Swarming NoBorder-activities in Greece from 27.8.-11.9.2010

Welcome to Europe on Tour

15.Aug.10 - These days, Greece is in the headlines because of the crisis: the imminant threat of state bankrupcy, the dictate by IMF and the EU to cut the budget which will drive big parts of the population into poverty, who react with furious protest, general strikes and big demonstrations. It is hard to say how the situation will develop this summer. It should be obvious though that this is not solely a Greek crisis. The Euro is stumbling in Greece, but it is the Europe of Maastricht which strikes back.

But it is also the Europe of Schengen, the Europe of border regime and migration control, which is active in Greece. After the routes crossing the west atlantic and the mediterranean sea have been largely blocked, Greece has become the main gate to the EU for refugees and migrants, due to its geographical position and uncontrollable sea borders.

Last year a noborder camp took place on Lesvos, one of the main arrival islands in the Aegean Sea. The pictures of the totally overcrowded island prison and the deeply inhuman internment practices have not been forgotten. However, the revolts and campaigns that led to the closing of Pagani prison were just as impressive, and in many refugee camps in the whole of Europe the stories of ‘noborder’ is still being told.

Europe is intervening. As if to quickly patch the situation, Frontex, the European border agency is involved in establishing a system of selection and deportation which is equivalent to European ‘standards’. “Screening centres” will be the new name for the detention centres in Greece. They target that which had been possible despite all the repression and chaos in Greece: freedom of movement, the ability to continue the journey to the countries in the centre of Europe.

The start of the swarming noborder activities will be parallel actions in Venna (north of Greece) and Samos (an Aegean island): the weekend of the 27th and 28th of August will be both giving the old detention system the final push (since in Venna, the conditions are pretty much like they were in Pagani) and confronting the new “screening system” in Samos, which relies on selection and deportation.

The following weekend (3rd and 4th of September), the international trade fair takes place in Thessaloniki, an international economic event with a highly political profile. It is where usually, the Greek government presents its economical policies for the coming year. Given the crisis, bigger protests are to be expected.

At the same time, Welcome to Europe will travel form Samos to Lesvos: the island will also be a gateway for refugees this year. Like last year, we want to turn the island into an island of welcome and invite everybody to join us.

The weekend of 10th and 11th of September will then conclude the swarming noborder in Athens, with a big action targeting Frontex.

Due to the crisis, not all of these plans are definitive. Last year the hunger strikes in Pagani led to the noborder starting several days early, which came as a surprise and had us change the entire programme. This time, we know that we need to act according to the developments: struggles dont usually follow a programme. We will start our journey and will see, what it brings. We invite all those that bring the readiness to act spontaneaously.

Welcome to Europe Network