Idomeni: Blank faces of people who are losing hope

25.05.2016 - Pressenza Athens

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Idomeni: Blank faces of people who are losing hope
Photo quality due to existential situation; caught on a mobile phone of participant. (Image by Kostas Kantouris)

The rumor had been spread over the past 20 days concerning the final decision for the evacuation of Idomeni. In the meantime the Greek Ministry of Health carried out a voluntary vaccination campaign in cooperation with NGOs that are dealing with health issues. The police moved more than 2,000 people at dawn yesterday and sent in bulldozers to “erase” the tent city. This provisionary camp used to host about 10.000-12.000 asylum seekers, who were trapped when the Greek-Macedonian borders were definitely closed, in March. They were still waiting for a positive development even after the EU-Turkey agreement while some of them they even tried to cross the borders unsuccessfully, beaten and sent back to Greece by armed forces of the Macedonian police.

Finally on Tuesday they were placed on buses and taken to shelters set up by the army and local authorities as the government promised to clear the site of the remaining 6,500 people over the next week. “The government will not use violent means. It’s a very large operation and everything must be kept safe” said George Kyritsis, the government spokesman on immigration. According to people from the solidarity movement that kept themselves as close as possible, the police force spread fear and used tear gas in some cases. This is also detectable in the 10′ video that the Greek police published today. More than 700 police officers plus a helicopter were deployed in the operation according to the official information.

Furthermore, all NGOs working in the field were removed during the weekend. The so called solidarity movement that also stood up for the thousands of people in Idomeni was asked to leave the place. No journalists are allowed unless a few selected media while all the rest could just attend the operation from a 6 km distance.

Latest police reports talk about 60 refugees removed from Derveni camp a few hours later towards an unknown direction.

An MSF doctor that was as near as possible in the place reported after the end of her shift: “What struck me most were the blank faces. People looked like they had lost all hope”

Categories: Human Rights, Politics
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