Emergency rally called to highlight the plight of refugees on Greek border

A photo of the Greek coastguard attacking refugees in a dinghy.

An emergency rally is to be held in Dublin to highlight the treatment of refugees by the EU and Greek authorities. Due to take place today at 6pm, the rally has been organised by United Against Racism. It comes as footage of the Greek coastguard firing on refugees in a dinghy has gone viral. 

An Irish doctor on the ground on the Greek island of Lesbos has also related how she was attacked by a mob intent on attacking the refugees and volunteers.  

“Show solidarity”

United Against Racism has asked people to gather at the Spire in Dublin. On the Facebook page for the rally it wrote that it

is calling for an emergency rally to protest at barbaric EU border policies and to stand in solidarity with refugees at the Greek border. 

It said it is asking people who have been upset at recent events on the Greek border “to join us to show solidarity with refugees”.

The event has been organised as footage has emerged of the Greek coastguard harassing and firing on a dinghy with refugees on board. Tensions have risen in the region as Turkey reopened its border with the EU, thereby allowing refugees to enter.

“Deeply shocking”

Nasc, an advocacy group for migrants and refugees in Ireland, issued a statement condemning the actions of the EU and Greece. It argued that the response of the EU “has been deeply shocking”. 

Highlighting the EU giving €700m to Greece in order to increase its military presence on the border with Turkey, Nasc said it “strongly condemns” the move. The EU was, it insisted, “supporting Greece’s efforts to repel asylum seekers in need of sanctuary”. 

Fiona Finn, the CEO of Nasc, declared:

There has been an abject, moral failing to treat those in need of sanctuary with compassion or people worthy of dignity and human rights. In the 21st century age of instant communication, we cannot say that we did not know that this was happening.

She also called on the EU to “absorb” the refugees at the Greek border. And she insisted that the EU should “commit to sharing resources” with Greece along with “the burden of processing and accommodating new asylum applications”.

Last year Ireland’s president, Michael D. Higgins, argued that we have “a duty” to help and “and create a place of welcome for refugees.

Attacks

This comes as an Irish doctor on the ground in Lesbos revealed how she was attacked by a mob of locals. Dr. Nicola Cochrane was travelling in a convoy of five cars when they were attacked by men and teenage boys on motorcycles.

She told the Irish Times that she believes the mob thought “we were driving down to the coast to get refugees off the boat”. The assailants, using baseball bats, planks, and sticks, “started smashing our windows”. 

Journalists have also been attacked. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has called on Greece to investigate the attacks, saying it must ensure that journalists can report “safely and without fear”. 

One of the journalists attacked, Giorgos Christides, related that he was chased in his car by “right-wing extremists” who threw sticks at him. He also revealed that they had built roadblocks “to harass NGOs and reporters”.

Featured image via YouTube – Screenshot