By Dave Sewell
Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2567

Nazi boat is blocked in Mediterranean ports, but refugees face other obstacles

This article is over 6 years, 10 months old
Issue 2567
A fishing boat at the Tunisian port of Zarzis, where the C-Star was turned away on Sunday
A fishing boat at the Tunisian port of Zarzis, where the C-Star was turned away on Sunday (Pic: Flickr/Gabriella Paolini)

A boat hired by far right activists to stop NGOs from rescuing refugees has been turned away from a series of Mediterranean ports.

But the Italian authorities are doing the activists’ job for them.

A French fascist group hired the boat C-Star for its racist “Defend Europe” stunt.

It was turned away from the Tunisian port of Zarzis last Sunday after fisherfolk vowed to stop it refuelling.

“It is the least we can do given what is happening out in the Mediterranean,” said fisherfolk representative Chamseddine Bourassine.

“Muslims and Africans are dying.”

A port official added, “Us let in racists here? Never.”

It’s the latest in a series of mishaps in the C-Star’s tour of the Mediterranean.

Protesters gathered at Ieraptera in Crete last week to stop the boat docking. Mayor Theodosis Kalantzakis proclaimed a “big ‘no’” to fascism and hailed the “solidarity and hospitality” shown to refugees.

But it isn’t just Nazis trying to stop the rescues.

Italian authorities seized the NGO rescue ship Iuventa last week.

Police said they had “circumstantial evidence” the boat was “being used for activities facilitating illegal immigration”.

Meanwhile Italy’s government sent the first of its boats into Italian waters to help the Libyan coastguard turn boats back.

It comes after the operators of three boats refused to sign up to a new code of conduct imposed by the Italian government.

It demands they take anyone they rescue all the way to port, rather than transferring them to other boats and staying in the area.

And it involves a commitment to allow armed police onto the boat.

The outrage that the C-Star has provoked needs to be turned on “Fortress Europe” too.

‘Enough waiting,’ say Syrians protesting in Greece

Hundreds of Syrian refugees protested at the German embassy in Athens, Greece, on Wednesday of last week.

They have relatives in Germany, but the German and Greek authorities are dragging their feet on allowing the families to reunite.

Protesters held signs reading, “I want my family” and, “No more waiting”.

Malak Rahmoun lives in a camp in Greece with her three daughters, while her husband and son are in Berlin. “My message is, ‘Enough waiting, enough suffering,’” she said.

Around 60,000 refugees have been trapped in Greece for over a year because of a European Union deal with Turkey.

Recent months have seen protests and riots break out.

Fleeing war and poverty is not a crime. The refugees should be free to live their lives in Europe.

Open borders to stop deaths after brush with disaster in Dunkirk

Security guards near the French port of Dunkirk found 26 migrants and refugees in the back of a refrigerated lorry last week.

They included a two year old Iraqi child with hypothermia.

Refrigerated lorries are not safe, and the incident could easily have ended in deaths.

Some 71 people died in a similar vehicle in Austria in 2015.

But the clampdown on the border between France and Britain leaves no safe way to travel.

The border should be opened immediately to prevent more deaths.

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