 2016 09:43
Oscar Webb wrote:

People who've set up a kitchen in Chios town to feed refugees say their house was attacked last night by 20 men who threw a molotov cocktail

They say the men came and went between 11pm and 3am, started a fire nearby, threatened to burn the house down, until the police arrived

Golden Dawn were involved in the racist protest last night so they're likely suspects for this.

Mark.
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Apr 7 2016 12:21

NYT editorial - A deal that puts lives at risk

Mark.
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Apr 7 2016 18:52

As one route closes another opens, almost certainly a more dangerous one:

Hundreds arrive in Italy on boat from Egypt

Edit: a better report here

Mark.
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Apr 7 2016 18:31
Gunilla von Hall wrote:

Around hundred refugees broke out from camp in Samos. Reportedly had knives. Police and military waiting for orders.

Syrian woman in wheelchair among refugees who broke out of prison camp in Samos. Many women and children here too.

Mark.
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Apr 7 2016 18:49
damomac wrote:
In #Vial detention centre, #Chios, the one asylum worker has processed 10 of 833 asylum applications, rejecting 9 pic.twitter.com/VdCkHIRTsv
Patrick Kingsley wrote:

Across the Aegean in Turkey, aid workers and journalists were denied access to the 13 asylum seekers allegedly deported from Chios by mistake on the first day of the EU-Turkey deal, raising concerns that they could be expelled from Turkey without legal recourse.

The UN says the 13 were not given the chance to apply for asylum before their deportation to Turkey on Monday – undermining EU claims that all asylum seekers would be given the chance to claim asylum in Greece.

The 13 are being held in a remote detention centre in Pehlivanköy, north-western Turkey, built in recent weeks with EU money – and now await deportation from Turkey to their home countries.

On Wednesday, Ankara refused to allow the UN high commissioner for refugees access to the asylum seekers, and also turned down a request from the Guardian to interview them. A police officer guarding the facility told the Guardian that those inside could be deported “within two weeks – or two days”.

Mark.
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Apr 7 2016 18:40
Benjamin Julian wrote:
Locals threaten refugees in the Chios port with violence. People here are very tense, some crying, many protesting, police tells them to go to Souda for their own safety. After yesterday's violent attacks on Soli Cafe, refugees are scared. They're being offered a bus to Souda, people are afraid it will take them to the Vial prison. Alleged fascists stand nearby and watch the scene unfold. Evacuation of the port is a possibility, though a remote one.
Mark.
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Apr 7 2016 21:04
Oscar Webb wrote:

Clashes between refugee and right-wing crowd- crowd chases him. Crowd surrounds port. Police just walked away #Chios

It's mob rule here. Right wing crowd braying for violence on edges of port. Women and kids running and screaming away. No police.

Chaos in Chios - accurate now

Refugees penned further into the port, mob outside. Ferry coming in. Small number of army have arrived

Women just taken away in ambulance for shock.

Mayor of the island here trying to convince refugees to move out of the port for their own safety.

Refugees adamant that they will not move

Right wing crowd and refugees silent as mayor negotiates, asking ppl to go to an open camp nearby.

Mark.
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Apr 7 2016 21:57

Amnesty International report from Moria and Vial

Mark.
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Apr 7 2016 23:21
Oscar Webb wrote:

Discussion amongst refugees as to whether to move going on #Chios

Some families packing up and leaving #Chios port for what they're told is Souda camp, an open facility nearby

One family just left port 'we're the first, the others will follow', says father

Voluntary leaving turns into eviction of port: police take two men out. Standoff now

Police saying: 'no more negotiations, you have to leave now'.

Fireworks thrown into port by right wing crowd. women/kids crying.Still resolute they're staying.More arrests

And all of the refugees have left the port and are walking to Souda refugee camp, also in Chios town, nearby #Chios

Crowd outside give police and mayor round of applause.

Mark.
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Apr 8 2016 16:14
spyros gkelis wrote:
Big mobilization of the NeoNazi #GoldenDawn with sticks / helmets in #Piraeus. GD leaders Michaloliakos-Kasidiaris are there.
kinimatini wrote:
Golden Dawn members gathering with helmets below the police station of Piraeus. chanting antiislamic xenofobic racists nazi slogans
Souidos wrote:

After attacking #antifa, riot cops in #Pireaus in friendly negotiations with nazis https://twitter.com/dromografosNews/status/718456400767225856

Again riot cops and nazis together #Pireaus #antifa #refugeesgr https://twitter.com/kinimatini/status/718458350560755712

The authorities have been trying to pressurise refugees to leave Piraeus for camps outside Athens. tbh it's getting harder to see Golden Dawn, the police, Syriza, Frontex, the EU and the UNHCR as being on different sides.

Video from Chios last night

Deportations took place again this morning.

Andrew Connelly wrote:

2nd day of mass expulsions on #Lesbos this morning ~50 awaiting embarkation on boat to #Turkey Nationalities unknown

Four protesters at #Mytilene port of #Lesbos just jumped into the sea, swimming to the #Frontex deportation boat

#Frontex: 45 Pakistani males on today's deportation boat to #Turkey. None requested asylum, allegedly.

Today's deportees #Lesbos-#Turkey who 'didn't claim asylum' not be confused w/ those that 'didn't claim' on Monday, which UNHCR claim 13 did

Second deportation. 50 from #Kos 29 from #Samos brought by ferry to #Lesbos then onto #Frontex boat. Nationality tbc

Mark.
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Apr 8 2016 16:09
kinimatini wrote:

Syriza says that refugees cannot organize themselves against state & Europe brutality so they blame the anarchists/volunteers

Syriza "forgets" that we are all humans & that we communicate with each other. Refugees are friends in need. We stand with them

#RefugeesGr deny to go to the camps Syriza gov proposed.Some of them went to the camps and there are no facilities there so they came back.

they took pictures of the camps with their phones and then they spreaded the info to each other.

Most of the camps Syriza proposes to the refugees to go are empty spaces, away from the city with few transportations. >>

so Greece proposes to asylum seekers, children & mothers who survived war to go camp in rural areas away from the city... !?!?!

Greece is evacuating all camps of Refugees at the ports because the tourist are coming for vacations.

TOURISTS GO BACK TO YOUR COUNTRY.
WE PREFER THE REFUGEES.

URGENT CALL TO COMRADES ALL OVER THE WORLD.
WE NEED YOUR HELP IN GREECE
WE NEED TO BUILD A STRONG SHIELD AND PROTECT THE REFUGEES.

Already comrades from all over the world are here helping and occuping empty spaces to host refugees.

If you cannot come here plz help by spreading the right info. This tag #refugeesGr providew critical info everyday

Mark.
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Apr 8 2016 16:28

Another video from Chios last night