Monday, 2 November 2009

Pagani Update

The Pagani detention centre on Lesvos has finally closed its door (for the time being). The Camp was the location of a No Border Camp this summer and has been the focus on an on-going campaign to close it down ever since. The final straw appeared to be the joint visit two weeks ago by a junior minister (from recently renamed 1984-style the Citizen's Protection Ministry) and a UNHCR delegation. The minister and the UNHCR both condemned conditions there and the new Greek government put a plan into operation to free many of the detainees and transfer the remainder to other centres.

Last Thursday saw the first releases, with people just being pushed out of the gates onto the cold streets. Many queued for ferry tickets but, as the next ferry wasn't until the next day, they faced the possibility of sleeping out in the streets. No Borders activists however, squatted a University building to allow migrants to spend the night in from the cold. Saturday saw the last 120 migrants issued with their registration papers and leave the camp for good. No doubt the Greek authorities will give it a quick makeover, a swift lick of paint and a new name, and it will be reopened for business in the near future but activists will continue to struggle against all detention prisons.

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