Socialist Worker

Repression against migrants across the EU

Issue No. 2674

Fortress Europe

Fortress Europe


A deadly crackdown on refugees is spreading across Europe.

The recently-elected Tory government in Greece has announced plans to deport 10,000 people by the end of next year.

Those expelled would be refugees who have been denied entry and will now be removed to the harsh regime in Turkey.

The acceleration in repression came days after a fire in a packed camp housing refugees—followed by riots.

The fire claimed the life of at least one woman at the Moria camp on the eastern Aegean island of Lesbos. Some reports said there were other deaths.

Moria was built to house 3,000 people. There are now 13,000 people there living in tents and shipping containers. Residents have repeatedly protested—and been attacked by riot police. Two fires broke out last weekend and quickly spread.

After a woman died, people rose up in protest, claiming firefighters were slow to arrive.

Lefteris Economou, Greece’s deputy minister for citizen protection, coldly remarked, “A charred body was found, causing foreign migrants to rebel.”

Riot police met the protests with tear gas. In reply refugees chanted, “Kill the police.”

NGO workers on Lesbos said the riots reflected growing frustration at the way desperate people are penned up and left without hope.

“Imagine you flee the horror in Syria or a similar situation and you come to Europe thinking it will be a safe haven,” said one NGO worker.

“But instead you and your children are stuffed into a shipping container behind razor wire and fences.

“And this goes on for months, and years, and you won’t be allowed into Greece or Europe.

“Don’t be surprised when people rebel.”

A woman and child died in a similar blaze three years ago.

Meanwhile the German government is intensifying border checks.

Frontex—Fortress Europe’s racist border force
Frontex—Fortress Europe’s racist border force
  Read More

The plans make a mockery of the idea that there is freedom of movement for all inside the EU.

“Security begins at the border,” said Horst Seehofer, minister of the interior, last Sunday.

“Alongside new border control arrangements on the border with Austria, I have instructed officers to step up random police checks on all other German borders,” Seehofer added.

The move will see more police officers sent to border zones in an attempt to halt the movement of non-EU migrants between EU member states.

Germany is increasingly closing the door on asylum applications and ramping up deportations. MPs from the Labour-type SPD criticised the move—but only because it is being pushed through unilaterally by Germany rather than agreed across the EU.

Far from blunting the rise of Germany’s racist AfD party, such measures serve to boost its arguments that migration is a problem.

Both racist Fortress Europe and Fortress Britain need to be torn down.

International Conference Against Racism and Fascism Saturday 19 October, Central London. Hosted by Stand Up To Racism. Book tickets at bit.ly/SUTR2019

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