The police in Greece have violently repressed hundreds of migrants attempting to cross the border into North Macedonia. Meanwhile in Athens, migrants were prevented from travelling northwards as the Larissa train station was shut down.
The cries of migrants were at last heard in the media this week, after a coordinated wave of migrants collectively tried to make their way northwards and cross the border to reach North Macedonia.
Over the last three and a half years, migrants in Greece (who are mostly from the Middle East) have been facing a grim new reality. In line with the policies of the European Union, national borders have been closed, leaving thousands of migrants stranded in horrific camps all over Greece.
The migrants who live there have only their most basic survival needs covered by EU funding, in collaboration with charities and NGOs. This ‘humanitarian’ aid is nowhere near sufficient to make life bearable for migrants in Greece; this is proven by the increasing number of suicides and suicide attempts by children as young as ten in refugee camps. It is hard to imagine the conditions which migrants are now living under.
Now, the Greek state (with SYRIZA in government), in amicable collaboration with the EU, is again violently suppressing the movement of migrants. At the border, migrants were met with tear gas as police blocked their route. In Athens, migrants were prevented from travelling northwards towards the border. This latter incident is unprecedented, as the train would not have crossed any international borders, and the passengers had already purchased tickets. At Greece’s border with North Macedonia, the police assaulted and threw tear gas at families with small children and only a few pieces of luggage.
Greek police fired tear gas and stun grenades when refugees tried to head toward the border in northern Greece to reach more prosperous EU countries. pic.twitter.com/xsBMqyL1iK
— AJ+ (@ajplus) April 5, 2019
The courage of the migrants who broke Europe’s border regimes in 2016 put the European bourgeoisie on high alert. Since then, a clear far-right threat has emerged in all the countries of the European periphery. The EU has made a series of treaties with Turkey to prevent migrants from reaching Europe. Illegal transport systems that strip migrants of all their belongings, and the murderous and abusive acts of the Greek border patrol and FRONTEX intensify the desperation of these people’s reality.
Dire situations like these should remind militants that the struggle for emancipation is a struggle that must take place today, and not be postponed to when conditions are easier. The primary consideration that should govern our actions is the acute need of someone in peril.
Message from refugees waiting at Larissa Station (via a source here)
We want to inform you that the railway has been shut down by the management and not by the refugees who are present at the station.
We, all the refugees present here, have valid identification papers and tickets to travel to Thessaloniki. We also have legal residence in Greece.
We want to inform you, as well, that the behaviour of the government and train company management is very racist. We want to try to leave this country because Greece doesn’t have the power to manage so many people.