The tents of the hunger strikers in Syntagma. Photos: Gerasimos Domenikos / FOS PHOTOS

Are You Syrious? — Weekly Digest (8/11/2017–14/11/2017)

Summarized: this week’s reports about the refugee situation in Greece courtesy of Are you Syrious?.

Between Friday, 10/11/2017, and Saturday, 11/11/2017, the dead bodies of three children who tried to reach Europe washed up on the northern shore of Lesvos. AYS reports that the first was found on Friday, reportedly a boy aged between 12 and 13, near Madamados. The next day the body of a girl of the same age was found in the same area. A third body was found a few hours later.

This is the last in countless numbers of tragedies that are a direct consequence of the migration policies of the European Union.

Only one day after the EU Commissioner for migration, Avramopoulos, hailed the EU-Turkey deal as a great success and an example of the relations between the Union and the countries of the Eastern and Southern Mediterranean, the three bodies that washed ashore represent most clearly the essence of this deal. No mystery in that.
From 2014 Mediterranean sea took more than 14.000 lives.

Hunger Strike — Athens

7 women and 7 men finished their hunger strike at main square of Athens — Syntagma yesterday 14/11/2017. Read our coverage:

The result from this short-term blocking was the trapping of thousands of refugees in Greece who for over 18 months have been living in refugee camps under extremely poor conditions, without knowing when they will be brought together with their families again. In most cases of the strikers their request for family reunification has already been approved and the 6-month limit for the relocation the law prescribes has been exceeded. However, the Greek and German states continue to delay the reunification blaming one another instead.
Press conference at the ending of hunger strike (Photo: Gašper Andrinek)
After 14 days the 14 refugees decided to stop the hunger strike. Just before their health was in critical condition and just before the transfers to hospitals started. This decision was particularly weighted by the responsibility of the strikers for the children that are with them and their families which are waiting for them in agony in Germany. The end of the strike, however, does not mean the end of the struggle. The strikers declare that the struggle will be continued with the same determination, persistence and militancy. The demand for family reunification for refugees remains a topical demand and will remain until even the last family is reunited, against state modulations, authoritarianism and racist politics by Greece, Germany and the EU in general.

Read the whole statement below:

Hunger Strike — Lesvos

For 27 days refugees in Sappho Square on the island of Lesvos are hunger striking. They are protesting the inhumane and unsafe conditions in the Moria camp on the island. On Monday 13/11/2017 those who have been protesting put out a call for a march on the 20th of November, starting at Sappho Square, to show solidarity and put pressure on the authorities.

Strikers in Sappho Square. (Photo: Arash Hampay)
We call to you to create a historical day, when we call for justice together. We request you to walk with us and call with us to demand the freedom of those who do not have refuge.

The activist Arash Hampay recently shared a disturbing, yet sadly familiar, story from Lesvos this week.

One of the Iranian refugees living in Lesvos, Ali Akbar Farsi, who is 17 years old, said that he was arrested on the street by Police without any charges, beaten while handcuffed in the police station, and repeatedly beaten in this humiliating state and eventually released.

Refugees living in the hotspots have little legal recourse or protection, and police officers are chronically underpaid and under-trained. With these conditions, police brutality should come as no surprise. Most of the stories of police violence will never see the light of day, as those who are abused have few means to make their voices heard. Hampay’s story shows just one of the reasons why those in Sappho Square are protesting, AYS reports.

AYS reports that Hesam Shaeri Hesari, who said that if he would be deported, he would set himself on fire, was arrested two nights ago in Mytilene. He is currently in Moria pending deportation. A refugee from Iran, Hesam claims to be persecuted for religious reasons, and a return to Iran would prove dangerous to his life.


  • On Monday 13/11/2017 Associated Press reported that an alleged trafficker was shot by police in Thessaloniki while transporting 10 Pakistani refugees inside of his van. Police said that they attempted to pull the driver over, and a chase ensued when he ignored them. The van overturned, and have alleged that the driver tried to attack them after the crash. The refugees inside the van were injured during the crash, but all of them are expected to live, as is the alleged trafficker.

Turkish Coastguard attacks refugee boat

A video, shot on 10/11/2017 AYS reports, shows the Turkish coastguard’s shocking disregard for human life as they harass and allegedly fire shots at a refugee boat. Once a Greek coastguard boat appeared, 17 refugees jumped off the boat and swam towards the Greeks. The remaining people who were unable to swim were returned to Turkey.

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