Due to its geographical proximity to Italy and its busy commercial port, the city of Patras has recently been utilised as a transferring hub in the long journey of many migrants, primarily of Kurdish and Afghani origin. The migrants will arrive to Patras having crossed most of the Turkish mainland, and after boarding modern-day slave ships to cross the Aegean. Alternatively, some will enter Greece via the European Union’s “arrival hall”, i.e. crossing the minefields next to river Evros, by the North-eastern Greek border. Those lucky enough to survive will arrive to the city of Patras (or the port city of Igoumenitsa, in the North-East), from where they will try to secretly cling on the back or underneath of one of the lorries boarding the vessels to Italy. From there, they will try to make their way up to Northern European countries (typically Germany or the UK) where they can reunite with relatives and friends.
This is, quite literally, a deathtrip for many: in the past few weeks only, in two separate incidents, two migrants (including a 14-year old Afghani boy) were found dead in trucks that arrived to Italy.
During their month, if not year-long trips, these people face unbearable living conditions, humiliation and prosecution. The “welcoming” authorities of the city of Patras are sure to offer them all of the above…
On the 23d of January, a mass-scale police operation saw most of the migrant camp destroyed. Two days earlier, the authorities had “warned” of the forthcoming attack, by distributing a mafia-style unsigned document to the migrants, asking them to leave.
And then, a few days later, on the 29th of January, something magical happened. A migrant solidarity demo passed by the camp, in the hope to persuade some of the migrants to join in. Not only a few, but the vast majority of the camp’s migrants (over 1,000 people) joined in, took the streets and shouted out loud what they’ve been seeking for: We need help, we want asylum!
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