By Dave Sewell
Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2467

Europe’s new crackdown murders more migrants

This article is over 8 years, 6 months old
Issue 2467

The Greek islands

Refugees fleeing Syria’s civil war are facing new dangers as they approach Greece’s islands from Turkey.

Police attacked refugees with tear gas and batons, then locked them into a stadium overnight on the island of Kos last week. 

Reports of potentially lethal attacks on their dinghies have since emerged. 

Turkish fishermen who rescued a group of refugees in Turkish water last week released footage that appears to show Greek police deliberately sinking the refugees’ boat. 

The dinghy is overloaded but seemingly stable, until a boat the fishermen identify as the Greek coastguard arrives. When it leaves, the dinghy is sinking.

A number of refugees told journalists from the Huffington Post they were attacked by “pirates” or “commandos” trying to rob them, to turn them round—or sink them.

Refugee Mohamed told of a speedboat full of black-clad men with guns and whips. He said, “They shot at the boat with three bullets.

“They circled around us trying to flip our boat.” They whipped his back for refusing to turn around.

Student Abdel Hadee told of being stripped and robbed in a similar attack. 


Many refugees carry their whole life savings with them. Local aid workers say they often receive distress calls from refugees whose outboard motor has been stolen on the way, leaving them at risk of shipwreck.

Refugee Hassan Akkad from Damascus accused the Greek police coast guard of working alongside the gunmen. 

He and other refugees called in the patrol boat after an attack left some people in the water.

Meanwhile, British politicians were congratulating themselves for apparently slowing down the flow of people through the Channel Tunnel from Calais by increasing security.

Around 100 dog handlers are being recruited to beef up security at the tunnel entrance, according to charity L’Auberge des Migrants. 

Police repression against refugees is widespread. 

It had a direct role in one of the deaths at Calais this summer, of a woman who was run over while dazed by pepper spray.

Hundreds of Senegalese migrants protested in Barcelona on Tuesday of last week after a DVD vendor was killed following a police raid.

The raid was part of a new clampdown. 

It’s also one reason for the deaths at sea. Each time one route for refugees is closed off, it forces people to try other more dangerous ones.

Residents of Palermo in Sicily greeted survivors of the latest shipwreck earlier this month. 

And their mayor Leoluca Orlando pointed out that if it weren’t for anti-migration laws they could have come cheaply and safely by plane.

He said, “But we force all of them to live in this illegal condition, to go through Libya and risk their lives in the sea.

“In the future, the European Union will be held responsible for this genocide, exactly like we held Nazi fascism responsible for genocide 70 years ago.”

Orlando singled out Britain for criticism for closing its border at Calais. He said, “From Palermo comes a message—you should be ashamed.”


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