UPDATES FROM ELEONAS’ CAMP
The resistance on Eleonas camp against its forced closure continues.
Residents keep opposing the forced relocations organized by direction of the camp in an attempt to gradually empty the camp. They denounce the UE racist policies in border management and the results of their application in cities and camps, veritable lagers for people without European documents.
The plan that the city administration has had in store for years for Eleonas is to raze the entire neighborhood, which among other things houses the Sunday bazaar, and drive away those who pass through it to build a brand new stadium. This is a gentrification effort in line with what is happening in other parts of the city, such as the central square of Exarcheia, now completely closed and militarized after the start of the new subway construction site.
To oppose the forced closure plan, residents are organizing blockades of the direction’s activities and refusing forced transfers to other camps, located in isolated locations far from the cities, from which it is impossible to find a job or send the children to school.
The transfers take place through blackmail and lies: people are persuaded to accept under the pretext that this is the only way to continue the asylum application procedures, practices that then in most cases will lead nowhere. To those who refuse, the management disconnects the electricity and water connections.
The last bus left Eleonas taking some 30 people away in the direction of Schistos on August 18, after a long night of resistance. The camp residents and sympathizers were violently attacked by riot police who forced the door lock by charging and baton-charging people sitting on the ground, throwing gas and pepper spray. The police thus invaded the camp and stones were thrown in response.
To prevent the planning of further relocation, the camp residents organized a new blockade of the leadership’s activities on Friday morning.
Upon her arrival at around 7 a.m., director Maria Dimitra Nioutsikou, already known in Samos and Skaramangas camps, was escorted by riot units in the direction of the camp gate. Here a dozen women along with their children created a human shield to prevent access.
In Eleonas, it is the women of the Congolese community who are organizing the resistance, being always on the front lines during the blockades and protests that have lasted for months now.
After an initial retreat, the police moved back toward the gate. Here they forced through the dumpster barricade, charged the group of people pushing them against the gate and violently beat some of the solidarians.
Six of them were arrested and are to appear for trial on Sept. 1 on charges of resisting, threatening and insulting, disrupting a public service and disturbing the peace.
The police attack continued with chases and charges inside the camp where residents blocked the door to the office in which the director was accompanied by the riot units. On several occasions women and children were pushed and assaulted by the police
until the director and other ministry employees left the scene, protected by the police and accompanied by insults from the residents.
The repressive machine is in motion and aims to create divisions and rifts within the camp: those taking part in the resistance are receiving further threats and blackmail from the direction. Moreover the Greek immigration ministry posted on its social channels defamations to feed the fascist propaganda of the Mitsotakis government.
The residents of Eleonas camp are not allowing themselves to be blackmailed or intimidated, they are continuing to resist and are asking for international solidarity and support.