As we are working on our detailed evaluation on the NoBorder-Camp 2016 in Thessaloniki, we want to share with you our little summary based on our social media entries from the days on the camp. So much happened at the camp (and we have not listed the many workshops here), it is not easy to have an overview. We hope we can help out with that! Enjoy!
Friday July 15th
The convoy arrived, the tents were set up, and we began with an opening concert. Even the Brits made it here despite being well and truly beyond Europe. We began planning for the week ahead.
Saturday July 16th
New friends from local relocation centres joined us for an afternoon of workshops and discussions centred around the topic of Balkan Solidarity and a women’s centre was set up. Beyond Europe members prepared for a long night as we ran one of the security shifts for the camp.
Sunday July 17th
300 people from the No Borders camp protested the relocation centre ‘Sofitex’ in Kalachori in the west of
Thessaloniki. 1,500 refugees live here, in cramped, hot tents with many mosquitos and poor provisions. We were told that ten minutes before the convoy arrived the centre chiefs ordered people to clean the living spaces and turned the water supply back on. The protest was passionate, as you can see in the photos some of the refugees took part.
Beyond Europe and friends’ first action of the camp was to occupy the national tv station ERT3, which has been suffering under austerity measures and used to be run self-organized. We recorded interviews with comrades from Greece, Syria, Morocco and England speaking about the refugee crisis and Fortress Europe and activist friends from Turkey making a statement about the recent coup. After our success at the TV Station we marched back amid loud protest chants from all over the world, including French, Italian and Kurdish. Our actions were screened on national Greek television.
On arrival at the No Border Camp, we joined a spontaneous refugee led demonstration, taking to the streets of Thessaloniki and collectively blocking a main road and temporarily occupying the central square in front of the university.
Monday July 18th
Following concerns around safety at the camp there was a feminist demonstration throughout the site, rousing residents with banner drops, chants and speeches. Later the camp had an injection of energy when we welcomed in a 300 strong convoy of Spaniards. Beyond Europe’s interviews from the occupation were screened successfully and we started putting together our next actions.
Tuesday July 19th
Together with our international friends we gathered at the German Consulate where we stood against the German hegemony within the EU, austerity and fortress Europe.
We laid lifejackets from refugees in Lesvos outside the doors and faced down Greek police.
To show the specific politics of isolation and the inhumane ideology of those responsible for the mass murdering of thousands of people drowning in the mediterranean sea. The refugee crisis does not begin in Greece- others do the dirty work but Germany has blood on its hands.
We then marched to the French consulate. “We see a connection between the crisis laboratory in Greece and the labour law that has been brutally forced onto the French society”
On our way back to the camp comrades spontaneously entered the radio station where they made an intervention about the NoBorder camp and the action today in a live show hosted by two employees who were part of the staff that run ERT3 self-organised.
We still have five more days and more actions planned- watch this space!
ogether with around 1000 NoBorder-activists from the camp we visited two so called “detention centers” in Paranesti and Xanthi northeast of Thessaloniki. Several hundred refugees, especially from the camp in Idomeni, are being held captive here under disastrous conditions; sleeping under the burning sun, bein denied basic goods etc. In Paranesti we were able to force in a 20-head-delegation into the center for public attention as well as basic medical and juridical support. While the delegation was inside, we held a loud and strong demonstration in front of the entrance. In Xanthi the cops – known for their racist violence against the refugees – did not let anyone it at all. Activists then started opening the first fence of the center and clashes erupted with police using batons andteargas.
local press impact of theactions at the “relocation centers”:
Today in the morning, there was an action at the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Thessaloniki, one of the ideological and “scientific” actors of the deadly European migration politics. Their offices need some clean up now and tags on the wall show, what the activists think of this institution.
Later in the evening the “Migrants´Pride”-march took 5000 people to the streets of Thessaloniki-city. Especially the refugee block in the front created a strong, political but also joyful and empowering atmosphere, being supported by all other demonstrators. Today we experienced many different ways of protesting against the Fortress and the border regime of Europe coming together. Many creative actions happened, for example putting up paintings from children of the “relocation center” Sofitex, which we visited at thefirst day of the camp or spraying anti racist tags in many languages across the city.
Friday, 22th July
Today, one of our most important aims as Beyond Europe for this No Border Camp was fulfilled. At Karoulou Dieh 34 in downtown Thessaloniki, over 100 people (Refugees & Activists) have squatted a building and are now using it as a Social Center and Housing Project for Refugees. This action has special meaning to us, because it is maybe the only achievement from the NoBorder Camp with the strong potential to stay, even when the camp is over.
A couple of days before, many of us were shocked by the attempt of the military coup and the counter coup with fascist consequences by Erdogan. The demonstration to the Turkish consulate, which has been important anyway especially because of the shady deal between the EU and Turkey for fighting refugees further offshore, now got more meaning and mobilized 400 people to the demonstration where we took part as well.
Saturday, 23rd July
Today we demonstrated with over 300 people from the No Border Camp and comrades from surrounding villages in Kastanies close to the Greek/Turkish border. We wanted to reach the fence but the police closed the way and clashes erupted.
Although we did not tear down the wall this time, it was important to take our protest against Fortress Europe and the border regime to one of the deadliest borders of whole Europe today. The shady deal between the EU and Turkey made this border even harder to cross and makes the majority of refugees take the Mediterranean route, which costs more life than this on-land-border.
300 people demonstrated in the border village Kastanies at the Greek/Turkish border and were on the way to the fence. Slogans on many languages were shouted, because of the actual coup and counter-coup in Turkey also against Erdogan. Police stopped the demonstration with teargas, clashes erupted.
Comeback to the mountain of Chalkdiki
The NoBorder camp is over now, but the work is not done yet for us. After our last year’s camp in Ierissos and the intense theoretical engagement and practical solidarity with the local struggle against the reactivation of the gold mines, today we joined the locals’ call for ademonstration with 250 people on the very same mountain. We were able to mobilize one bus and some cars from the No Border camp in Thessaloniki as well.
The local movement is not as vital as a year ago. Nonetheless or just because of that it was important tous to be present there and show our solidarity once again with the local movement and their supporters.
We wish the comrades in Chalkidiki much power to continue their struggle! We will come back!