Amidst the Greek government’s ongoing draconian reaction to the recent protests and the subsequent silencing of the media, there is yet another untold story of human suffering. The police at the bequest of the Orthodox church are targeting law abiding transgender residents of the northern city of Thessaloniki in a bid to terrorize the LGBT community by breaking the weakest link, before the city’s second Pride.
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The Transgender citizens of this city are already marginalized, and desperately need the world to know about this. This is not an isolated or one time occurrence. August 9th 2012 while conducting operation ‘Xenios Zeus’ Greek police detained and arrested 25 transgender woman during that one night. It wasn’t until April 17th 2013 that the last of the woman were acquitted.
Source grr Reporter: The police in Thessaloniki has been carrying out a series of ungrounded arrests of transgender persons as stated by the Greek Transgender Support Association. “According to written complaints filed by our members who live in Thessaloniki, it is clear that from 30 May 2013 onwards, the police have been carrying out purges and arrests of transgender citizens on a daily basis. The same complaints state that those arrested are being taken to the police headquarters in Thessaloniki in Dimokratia Square, where the victims are waiting for at least three or four hours to be identified under the pretext that the authorities should establish whether the particular person was not a prostitute,” reads an address of the non-governmental organization (NGO).
The Association stresses that the police behaviour during the arrests was offensive, humiliating and that it was intended to undermine the dignity of transgender persons. In three of the complaints, the victims note that traffic policemen had stopped transgender women while they were driving their cars without any proof or suspicion of any fault or violation of the law. Later, they were taken to the police station in order for their identity to be verified.
The testimonies of a large number of victims suggest that before being released from custody, the policemen threatened transgender women, warning them that if they did not “return to normal”, legal proceedings against them would be initiated for indecent behavior in public places.
From the press release of the “Σωματείο Υποστήριξης Διεμφυλικών” (Greek Transgender Support Association) “Middle ages fascist police practices of Thessaloniki” the NGO’s attorney, Electra Leda Koutra, talks about being arrested for trying to speak with the transgender people jailed during the sweeps that police begun on May 30th:
“I just got back from the police station, after a marathon night in Thessaloniki. [I]..suffered the most devastating mental violence experience of my life, from police officers, who I then sued for a multitude of crimes against me, including felony. Very briefly: When I wanted to visit my transgender client, who was in a detention center for the 3rd time in 4 days (like many transgender within the last 5 days, due to some sort of order they should be “cleared” from specific points in Thessaloniki), I was obstructed to see her. When I managed to get in, after calling the central alarm number of the police “100” and complaining about the obstacles being imposed on the communication of a prisoner with her lawyer, the officer on duty threw me too in the detention center of the police station and locked me inside, where there were mostly prostitutes, without informing me about the reason of putting me into custody.”
The fascist police practices remind us of the middle ages and are not associated with any kind of rule of law.
The association for the Support of transgender people, declares that it will resort to justice, as well as to international organizations and forums asking for the condemnation of the Greek State, which on the one hand is responsible for the brutal trampling of the human rights of transgender people and of the lawyer who defended them, and on the other hand for the straight violation of every concept of application of law.
We honestly feel ashamed that the lawyer and President of the Greek human rights organization Pleiades Leda Koutra, Electra, suffered all this unbelievable humiliation and mental violence. We thank her from the bottom of our hearts for her perseverance and support to our struggle, and we apologize to her for those who made her suffer all this, giving the promise that they will be held accountable.
THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Electra Leda Koutra makes it known on her facebook page , she respects the majority of police:
“The fact that I have a very beautiful experience of my relationship with policemen who honor their oath and love out their duties despite the destitution, in terms of working conditions, salary, etc., to which and have condemned the policies of this site, I’m angry yet more serving persons as the perpetrator of the crime against me and sadly tarnished the image of the other. Please don’t generalize on my wall with statements like “all policemen etc.” because I have no appetite to help hate speech against any group.
The agenda for the ThessalonikiPride via Facebook: