Dienstag, 22. Februar 2011

TUESDAY, 22nd of February

Press Release

TUESDAY, 22nd of February

DAY 29 of the hunger strike

The 300 migrants (250 in Athens, 50 on the 7th floor of the Labor Centre in Thessaloniki) have been on a hunger strike for 29 days now. Nine of the hunger strikers in Thessaloniki (of which 5 today) have been sent to hospital for fainting. According to the report of the medical health team: All of them are suffering considerable weight loss and the signs of fatigue and advanced exhaustion are apparent… The majority of them show symptoms of frequently recurring postural hypotension, muscle pain, hypoglycemia, difficulty with moving, while some of them already have palpitations and cardiac dysrhythmia.

As doctors we are obliged to note that the hunger strikers are entering a phase in which the continuation of fasting may cause irreversible damage to their health.

Yesterday, the 300 hunger strikers issued an official announcement in which they state their specific demands:

For us, legalisation is neither a generic nor an abstract slogan. We don’t want proposals to be heard without us. For us legalisation means many and very specific things. Between those, first and foremost:

The issuing – since we are entitled to it – of a proper residence and labour permit to us, the 300 hunger strikers, who demand what should be a given for everyone by putting our lives on the line

As well as:

- that residence permits are no longer connected to work credits

- that all who lost their permits because of the above reason are legalised again

- the vindication of everyone whose application was rejected in 2005, after their application submission had been accepted and after they were forced to pay thousands of euros each

- the establishment of a permanent and open procedure for complete legalisation, which will process applications constantly

- the abandonment of any idea of criminalising any of our comrades in solidarity with us, who have been called as suspects of committing criminal acts by the authorities

At the end of their announcement they add:

Anyone who wants to seriously engage with our strike and avoid a humanitarian crisis in Greece, should officially and directly contact us and whatever discussion must be focused on meeting the above demands.

Every human is worth a dignified life and labour

The hunger strike shall win

This morning the Open Solidarity Initiative of Thessaloniki occupied the offices of the General Secretariat of Youth, a department of the Ministry of Labor, to protest the stance of the government. Their banner read: “1 MONTH OF HUNGER STRIKE – THE PASOK GOVERNMENT EXTERMINATES PEOPLE-VICTORY TO THE STRUGGLE OF THE 300 IMMIGRANTS”. The text distributed to people working there as well as to passers by stated, among other things, that “the only ones who will lose from the legalization are the big industrialists, the big contractors, the landowners, the shipowners…all those who, with generous help from professional politicians of every tendency, plundered natural and social resources and are now selling off scorched land”. The text was sent to the Minister of Justice, the Minister and Deputy Minister of Interior Affairs and the Deputy Minister of Labor.

Yesterday, the solidarity concert was held at the Functions Hall of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki with the participation of numerous artists and was enjoyed by a massive audience, which did not stop cheering and shouting slogans of support to the hunger strikers, proving once again the broadness and intensity of solidarity. After the concert, a crowd of over 1000 people spontaneously decided to leave in a demonstration, which marched to the Labor Centre.

Yesterday, Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine and the historian of the Left Geoff Eley, expressed their support with the struggle of the hunger strikers.

The Open Solidarity Initiative is calling everyone to participate at the General Strike announced for Wednesday the 23rd of February and is meeting at the Labor Center at 10am on that day to join the strike marches.



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