New death and demonstrations by migrants in Moria

Following the death of a 5 years old child on the 10th October from a cause as yet unknown, one more was added to the previous ones in the detention centre of Moria. On Friday 20th October a 55 -year-old Iraqi passed away, being the 13th death in the concentration camps of the island. The medical exams showed a heart problem as the cause of death, while his co-detainees say that he had been complaining to the authorities and the NGOs over the last week without being given any attention. Same complaints exist for the death of the 5yr old girl, who had to sleep in a summer tent with her parents and 5 brothers, that were asking for blankets without being heard either. The authorities try to claim that the deaths in the detention centres are the result of natural causes or from chronic diseases; however they are nothing less than the transfer of the antimigration death-politics from the borders of Greece and EU on its own grounds. Thousand of migrants are trapped in detention centers, living under wretched conditions, exhausted by prolonged detention, and desperate from the uncertainty that surrounds them. The only cause of death is the devaluation of their lives from the racist policies of the state. As «foreign bodies» they are not entitled to have the same needs as all others, such as shelter, food, or access to the health system.

As arrivals have increased significantly lately and asylum rates are frighteningly slow, more than 5,500 migrants are stowed away in Moria’s detention center, with its actual capacity not exceeding 2,500. This condition has made the situation intolerable for most of them posing beyond the other, and serious security issues for the weakest ones. A mixture of intertwined powers and repressive means  is used to discipline immigrants, without however being always applicable.

The latest example is the latest protest of some 150, mostly afghans, migrants, which has been going on since Friday 20/10. A serious fight between arab-speaking migrants and afghans in the detention center has led many of the detainees to refuse to spend any more days in it. Initially, they occupied the street in front of the center for a night, urging authorities to speed up their asylum claims, but also move them to safer places as there were many women and children among them.  On Saturday morning they tried to march down to the city of Mytilene for a protest, but they were blocked by police forces at the entrance of the city. When the road opened again, they continued their march to Sapfo Square, the main square of the city where they decided to stay until their demands were met. From the beginning, the police presence was very intense in their attempt to terrorise the migrants but also the people that were coming to show their solidarity. Many of them had to pass from identification checks. However, the constant arrival of more and more people has led the police to withdraw from the square and the migrants spent the night in the square. Since Sunday morning and while police pressure against the people that were coming for solidarity continued, the authorities tried to convince them to abandon the square by promising them to speed up their procedures and transfer them to Kara Tepe’s center. Meanwhile, several migrants, with children among them, had to be transported to the hospital due to exhaustion. A serious hurdle for some of their demands to be met is being played by the UNCHR, which, according to reports, denies the registration of the protestors in Sappho Square for their transfer to Kara Tepe’s camp, asking them to return in the Moria centre, because they are afraid that this would set an example for other migrants as well.

With the weather conditions being expected to worsen over the next days, the only solution for the migrants and the people in solidarity that stand next to them is the strengthening of the struggles. Against the state-capitalist barbarity, the culture of the borders, the nations and the nationalisms.

Musaferat

 October 2017

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