On 5 July 2023, the Lavrio refugee camp, home to 57 residents including eight women and 19 children, was forcibly evicted. The residents were subsequently detained and relocated to the Oinofyta refugee camp, an abandoned factory located far from any urban settlement.
The Lavrio camp was more than just a refuge; it was a hub of Kurdish and left-wing political organising, fostering international connections, comradeship, and intercultural encounters. The camp was entirely self-managed, sustained by the support and donations of local and foreign charities, NGOs, solidarity groups, and philanthropists.
The eviction, as described by Beja Protner, was a violent operation carried out by Greek authorities. The refugees likened the raid to the dawn raids that had forced many of them to flee from their homelands. Greek authorities broke the gate of the camp, stormed into people’s homes, pointed laser-sighted rifles at the people—including families and children—and dragged them outside.
In her analysis for CrimethInc., Protner points out that Turkey’s war on the Kurdish people, the Greek government’s war on the autonomous spaces, and the European Union’s war on migrants all intersect in this operation.
Protner links the raid and eviction of the Lavrio camp to the migration and asylum policies of the right-wing New Democracy government in Greece. She argues that these policies constitute a war on migrants, with the Greek-Turkish land and sea border becoming the site of illegal pushbacks.
The Lavrio camp was not only a space of refuge but also one of the most important spaces of political organising in exile in Europe. The camp was organised according to Democratic Confederalism and the principles of “free life together.” The residents kept the spaces clean and tidy and decorated them with political symbols. After eviction, the Lavrio camp was given over to the municipality of Lavrio, which immediately painted over the political symbols that had decorated the camp for decades.
According to Protner, the eviction of the Lavrio camp shows the intersection of Turkey’s war on Kurds, the Greek government’s war on autonomous spaces, and the European Union’s war on migrants. She suggests that the only way to persist in the face of such a massive force is by establishing international solidarity and a common struggle against all the borders and injustices of today’s world.