Feminist Solidarity after evictions in Greece

We would like to share the call for solidarity from “Feminists for migrant solidarity in Athens”. On the same issue, an office of the LINKE party (sister organisation of SYRIZA) was occupied in Dresden. Like the squatters demanded, Katja Kipping (Leader of the LINKE party) contacted SYRIZA officials to condemn the police action in Thessaloniki. (Declaration from the occupation in Dresden)


During the early morning of the 27th of July, riot police evicted 3 squats in the city of Thessaloniki, (Orfanotrofio, Nikis Avenue, and Hurriya) which were were being used for the housing needs of migrants and people in solidarity. Heavy police forces raided the squats and detained 83 people, out of whom 74 were later accused of “disturbing private peace”.

As one of the arrestees described the operation:
What we lived in the house of Nikis Avenue the dawn of Wednesday was shocking. Police invaded without any warning, after breaking the doors with hammers holding torches and guns. Without saying a word about what is going on, they put us in handcuffs and tire ups and took us all to the basement, along with minor refugees who were watching the operation in panic and their parents tied with their arms behind their backs, since nobody saw to move them away. They even put handcuffs on a 15-year old refugee that they removed only following repeated pleas.

This brutal police operation culminated in the demolition of Orfanotrofio squat following the command of the Greek church, legal owner of the building, and the relocation of migrants in military camps ‘for their own sake’.Macabre irony to say the least, since it was in one of these camps that a day later a 29-year old woman who had an epileptic seizure died due to the complete lack of medical care. On the other hand, under the rubble of Orfanotrophio squat tons of medicine, food, clothes, as well as the occupants’ personal belongings were buried. Only a few hours later, the mayor of Athens, Giorgos Kaminis, added another twist to the story by submitting a lawsuit against the occupation of municipal buildings that are currently housing migrants in Athens.

This unprecedented violent move towards migrants and the solidarity movement that has formed around them comes a few days after the end of the No Border Camp in Thessaloniki. For days and nights, major national and local institutions, such as the University of Thessaloniki, the Greek church, public prosecutors, the media, the mayor, ministers and the right-wing oppositional party, had united in a concerted effort to vilify activists that had joined together to challenge the anti-migratory policies of Europe. This media-led operation paved the way for this coordinated police operation to be delivered in the public realm as a natural solution. Of course, the timing was strategically chosen so as to ensure less reaction and more damage. Indeed, the consequences of this heavy-handed repression were mostly felt by the migrants themselves, the local movement and those few who had remained to support it with their physical presence.

The message conveyed by the state and its allies is clear: there is no space for self-organised structures that foster relations of solidarity and proximity with the migrants. Spaces of commonality, where daily life, experiences and struggles are shared must be destroyed. Migrants shall remain “others”, either enemies confined in detention camps, or victims, passive recipients of philanthropic gestures that preserve their marginalisation and unequal social position.

Our message is clear too: For every building you evict, we will squat two. We will raise the cost of every move you make. Nothing will remain unanswered. Our solidarity is stronger than your bulldozers. You will not take us down. We will fight your racist, sexist borders and everything that comes with them.

As a reply to the eviction of the 3 squats, numerous occupations, demonstrations and actions were organised and continue to take place across the country and messages of solidarity were heard all over the world.

The trial of the people arrested at Nikis Avenue resulted in the acquittal of three and the conviction of six. The trials of the people arrested at Orfanotrofio and Hurryia squats are scheduled to take place on the 3rd and 5th of August respectively. During an intervention that disrupted the morning mass at the cathedral of Thessaloniki on the 31st of July, 26 more people were arrested with the charge of “disturbance of religious gathering” and face trial on the 1st of August.

Spread the news, show your solidarity through words and actions!