A group of, predominantly African, migrants had announced since Monday 17-07 that they would start repeatedly protesting the prolonged delays in the examination of their asylum applications, as well as the horrid living conditions they face in the Moria detention centre. On Monday, the protest took the form of a sitting demonstration that blockaded the headquarters of the European Asylum Support Office (EASO). On Tuesday, while the sitting demonstration resumed, again outside the EASO headquarters, which led the service workers to leave their offices, the authorities pointed out the protesting immigrants as those responsible for the delay concerning the processing of the asylum applications to the migrants who were not taking part in the protest, turning the latter against the protesters.
The quarreling between the two groups that ensued led to heightened tensions, and the protesting migrants walked out of the detention centre, blockading the road. During this protest, they once more faced the brutality of the police forces, who tried to remove them from the street chasing them to the inside of the centre and using tear gas and stun grenades. On their part, the migrants responded to this attack by throwing rocks, resulted to the initial retreat of the police forces, and to some damage to cars that were parked around the detention centre. Meanwhile, fire was started in order to set up roadblocks, some of which spread to the nearby olive fields. The police forces were amplified with more riot police and intervened in the centre’s interior, while at the same time two Petzetel-type firefighter planes threw water where fire had spread.
After the clashes, the police shut the centre’s entrance and started randomly going after migrants inside the centre. The migrants that were trapped inside faced the menace of the riot police who even barged inside the containers, indiscriminately and frantically beating anyone they run into, finally arresting 35 people, with skin colour as their sole criterion, since lots of African immigrants had been targeted. Many migrants are beaten, with people injured from straight shooting of tear gas among them, one of which has suffered a chest injury, and another one a leg injury. All the arrestees were led to the Lesvos Police Headquarters, where they were detained and, according to their testimonies, kept facing beating by the cops. While most of them were injured, only one of them was taken to the Mytilene hospital, where his hospitalisation was deemed necessary.
In the noon of 19-07, 34 of the migrants, except the one that was hospitalised, were taken to the prosecutor, under the threat of facing very serious charges. Most of them were barefoot with visible physical marks of the police beatings. All the while during the time they spent in court there was continued pressure from the accompanying cops for the migrants to blame one another, with promises of the dropping of charges, and even of lifting the restrictive terms of staying in Lesvos. All of the migrants denied the charges, and didn’t point anyone out as responsible. The legal representation of the migrants is taken up by lawyers of the Legal Centre Lesvos; however, due to the number of those persecuted and the size of their file (concerning their trial), representation from more lawyers is deemed necessary. The only witnesses for the persectuation that turned up were cops from the units that attacked the migrants. All the migrants face identical six charges which include resistance, disturbance of peace, attempt of serious body injury through cooperation against police officers, and prominent damage. The preliminary interrogation will take place on Friday and Saturday, 21-07 and 22-07 respectively.
Detention centres cannot be embellished through promises,
There are torn down through revolts
Solidarity with the persecuted immigrants