January 26, 2011

Solidarity Initiative with the 300 Migrants on Hunger Strike - Athens

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 Press Release 
Solidarity Initiative with the 300 Migrants on Hunger Strike - Athens 
As already publicly expressed during yesterday's press conference (25.01.2011), we, the Initiative for Solidarity with the 300 Migrants on Hunger Strike in Athens, support the just and democratic struggle of the 300 migrants, undertaken on their own initiative and without intermediaries.
The struggle of the 300 migrants, who are currently using the unoccupied building of the Law Faculty of Athens as a shelter,  is the struggle of 300 people who have been working for many years without any social or labor rights. The historic building of the Law Faculty, which is presently not being used for academic purposes and is undergoing renovation, is a place that has hosted in the past major and fair social struggles. It is a place which offers asylum to those fighting for justice and dignity; a place where medical and legal support as well as civil protection is being provided to those on strike.

The struggle of the 300 migrants on hunger strike is a just one and therefore must win. It is a struggle in the name of all workers. We, the Initiative for Solidarity, demand the full satisfaction of their requests; the immediate cessation of practices which collectively delegalise migrants; the halt of outrageous deportation procedures; an end to the extorting requirement of depending the renewal of residence permits on the possession of social insurance stamps. We demand equal political and social rights for all. The time has come to put an end to the apartheid imposed on hundreds of thousands people who live, move, work and raise their children in this country. The destitution of one segment of society signals the upcoming destitution of the rest. It is therefore that we cannot but express our solidarity with those on hunger strike.

Regarding the insistence of the media and of political authorities to talk about manipulation of those on hunger strike, and in particular the statement of Mrs A. Diamantopoulou: "These unfortunate people did not find themselves in the Law School by chance, they were guided there"- we wish to stress that migrants are neither weak-minded nor can they be treated like objects; they are fighters who take responsibility for their lives in their own hands, an idea which xenophobes cannot easily accept.

Regarding the media's persistent focus on the location of the hunger strike instead of the substance of the demands of this just struggle, namely a struggle against policies of exclusion, division and deprivation of rights which affect all of us, we wish to quote following passage:

, you have the duty to deal with those few troublemakers, who are sitting on the staircases inside university yards and who exercise psychological abuse on the majority of the Greek students, thus not  allowing them to enter the seminar rooms and attend their courses. If you think you need assistance, you should ask for it in written”.

Dictator G. Papadopoulos, Speech before the Dean of the Senate, Greek Parliament, 2nd March 1973

Our solidarity with the migrants' struggle, is a struggle for the rights of all of us


Athens 26/1/2011