Report by comrades from Thessaloniki.
The trial against the arrested at the eviction of the squatted house Albatros on April 5th 2017 that was supposed to happen last Thursday 4th of May was postponed again to December 15th 2017.
The weeks between the trial and the day of the trial the Greek mainstream media has built up a campaign targeting autonomous solidarity movements. “Alpha TV” has tried to link demonstrations against the closing of the borders to the international acivists that have been arrested during the eviction. This narrative is used to victimize and mute people that are rising up against the injustices they are facing on the one hand and is on the other hand trying to criminalize structures and movements that refuse to participate in the management of migration movements by only providing humanitarian aid and that struggle against the political and systematic roots of this situation. Like this the media and the governments are trying to delegitimize resistance against the system of borders and nations and the connection of the struggle for freedom of movement with other social struggles, like the struggle for housing or the struggle against capital.
The owner of the former squat Albatros is using this media attention to depict herself as the victim. She is still refusing the former inhabitants of Albatros the possibility to take their belongings from the house.
This is the statement of the accused for the squatting of the house Albatros:
“The legal situation and the living conditions of people forced to migrate in Greece and other countries in Europe are not giving people a chance to have a life in dignity. The conditions in the camps on the islands and the mainland of Greece are not even providing people with their basic needs, not to mention the freedom to make choices about one’s own life or participating in a society or community. The EU Turkey deal and the closing of the so called “Balkan route” have led to people being stuck here and even dying because of the horrible conditions in the camps, prisons and detention centers they are forced to live in. These circumstances have also led to the fact that they are forced to choose dangerous ways of traveling when a safe and “legal” way was made impossible.
The current system of only being able to obtain a legal status via Skype leads to a situation where people are divided in having legal papers and not having legal papers and is therefore excluding an ever growing group of people from access to any form of humanitarian aid structures. People are forced to live on the streets and due to racist police practices like racial profiling, they live in constant fear of police brutality, being controlled, put in jail and deported either to their home countries or third countries like Turkey, where their life can be in danger and their living conditions are even worse.
There is clearly a need for adequate housing and conditions that allow people to be human again and not the object of the political despotism of the EU migration policy. The occupation of a house that has been abandoned for years like many others in Thessaloniki is a reaction to these circumstances and an attempt to give people back the dignity they are deprived from. It is also a political act against the capitalist right for property, a system that is establishing and maintaining inequality. We do not see the squatting of this house as a criminal act but a form of political resistance against a humanitarian crisis that was created on purpose in order to scare people from overcoming the divisions of rich and poor, europeans and non-europeans, that the system of capital and nation state needs in order to reproduce itself. The squatting of the house was considered a danger for this system and the eviction of it was therefore a political act by the authorities and not just an act that wants to give back the house to it’s “owners”. It is a part of an ongoing war against self-organized and autonomous projects as it already became obvious in the evictions of three houses in Thessaloniki in summer 2016 and the recent evictions on Lesvos and in Athens. The treatment of us by the authorities and media during the eviction and in the police station as well as the treatment of us and supporters in the courthouse last Thursday where we were constantly exposed to verbal and physical violence, is just another proof that the authorities want to make an example of us against autonomous solidarity structures. Since the beginning of the so called “refugee crisis” this strategy has not changed.
It is the first time that the people without a european passport are also accused for squatting and this has the purpose of scaring others from becoming politically active against their oppression and isolation in the society. This is targeting a group of people that has been labeled as “economic migrants”, which means they are already facing a huge discrimination in the asylum procedure and are more threatened with deportations than others. We do not agree with the accusation of the destruction of the house. The house was in a very bad condition when it was found with the walls falling off and dirt everywhere. The more than 100 people that have called this house their home over the time of it’s existence as a squat have put constant work and effort into rebuilding and improving the conditions of the house.
We demand all charges against us and our friends that still have to face trial for the events last Wednesday to be dropped. We condemn the imprisonment of our friend Aziz, who was held prisoner for two more weeks for not being able to obtain legal papers and demand an end of the practice of imprisonment of people practicing their right to freedom of movement in Greece and elsewhere. FREEDOM FOR ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS! FREEDOM TO CHOOSE WHERE AND HOW WE WANT TO LIVE!”
In order to cover the costs that are following with the trial there is a need for support. Also physical support in order to keep independent and autonomous solidarity structures with people stuck in Greece ongoing is needed. If you want to support the people of Albatros in their struggle write an email with your pgp encryption key to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We also support the accused of Albatros squat with the ‘cantevictsolidarity’-campaign.