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Police steps up controls around Idomeni, detains 16 volunteers (14 foreign nationals, 2 Greeks)

Sixteen volunteers have been briefly detained at Idomeni on Tuesday as Greek police tries to find out who incites refugees and migrants to cross the closed borders of neighboring FYROM.

With enhanced controls on the roads leading to Idomeni camp, Greek police units have been doing paper controls and search in cars, trailers and every vehicle that was trying to reach the camp since the morning. Passports and IDs were double-checked, trunks were opened and trained dogs were sniffing around.

Rumors spread already on Monday evening were claiming that the “borders would open on Tuesday morning” and there were calls to the refugees and migrants to stage again a protest at the border fence. This time there were no leaflets and flyers, the “news” was spreading from mouth to mouth. Allegedly, the protest-organizers were to distribute also molotof cocktail bombs.”

The rumors were broadcast last night by all Greek Television channels (Ert, Mega, Alpha etc).

FYROM tanks

FYROM was prepared to face the new challenge and had sent tanks at the fence already in the morning. The protest was said to be launched at 11 a.m.

However, except for a handful of young men, nobody else felt the need to join the protest action. Shocked by the massive use of teargas and rubber bullets fired by FYROM police and army on Sunday, the majority of the people in the camp preferred to stay around their tents and to not expose themselves and their children to danger.

In fact, since yesterday, many families decided to leave Idomeni and move to “accommodation centers.”

Volunteers and the “Open Borders” movement speaks now of “massive repression of civic society” of attempted “criminalization of volunteers” while there are some claims that “the detainees were fingerprinted”.

16 volunteers arrested at :

5germans 2swiss 1dutch 2austrians 1portuguese 2swedish 2czechs All liberated except 1german

Tsipras spoke of certain “solidarity volunteers”, of NGO representatives, and of “some with foreign nationality who have accommodation in FYROM and cross daily the borders to Greece” and criticized them for having in mind to get funds than to offer to those in need, thus putting their lives in danger.”
Video: police stops a car with 3 Swiss volunteers, find some spray cans in their car. The three young women were taken to police station for identification.

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The Greeks are said to belong to anti-authoritarian movement.
Every now and then, when authorities try to empty the “camp” at the port of Piraeus from 5,000 refugees and migrants, “unknown individuals” try to stop them with flyers claiming the borders would open again.
According to Greek media, the inciters were “αλληλέγγυοι i.e volunteers and solidarity activists from Germany, Spain and Italy who operate in Greece under the cover of dubious NGOs as well as members of the local anti-authoritarian scene.”
We learn a new Greek word: αλληλέγγυος (sing)- αλληλέγγυοι (pl)
Of course, this is bad for all the hundreds of real αλληλέγγυοι – anonymous volunteers – who have been feeding and taking care of thousands of refugees and migrants since last spring and without their help the million people who cross Greece would have faced a real humanitarian crisis.

PS My mom used to have a knife to cut greens and vegetables for our meal. No idea, if it was legal or illegal.

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  1. “They were questioned in connection with reports that Sunday’s storming of the border, as well as several similar incidents in the past, may have been incited by anti-establishment groups.”

    This is not such an unusual affair.

    In 1980, I was assigned to the Cuban Refugee Relocation Task Force Headquarters at Ft Chaffee in the US. We experienced two “riots” in the first month of operations. Both were incited by over zealous NGO workers, raising the refugee’s expectations for faster resettlement, and raising fears among the refugee population about Klu Klux Klan demonstrators outside the camp. One might say that the NGO workers were well intentioned, but what they told the refugees was very inaccurate and served no good purpose.

  2. Giaourti Giaourtaki

    It’s exactly such a knife as these people run the tea kitchen, they also get controlled every time they visit the camp, also it’s the other way round regarding the “instigating”: Refugees have build up collectively structures, decide about actions and inform the “instigators” about actions.