Piraeus Metro Station – 6 pm
1 September 2023 – On Wednesday 14/6/2023, off the coast of Pylos, a fishing boat capsized, resulting in the death of more than 600 people. Testimonies of survivors revealed that hundreds of women and children were trapped in the hold of the fishing boat. The involvement of the Hellenic Coast Guard in the sinking of the vessel was immediate. Not only did they fail to rescue the passengers when their boat was already in distress, but based on the testimonies of the survivors, the capsizing of the boat occurred when the coastguards towed the boat with a rope. With no regard for human life, the coast guard watched hundreds of people drown from a distance and only began the rescue after two hours. After 104 survivors were brought ashore in Kalamata, the Greek police confiscated the mobile phones of 40 of the survivors in the Kalamata hospital and replaced them so that the evidence of the Hellenic Coast Guard’s responsibility for the sinking of the boat would disappear. According to the survivors, the phones were working and several of them contained a recording of the entire trip, including the Coast Guard’s fatal intervention.
Of the 104 survivors of the deadly shipwreck, 9 Egyptians have been scapegoated and accused of being “smugglers,” and were suddenly and secretly transferred to Nafplion prison. It is common practice that this charge is given to people randomly after every migrant boat arrival, in order to criminalize migration itself. The rest of the survivors, traumatized by the experience, were transferred to the closed Malakasa 2 prison-camp, where they remain without proper medical care, legal representation, interpretation, and psychological
support. They also have no access to information about their relatives and friends who are missing or were hospitalized after the shipwreck, which exacerbates their psychological situation.
The Pylos shipwreck was not an accident but a massacre, committed by the Greek state and the EU.
The “security” of Europe is built at the fence of Evros and on the bottom of the Aegean Sea! The mass murder of Pylos is one of hundreds of similar crimes along the EU borders in the last few years, in which hundreds of people have died. While Pylos made it into the media due to its large death toll, denial of rescue to boats in distress and deadly pushbacks on the sea and land borders of Greece/EU have for a long time been systematic strategies of the Greek authorities and Frontex (European Border and Coast Guard Agency). Europe has transformed its borders into militarized zones of state and para-state violence against people seeking safety.
Greece has become “Europe’s shield,” as the president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen once noted, violently deterring racialized migrants. Thousands have been shot at, beaten, sexually abused, and abandoned at sea and in the Evros region by Greek forces in collaboration with Frontex. The policies of torture, disappearance, and pushbacks in Greece have forced people to take ever more dangerous routes in order to reach the European territories. In 2022, at least 3,800 people were killed on migration routes within and from the Middle East and North Africa region, and at least 326 on the borders between Greece and Turkey alone. The border killing has to stop!
Many people are fleeing from wars, persecution, economic violence, and climate catastrophes, in which states, the EU, international capital, NATO, and other imperialist forces are complicit. While the West presents itself as “civilized,” the EU collaborates with corrupted totalitarian regimes in Turkey and Libya in order to outsource its racist war on migrants through the externalization of European border control. This reinforces racist and classist warfare that causes more refugeehood, death, and suffering. These policies are being justified with racist anti-immigration discourses across the EU states.
The Greek government plays a crucial part in the policies of border killing, while it constructs a fake narrative of national unity based on xenophobic racism. This has paved the way for resurgent nationalism in Greek society, resulting in the rise of pogroms, racist attacks, murders, and hate crimes. While the perpetrators of this violence enjoy impunity, those seeking safety are treated as criminals. Migrants who survive the border violence and reach Greece are being denied proper legal procedures and documents, locked in modern concentration camps, denied access to proper healthcare and education, and exploited as cheap workers without rights. At the same time, border guards are being rewarded with more jobs and bonuses for their “good job” alongside Frontex and paramilitary gangs.
We must fight against racism, the militarisation of borders, and criminalisation of migration. Let us build common struggles of locals and migrants, and demand access to documents, proper housing, healthcare, and education for all. Let us resist together against all policies that cause death, displacement, exploitation, and all kinds of oppression.
The Greek state & EU’s massacre at Pylos will not be forgotten nor forgiven!
Solidarity and justice to the Pylos survivors!
Release the 9 imprisoned migrants! Stop criminalization of migration!
Stop the crimes of the Greek Border Guard and Coast Guard! Abolish Frontex!
Access to documents, decent housing, healthcare, and education for all! No to prison-camps!
Freedom of movement for all!
Migrants are our class sisters and brothers, NO to concentration camps – nowhere and never!
We live together, we work together, migrants and locals, fighting against fascism!
Open Assembly Against the State Crime at Pylos