Greece activists cleared


A court in Greece has cleared at least 26 activists who were were arrested by the Greek court for pro-refugee solidarity action. Those who were arrested were foreigners from Austria, Britain , Germany , Morocco, Spain and Switzerland.

The Thessaloniki court threw out charges of “disturbing a religious gathering”. Yet, 19 of the activists were given suspension for six-month prison sentences for refusing to be fingerprinted by police. The ruling however remains suspended over a three-year period. The activists begqn scattering leaflets into the Thessaloniki cathedral that read “solidarity with refugees” before they were arrested by anti-riot forces.

This protest occurred after the city authorised last week for refugees to be forced out of three buildings where they had been squatting, including an orphanage belonging to the diocese. An incendiary device was also set off earlier on Sunday outside the company that demolished the orphanage. Nobody was hurt.

A number of abandoned  buildings in Athens and Thessaloniki in recent months have been taken over by activists and groups providing refugees and migrants with housing, despite concerns about the poor humanitarian conditions in Greek camps.

In particular, a recent news report by Aljazeera approximated that there are more than 2,000 refugees currently living in such squats – mostly former schools.

While Greece’s Syriza government has been quietly tolerant of the squatters, local authorities have taken a harsher stance, claiming there are concerns of health and safety hazards. However Greek authorities have faced criticism for the poor conditions of the camps.

Tamana Mirzada

Tamana Mirzada is a recent communications graduate from Macquarie University. She is passionate about storytelling and writing and interested in social cohesion issues with a strong emphasis on human rights.