Athens (Greece): Statement of CityPlaza Squat against the threat of eviction

handsoffsquatscityplaza

City Plaza will not bend / Resist the “immigration & passport bureaus”, the frightful flags of states and diplomacy war weapons factories

The court order for the evacuation of the Refugee Accommodation Space City Plaza is the latest scene in the repressive management of refugees and the solidarity movement. From the closure of the borders to the shameful EU-Turkey deal, from the prisonlike camps to the evacuation of squats, a policy of casting refugees as a peculiar enemy is being articulated. [Read More]

Wuppertal (Germany): Call for solidarity with City Plaza and all other refugee squats in Greece

Hands off from City Plaza and all other Refugee Squats!

At June 7th, 2017 the news came out that a court ordered the eviction of City Plaza Refugee Accommodation and two other refugee squats in Athens. Projects like City Plaza succeed in where the Greek government and other EU member states fail; a self-determined life, a life with dignity for those who traveled to a putative Europe under extreme hard conditions. A life where it doesn’t matter which papers people have but instead a life where people can live together in a self-organised way.

Since the former City Plaza hotel was squatted more than a year ago, after the building was empty for several years, more than 1500 people lived in the building. 400 at any one time. Among them where many refugees and supporters from many countries. While EU member states closed their borders, sharpened their asylum laws, detaining and deporting more and more refugees, people in Athens have buildup self-organised projects like City Plaza together with refugees.

In the past year repression against refugees and supporters has increased with evictions, arrests and police violence in various EU member states. Some of the squats where refugees lived in a self-organised way were evicted, for instance in Thessaloniki, Athens and Belgrade. Again and again there are reports from police violence against refugees in France, Croatia, Hungary and other European countries. Since the EU/Turkey deal refugees are being detained at the Greek islands and deported back to Turkey. But also in Germany more and more refugees are being detained and deported. [Read More]

Athens: Open Letter To Ms. Aliki Papachela, owner of the City Plaza Hotel

City_Plaza_AthensOPEN LETTER
To Ms. Aliki Papachela, owner of the City Plaza hotel

Dear Madam,

Sympathizing with your agony for the 81.500 euro bill sent to you by EYDAP (the Greek water company), we feel the need to clarify the following: on the day that we entered the hotel (22 April 2016), EYDAP technicians visited the hotel in order to read the water meter so that, given that the building was now under occupation, the owner, you, that is, would no longer have to bear the burden of the costs, which you too had also requested through an out of course dispute resolution document to EYDAP. In the immediately following period, we requested a regular connection from EYDAP, yet this was refused on the grounds that the owner of the building had to agree to it as well. The strange thing is that the EYDAP bill was calculated using household pricing, when it should in fact be calculated using professional (if not humanitarian) pricing, as was the case when the hotel was in operation, which resulted in a bill that is much higher than it would otherwise be. Therefore, while this bill poses no threat to you, EYDAP gave a «gift of propaganda» to you by issuing an extortionately high bill, which you do not have to pay (you admit as much yourself), but which you use for propaganda purposes. We imagine that, even within your value system, public health is above public order, so we hope you understand our «illegal» act, given that you are not even required to pay for it. [Read More]

Athens: 400 refugees, 7 floors, 1 home – Solidarity space City Plaza Hotel

city_plaza_athensSince 2015 and the emergence of the refugee movement to Europe, Greece has become a major stopover on the journey of people seeking a better and safer life. Thousands of immigrants from Syria, Kurdistan, Iraq, Afghanistan and other war zones have abandoned their homeland in search of a new home, where their life and freedom are not compromised.

Unfortunately, the EU and Greek governments have been unable (and largely unwilling) to respond to the issue. Instead of providing safety and solidarity to war victims, they have signed a (rather shameful) agreement with Turkey, with the purpose of “managing refugee flows” and further securitizing the “forbidden” European borders. As a result, thousands of refugees are currently trapped in Greece, cramped inside detention centers and camps, away from the public eye.

In this context, on 22 April 2016, activists and refugees squatted the City Plaza Hotel in Athens, which had been abandoned for seven years, in order to create “here and now” a model of dignified housing inside the city. Since then, City Plaza became a home for 400 refugees, including 100 families and 168 children. More than 100 solidarians (locals, activists and volunteers) have mobilized to break with the reality of detention, to build new social relations and multicultural forms of coexistence between locals and immigrants, and to animate a living example of self-organization. [Read More]

Greece: Criminalizing solidarity. Syriza’s war on the movements

20160729_occupied_syriza_hq_ThessalonikiThe eviction of three occupied refugee shelters in Thessaloniki marks another episode in the Greek government’s war on grassroots solidarity efforts.

In the early morning of July 27, refugee families and supporters who were sleeping at Thessaloniki’s three occupied refugee shelters — Nikis, Orfanotrofeio and Hurriya — were woken up by police in riot gear. In a well-orchestrated police operation, hundreds of people were detained. Most occupants with refugee status were released, while some were transported to military-run refugee reception centers. The rest of the occupants, 74 people of more than a dozen different nationalities, were taken into police custody.

Immediately after Orfanotrofeio was evacuated, bulldozers marched in and demolished the building, an abandoned orphanage “donated” five years ago to the enterprising Greek Orthodox Church by a previous government. Under the rubble were buried tons of clothes, foodstuffs and medicine collected there by grassroots solidarity structures to be distributed to refugee families in need. Hours later, No Border Kitchen, an autonomous structure providing food to refugees in the island of Lesvos, was also forcefully evicted by the police. [Read More]

Greece: City Plaza Hotel Athens

City_Plaza_AthensA refugee-housing squat as an example of how to fight social struggles together on a daily level and for another tomorrow.

„The City Plaza squat at 78 Acharnon celebrates its first month. The hotel now houses refugee families totalling 385 people, including 180 children. These include 22 single parent families, as well as people with disabilities. The nationalities that make up City Plaza include Afghans, Kurds, Syrians, Palestinians, Iranians, Iraqis and Pakistanis. The families being housed at City Plaza were selected on the basis of their previous “housing” arrangement as well as on the particular problems being faced by each one. Each family lives in a separate room of the hotel, while all inhabitants are provided with breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as with hygiene products and other essentials. Nearly all are covered through solidarity offerings, while the few purchases that need to be made are financed through donations sourced from within Greece and from abroad.

In a framework of self-organization and coexistence, there are teams for cleaning, cooking, security, education and childcare, medical care, communications, reception, as well as regular assemblies of refugees and solidarians. Initiatives such as that of City Plaza, apart from granting obvious rights and needs, also put in practice a conception of everyday life which aims to, through self organization and “bottom up” emancipation, ultimately form a space of freedom and creativity, which will act as living proof of the society which we envision.“ This is how the call for an Open Assembly in the City Plaza Hotel in Athens starts. [Read More]

Athens: Refugee Accommodation Centre City Plaza

2016_Athens_Refugees_Welcome_demoSince the morning of 22/4/2016, the abandoned Hotel “City Plaza” in Athens has been turned into an Accommodation Centre for Refugees. Currently refugee families from different nationalities, together with hundreds of people of solidarityare working collectively for the cleaning, repairing and organization of space, so that it can open soon as a project of self-organization and solidarity, as a center of struggle against racism and exclusion, for the right to free movement, decent living conditions and equal rights.
The Solidarity Itiniative to Economic and Political Refugees invites everyone topractical and material support of the Accommodation Centre “City Plaza”. For the next few days and as long as there are works in progress in the building, it will not be possible to accommodate more refugees.

From the summer 2015 and on, Europe and Greece have been found unable to respond to the issues emerging from the largest refugees’ wave in their territory, since the World War II, in the source of which there can be found the declaration and act of war, on a military as well as an economic level, from the countries of the North to the countries of the South, which has lead their populations to poverty, fear and oppression. [Read More]