Greek Police stormed camps set up by Palestinian and Iranian Asylum Seekers in Athens

On Monday morning Greek police stormed the camps set up by Palestinian and Iranian asylum seekers in front of UN headquarters in Athens, and removed the tents and arresting some protesters, using force and beatings.

The police warned the protesters more than once about the need to remove the tents erected for the sit in front of the United Nations.

Shadi Ashour – one of the protesters in the camp – said that a large number of police forces stormed the camp at five in the morning, and took the protesters, who were sleeping inside their tents to the outside, using force and beatings. He pointed out that some of the protesters climbed trees, refusing to withdraw from the camping site.

Ashour said in an interview to al Jazeera that security forces have arrested tens of Palestinians, then released them later. He denied that any warning was directed to them during the last hours to evacuate the camp. He added that the police took advantage of the holidays in Greece and the absence of the press to remove the camp.

Difficult situation
Another protester said that the situation is difficult for these refugees, because most of them have no shelter, and the future is unclear for them, because the process of granting political asylum in the country is long and very complicated.

Petros Costandino – Member of the Municipal Council of Athens and activist in the field of the rights of immigrants- revealed that some of the protesters were on hunger strike for more than 25 days, and some have sewn their lips to express their protest.

Costandino said that the police dealt with them gruffly, attacked the refugees in front of the cameras of the press, he did not rule out that the authorities may deport some of the refugees.

On the other hand, an Iranian asylum seeker who was at the site, said that he was beaten more than once by the police, noting that he has been in Greece for more than eight years without getting any residence permit.
another refugee, said that he also has been for nine years in Greece but does not have papers for asylum and has to renew his papers every six months, describing the process of renewal as humiliating.

The Iranian asylum seekers said that sending them back to their country presents a direct threat to their lives, demanding to change the difficult circumstances they live in Greece.

Expelled from the country
In an interview with AP, a refugee who had been detained for hours by the police authorities said that the authority has handed over papers to some refugees so they can be expelled from the country, pointing out that this process can be resumed, adding that the refugees were not subjected to any harm from security personnel during the period of detention.

The refugee, who requested anonymity said that the protesters are examining all the options including attempts to return to sit in the same place or in some other places.

The Ministry of Citizen Protection (formerly the General Security) in connection with the AP explained that the ministry has not issued any statement or declaration on the subject, because the process and follow-up was in the presence of representatives of the courts of Greece.

It is noteworthy that the protesters had held talks with representatives from the Ministry of the protection of Greek citizens over the past week, and presented their demands by granting them political asylum in the country, but those talks ended without a result.

Dozens of young Palestinians have started about ninety days ago to sit in front of UN headquarters in Athens, demanding the right to grant them political asylum in the country, and set up their tents in front of the headquarters, and then were joined by a number of other Iranian asylum seekers