Cars Of Hope Wuppertal Prepare Action In Greece As Balkan Route Closes


Fence at the border between Greece and Macedonia (FYROM) in Idomeni. Pic by Twitter acoount: @KallergisK

On March 9th at midnight, Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia, and Slovenia closed their borders to refugees. From now on, only people with a Visa can cross the border. As its almost impossible for refugees to procure a Visa, the so-called Balkan route is in fact closed off to almost every one of them. Cars of Hope activists from Wuppertal, Germany, are preparing an action to support refugees who are now stuck in Greece.

The closure of the Balkan route used by refugees fleeing war and persecution outside EU borders comes barely a day after the EU and Turkey agreed on a proposal aimed at easing the crisis. The deal between Turkey and EU member states did not come as a surprise, and was strongly condemned by Amnesty International, the United Nations refugee agency, and other organisations. The UN doubt the legality of the deal and Amnesty International said their agreement “dealt a death blow to the right to seek asylum.”

With tens of thousands of refugees stuck in Greece now, desperation is growing among people who fled war. On the Greek islands of Lesvos, Chios, Kos people continue to arrive, and may start trying to come to northern Europe on routes that are even more dangerous.

Cars of Hope Wuppertal activists are now more determined to travel to Greece to support refugees on the ground. They have been in contact with activists who support refugees in Greece, and were invited to come help, as there are not enough people to hand out food, medication, and sanitary products to refugees in the country which is still suffering from the Euro crisis. Cars of Hope Wuppertal started a crowdfunding campaign to finance the project.

Last night there was a meeting in Wuppertal about the next Cars of Hope project. Activists are aware of the fact that the closure of the Balkan route could escalate things, as thousands of people are now indefinitely stuck in Greece. The collective decided to continue with the project, as they think the support of refugees on the ground now is even more pressing.

Aside from providing direct support to refugees in places like Idomeni, the Cars of Hope activists also believe in the importance of many people from different countries monitoring and reporting the situation.  At last nights meeting, activists also spoke about how to come to terms with some of the things they will be confronted with during their mission. Its not the first time they have traveled to the Balkans, and they have seen ugly scenes during past actions.

The activists condemned the closure of the Balkan route, and demanded safe passage and open borders. According to Cars of Hope Wuppertal activists, EU member states like Germany continue to export arms but refuse to accept the consequences of the deadly industry. As a first step, the production and export of arms should be stopped immediately. Cars of Hope Wuppertal will arrive in Greece on March 19th.


About Author

Born near the city of Amsterdam I started filming, taking photos and writing for autonomous and other magazines in the 1980's in Amsterdam. Nowadays I write for Revolution News and several blogs in Germany. Sometimes I live in Germany, sometimes on Tenerife, Canary Islands.