Left wing extremists and anarchists have occupied private housing and a university building in Athens in order to hand them over to migrants.
For the past few weeks various groups of left wing extremists and anarchists have been breaking into private houses and squatting there with the intention to give them to migrants, German paper Die Welt reports.
The two vacant houses and university building are all located in the Exarchia district of Athens. The district is known to be a stronghold for left wing radicals and anarchist groups according to Greek media quoted in Die Welt.
The anarchists responsible have posted messages in social media to justify their actions, saying that they want to give migrants permanent housing and establish structures so they are able to organise themselves. It is unknown what is meant by the term “organise,” whether the anarchists would like to see the migrants integrate into society or just have stable enough living conditions to join them in anarchist actions.
The photos posted on social media show that the migrants have already moved into the vacant houses. The photos, originally posted on Facebook, show migrants sitting on blankets in hallways, tents set up in various rooms, and a microwave used to cook their meals.
The university building has similar scenes inside. The outside of the university building is much more grand and is in fact an historic building in Athens listed for reasons of cultural significance by the Greek Ministry of Culture. It is reported that up to 100 migrants live inside, mostly from Afghanistan.
The anarchist group has already issued a list of demands from the Athens government for the migrants. They demand water, sugar, salt, oil, coffee, pots, pans, and cleaning products. The group also demands basic foodstuffs like toasted bread and fruit, but migrants are also demanding Arabic foods and common drugs like aspirin. They also gave the government an “optional” list of things they require which includes cigarettes.
The occupiers stated that the choice of buildings to squat in was no accident. They say that the historic university building known as ‘Gini’ has been a starting point for protest movements in the past, and that it has the size to accommodate potentially hundreds of migrants at one time. The purpose of the occupation is, according to the anarchist group, “to actively support immigrants trapped in Greek territory after the closing of the borders with Macedonia”.
Since the closure of the Macedonian border Greece has been stuck with waves of migrants who have no where to go. It is estimated that over 50,000 migrants are stranded in the country and already left wing extremists have tried to start trouble at the Idomeni camp on the border. One such action saw activists leading migrants across the border which led to the deaths of three migrants who tried to cross a nearby river.