Press Release-Thessaloniki, 19 August 2007
It’s almost always us. We are the victims – the immigrants, the refugees, the gypsies, the “outlaws”…How far will this go? Until when will we have to pay such a heavy price for our so-called “assimilation into Greek society”? It is time we responded, collectively and in unity, against State violence. An Albanian dead yesterday, a Nigerian today…Who’s next?
In today’s Greece, the State demands from us certain papers and proof of work (work stamps and licenses) in order to accept us as legal aliens – it claims to accept such documents even if we have paid for them, which we often have to do. But when it comes to delivering what is has promised (i.e. to accept our mere presence), the State denies its own claims. So we continue to hide and work illicitly, just like the Nigerian petty-handler of CDs until last night…
It all began when the said Nigerian, while at work, realized he was being followed by plainclothes policemen. He tried to get away and lost his life: He was killed after being forced to jump out of the balcony from the first floor of a cafeteria. Immediately, fellow Nigerians came to the site, certain that the fatal incident was directly related to the beating up of their friend a week before by plainclothesmen after his arrest for illicitly selling CDs.
In other words, an immigrant tried to flee from the police, having recently experienced their brutality, and was killed in the act.
The police “open fire in the air” and their bullets mysteriously manage to wound Albanian immigrants. Their favourite way to bide their time at police stations is torture and murder – in the last few months everyone is aware of the “torture videos”, fewer fuss was made about the Albanian who was found choked in his cell at the Ilion detention center four months ago.)
Official reports document incidents of racist violence of Greek police and confirm that:
-The ELAS (Greek Police) officers hold the immigrants to be a great threat to Greek society and to the rest of the Western world.
-They feel the country’s borders are out of control, and that foreigners act as they please.
-Foreigners, especially Albanians, are considered thieves by genetic programming, cold-blooded murderers, natural-born criminals.
-They insist there is no issue of racist violence on behalf of the police. They describe all violent actions by Greek citizens against foreigners as acts of self-defense.
-They immediately label racist all aggressive behavior by immigrants against Greeks.
We insist on asking:
Isn’t it of any significance how the death of the Nigerian CD-handler really occurred?
Is there really such a big difference between getting killed by a bullet and getting killed while trying to flee arrest, torture and deportation?
WE MUST STAND TOGETHER AND UNITED
FOR AN IMMEDIATE RESPONSE TO POLICE VIOLENCE
Group of Immigrants and Refugees, Thessaloniki