On the 30th of April, 2022, the Border Violence Monitoring Network published a press release calling attention to the police operations that targeted people on the move who were on their way to collect food from a humanitarian distribution site in Thessaloniki. By July, our records showed that authorities had been present at least once a week throughout the months of May and June in unmarked police cars or on motorbikes, and that police waited until after distribution activities to raid the area and ask people to present their documents. More than eight months later, despite a change of location, these operations continue to take place on a regular basis with authorities systematically raiding targeted areas of the city and informal housing settlements to arrest people who are unable to provide legal documentation.
We, the Border Violence Monitoring Network, put forward our concerns about the potential repercussions of these operations. Through a collection of news articles and testimonies, we have collated a body of evidence that suggests detention and illegal pushbacks are often a subsequent outcome of police operations, which entail numerous violations of international human rights provisions such as access to asylum, non-refoulement, and the prohibition on collective expulsions.