AYS Daily Digest 03/02/20 — Police Suppress Protests on Lesvos
Greek Government Grants Provisional Social Security Numbers/// Lack of Resources for the rising number of People on the Move in Tuzla/// Squat at Šid Attacked Again/// Revolt in CPR Brunelleschi & more news
Feature: Protests for Freedom and Dignity Met With Violence By Greek Police
People on the move being held at Moria marched from the camp towards the town of Mitilini only to be stopped on the road near Kara Tepe Camp by police wielding tear gas and batons.
The protest, made up mostly of Afghanis, was against the horrendous conditions in Moria, which they refer to as hell, but also for freedom from the inhumane and arbitrary nature of the asylum system.
Many have been stuck on the island for months and even years while the asylum process drags on. Others have been rejected for asylum and face deportation to dangerous countries, where they were tortured and raped. The official asylum service and interpreters have been caught lying during the asylum process and forcing people to sign deportation papers against their knowledge. There have also been rumors about the Greek government not registering new arrivals, holding them for a week, and then deporting people back to Turkey under the cover of night. Although the rumors are not confirmed yet, they are plausible given the xenophobic and repressive nature of this Greek government.
Police reacted to the peaceful protest with violence. They fired flashbang grenades and tear gas at protesters, including children. Families had to take shelter from the smoke. They also physically assaulted people, causing many bloody injuries that were not properly treated, as the victims fear arrest if they go to a hospital. Medics, journalists, and solidarity members were arrested when they tried to help injured people. There are also reports of journalists being beaten for trying to document the violence, but they are not confirmed yet.
All people were asking for was dignity and a chance at a life lived in safety, as this father explains. Yet, the police and EU governments react with violence to basic demands for shelter and security.
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Greek Government Will Grant Provisional Social Security Numbers to People on the Move
People who submit an asylum application will receive a social security number when their application is complete. The number will be valid for six months and if the application is rejected, it will be automatically deactivated, but if protection is granted it will turn into a regular number like the one used by Greek citizens.
This grants people on the move access to healthcare and jobs. Camp doctors are few and far between and people were often turned away from hospitals because they did not have social security numbers. Until last year, all people had access to the full social security system but then that right was taken away by the Greek government.
Protest by people on the move and supporters has led to this rule change, but it still provides incomplete protection since it often takes months for people to be able to submit asylum applications.
BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
No Shelter for People on the Move in Tuzla
The central Bosnian city in the north-east has seen new large groups of people coming from the Serbian border. International organizations are plentiful in Bosnia, but very few resources made it to Tuzla, one of the most important cities on the Balkan route. It is up to local volunteers to provide shelter, food, and hygiene and they are unable to keep up with the demand.
Volunteers estimate that there are 250 people sleeping rough in Tuzla, and about 100 more in private accommodation. People urgently need tents, sleeping bags, and shoes. People on the move are forced to shower on the tracks at the train station with buckets of cold water or in improvised shower cabins.
Squat In Šid Is Attacked Again
The volunteers anticipated their arrival this time. They arrived at ‘Squat’ where several youngsters from war countries used to live, in the morning hours in order to wake up and warn people sleeping in tents that were hidden in the bushes in close proximity to the building. The volunteers helped the people to pack up their stuff and urged them to leave. However, they were not ready in time for the workers arrival.
While most workers just did their job of cutting bushes, one of the workers immediately approached volunteers still packing up a tent and told them to leave. He threw petrol on the tent, and onto the volunteer who was still inside the tent in that moment, as well as on a plastic sheet that another volunteer was about to carry away. The worker set the plastic sheet on fire, and only by pure chance did the tent with the volunteer inside did not catch fire as well.
The same guy later slapped the phone of a volunteer out of her hand and destroyed it with his baton stick. A second worker threw a small explosive at another volunteer who attempted to document the scene. Both workers were wearing hats with Chetnik symbols, and — as can be vaguely seen on the photo — a Chetnik flag together with a Serbian flag had been put up on the Squat walls. The Deputy Mayor of Šid also arrived at Squat, shouting at the volunteers to leave the property which — according to him — is under administration of Šid municipality at the moment. When police arrived shortly after, they took all the volunteers to the police station with the police van.
They were held for 6 hours at the police station without being given the opportunity to make an official statement, and without being given any concrete information about the procedure. Ultimately, they were subjected to a trial in which they were accused of having attacked the workers. The judge sentenced two of three volunteers for violating public order. They could choose between 20 days in jail and a 20.000 Serbian dinar fine. All three were asked to leave Serbia within one week and to not come back for a period of six months.
Protests Break Out in CPR Brunelleschi
The night of Sunday, February 2nd, into Monday, people detained in the CPR Brunelleschi in Turin revolted against their detention and the climate of terror they are forced to live in. The newly-rebuilt purple area, which was destroyed in an earlier protest, was torn down again. A dozen police and military personnel were lightly injured during the clashes.
More information is hard to come by because police seized phones and isolated detainees from communicating with the outside.
Outside of the CPR, local solidarity groups participated in the national weekend of action against administrative detention. A rally was organized on Saturday in front of the luxury hostel Combo before a bike ride of solidarity to the CPR Brunelleschi, where protestors reminded passers-by via a megaphone of the several people killed by the state in CPR centers across Italy.
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