24.5.2016: Updates from the eviction in Idomeni

As journalists and independent observers are not let into the area of the camp in Idomeni, on this site we are constantly collecting observations and information which residents of the camp send to us.

Follow us as well on Twitter and #Idomeni.

21:30: Tonight, another 2000 refugees evicted from Idomeni have to sleep in abandoned factories and makeshift state camps detached from possibilities of self-sufficiency, access to information and articulation towards the public. The Moving Europe blog closes for tonight and will restart tomorrow morning.

20:30:  Residents from inside the camp tell us how they now share and cook some leftovers with their neighbours. Others who were separated from friends during the eviction describe how they are walking along highways and streets to reunite again at another place. Solidarity and friendship still prevail over bulldozers and police vans.


20:00: According to authorities the police operation is over and will re-start tomorrow morning. 2000 refugees have been „transferred“ to other camps.

19:30: The authorities declare that by 17:45h 37 buses carrying 1780 refugees have left Idomeni. According to all official reports the eviction is very smoothly delivered, but: Speaking about voluntary departure and a non-violent operation after having deployed 1500 riot cops is just a cynical propaganda piece and shows a very limited understanding of violence. Nonetheless the movement continues: Reportedly several refugees have already left their destined camp at Derveni/Oreokastro and are walking to Thessaloniki in order to find a better place there.

18:30: The eviction of Idomeni is an attempt to invisibilise the inhumane consequences of European border politics, under exlusion of independent observers. However, these pictures from people in Idomeni show that this strategy is not working: The pictures show the extent of destruction and desperation that come along with evicting thousands of people from Idomeni. 

17:30: Many refugees had no choice but to leave Idomeni, and are being brought to the state-organised camps with the buses by the authorities. The tents are being removed. But not everybody has given up. „Many people have left the camp, but many remain in Idomeni“, L. said from Idomeni. More impressions of the step-by-step eviction:

15:30: „We don’t want to leave Idomeni but we have to“, says a friend there. Here are more pictures sent by people from Idomeni.

14:00: First reports arrive from the camp where many people are brought to. Kalochori is one of the new camps located near Thessaloniki, with a maximum capacity of 800 people. People were brought to the camp three days ago from Katerini camp and are now being brought there from Idomeni. People moved there were mostly from Syria and Iraq. The conditions in Kalochori are unacceptable. Tents are dirty and leaking. There is no clean water for drinking. The next supermarket is kilometers away. The area is an abandoned industrial area far off any humane environment. The residents‘ psychological condition after being evicted is disastrous. Some impressions:

12:30: N. present in Idomeni says that there is still very much police and that they are screaming at people to go into the buses. N. adds that they have been unable to eat anything all day, since there is no food in the camp. Another friend, M. reports that police is not allowing anyone to take pictures. Nonetheless, our contacts in Idomeni have sent us pictures that we are publishing here, together with pictures taken by RefugeeTV.

12:00: Doctors of the World report on 450 refugees already brought to Oreokastro camp near Thessaloniki. Residents there confirm that the military is putting up new tents.

11:00: Residents who want to take photos from within the camp are being threatened with the phones being taken by police.

10:30: H. from Idomeni: „The situation in the camp is so bad. The police is coming to our tents and is telling us to go to other camps. Maybe today or tomorrow I will also have to go to another camp.“

09:45: „Nonetheless we will not go. The police is here telling everyone to go to the camp. We will resist peacefully“ (N. from Idomeni).

09:30: Journalists report on 6 old factories near Thessaloniki, where refugees are being brought to.

09:20: Our friends tell us how bad the situation is for them. With all the organisations having left and being captured in a small police state, daily life has abruptly come to an end and fears are rising.

09:15: According to Twitter notifications around 7 buses have left Idomeni so far.

09:00: Some media articles on the evacuation: Ekathimerini, The Guardian, BBC. Many media outlets follow the discourse of the better conditions in official camps and Idomeni’s smuggler problem. Our reports contradict this official discourse. Additionally only a safe passage will stop smugglers‘ business, not a forceful police operation that reaffirms the European border regime.

08:00: Afraid of the police, friends decided to take a taxi and leave but they were told that no one would be let in or or out of the camp of their own. For now the situation seems to be quite quiet. Some families have decided to leave by the official buses. Nonetheless some have re-affirmed their will to stay and are being threatened by police.

07.30: The police operation has started. Thousands of refugees woke up today surrounded by thousands of police officers.