From Pedio Areos to Victoria Square
The Greek Forum of Refugees has to repeat – unfortunately – what has already been mentioned regarding Pedio Areos. The solution opted for was the transfer of the makeshift camp to Eleonas, a solution not oriented to solving the accommodation problems of the refugees, but rather to deal with the problems caused by their presence in the city.
We have seen that, during the last days, there is an increased concentration of refugees in Victoria Square. The situation there is dramatic. Many families and single persons are forced to say there, as there is no other option for them. Unfortunately, we have already noticed negative reactions from some residents and shop-owners of the area, as we have mentioned (Greek Post).
Yesterday night, August 31st 2015, following a complaint of residents, a strong police force drove away the refugees, who do not have any place to stay. The refugees slept in the nearby streets and, during early morning hours, they returned to the square. The Greek Forum of Refugees is worried about the implications of this situation and tries to do whatever is possible, in order to normalize it. We are trying to keep the area clean, as well as to inform the refugees about their options. We also talked to some residents of the area and a representative of the municipal department, trying to explain to them that the refugees are not the problem, but the absolute lack of provision for securing the adequate conditions for reception and protection. We have also contacted Eleonas camp, but we have been informed that there are no vacancies.
Therefore, the problem cannot be solved just by persecuting or transferring the refugees from one place to another. What we urgently need is the co-operation of the competent authorities, for the purpose of finding an effective solution, which will consist in the decent reception of the persons who seek international protection.