The hungerstrike of 300 migrants ended today. The strikers accepted the proposal following some key big concessions by the government. This is a huge victory on the side of the hunger strikers who now see the road paved for tens of thousands of people to be able to live in the country without the fear of being undocumented. As Occupied London reports, it has been agreed:
-Decrease of the required residence time of migrants in the country in order to submit applications for residence permits to 8 years, down from 12 years before (this applies to every single migrant living in the Greek territory)
-Decrease of the required work credits to 120, from 200 before (same as for local workers)
-Decrease of the work credits required for insurance cover to 50, from 80 before (this applies to all workers, local and migrant)
-For the three-hundred hunger strikers in particular, the allowance has been given for them to indefinitely renew their 6-month “state of tolerance” status until the time when they reach the time and conditions to receive a residence permit. During that time they will be allowed to travel freely to and from their country of origin.The three-hundred migrant strikers risked their lives not on the basis of individualistic or utilitarian motives but for a collective right, in a struggle that asserted rights concerning the dignity of the entire working class. This hunger strike is a social struggle against the illegality of all migrants, a struggle addressing the entire class of workers. It comes as a continuation of struggles of the recent past, from the farmer-migrants in Manoliada, Ilia and Skala, Lakonia to the strike of the fishermen-migrants in Michaniona, Thessaloniki.The struggle of the three-hundred migrant workers proves nothing is impossible.
Translation of latest statement from the Solidarity Committee:
The victory of the 300 migrants, hope for all societies
9th March 2011
Today’s governmental decision to satisfy a share of the demands of the 300 migrants proved that the only lost struggle is the one you never give. Furthermore, it showed to all workers, both men and women that the Mnemonio (austerity measures) government is not undefeatable. The strong ideal for struggle and wide social solidarity can achieve realistic results.
It is obvious that new, long-lasting tougher struggles lie ahead to help cease the apartheid strategy against the foreign workers who live in Greece and Europe. Although, there should be no doubt that the self-deny of the 300 opened a new gate to hope.
We would like to thank all who (and they were many…) supported this difficult struggle from the beginning (by Nomiki, School for Laws, where it started as an initiative) to the hospitals that were involved. Above all, we would like to express our upmost respect to the 300 strikers for whom all the working class can be proud of.
The hunger strike of the 300 started on Monday, 25 January 2011, claiming the obvious: unconditional legalization. During these 45 days a series of notable solidarity actions took place across the country and all over Europe (click here for older developments). In the afternoon of March 8th, activists from Solidarity Initiative Berlin organised a small protest in front of the Greek embassy expressing their dismay about the criminal stance of the Greek government towards the 300 migrants and the inhumane asylum system of Greece. They handed a notice to the ambassador which he sent as a fax to the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Athens. They also suggested to several politicians and social actors to put more pressure on the Greek government in order to justify the demands of the hunger strikers.
In Paris, the vice-president of the Papandreou dictatorial regime Theodoros Pangalos (grandson of the general and dictator Th. Pangalos) was attending an event organised by the filmmaker Costa Gavras, at the “Greek House”. A small group of people entered the building, shouting slogans against him, demanding his immediate withdrawal. They unfolded banners in solidarity with the 300 hunger strikers and soon comrades who live in Paris arrived at the place. The protesters demanded his withdrawal, which eventually came a little later. As Pangalos was leaving the room he ordered the cancellation of the event accusing the students as “terrorists”! On May 7 Pangalos ordered the evacuation, even by force , of the Hypatia building (where the hunger strikers were staying). According to his announcement: “All limits of tolerance and understanding as it concerns the health issues raised practically by the struggle of the immigrants have been expired.” He is the one who accused disgracefully all of the citizens with the words “Mazi ta fagame” (“We fooled away the money together, both government and citizens”) and called the Greek public servants as “coprites” (lowlife thieves).
Both the Greek and the international media did not hesitate once again to spew their vitriol against this fair fight, claiming that this hunger strike was organised by people who carry a specific political agenda. The slander from the Greek government, the far right party LA.O.S and their best servants – the mainstream media – concerned the motivation of this action. But they finally have been proven wrong. Undoubtedly, this action was not influenced or provoked by anyone, essentially not by any political party. The motivation of the solidarity committee was only a response to the duty to stand in solidarity by the side of all those who are impaired by the tactics of the regime. The migrants living in Greece rank thereby first. Below you can find attached a report – submitted by the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment – regarding not only the heartless asylum system but also all the brutal repression tactics of this dictatorial regime.
Human Rights Council, Mission to Greece
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