All Shipwrecks Are State Crimes!

They try to prevent us from commemorating the dead and missing and remembering the crimes of the border regime. But we will never forget nor forgive! We will continue to stand united in solidarity!

All Shipwrecks are State Crimes!
Commemorating the Pylos Massacre

by Calais Migrant Solidarity
17 June 2024 (original post)

As in many other places, in Calais we wanted to commemorate the deceased and missing persons of the Pylos massacre on 14 June, and express our solidarity with their loved ones and with the survivors.

On 14 June 2023, the heavily overcrowded boat called ‘Adriana,’ which was carrying more than seven hundred people, sank near the coast of Pylos in Greece. According to survivors, the boat sank when the Greek coastguard tried to tow it out of the Greek rescue zone towards Italian waters with a rope. Most of its passengers drowned in front of the eyes of the Hellenic Coast Guard, roughly ten hours after Alarm Phone had sent out the alert.

From Alarm Phone’s statement on 13 June 2024: “The people on the boat could have all been rescued. They could still be alive today. But most of them were not rescued. Most of them are no longer alive. Over six hundred people are estimated to have died. This shipwreck was not an accident. It was a massacre, it was a state crime.”

In Calais, too, the European border regime is killing people who exercise their right to freedom of movement, even if the European states do not want to grant them this right. So far this year, twenty people have lost their lives at the French-British border: Jumaa Alhassan drowned in a canal after being chased by the police trying to reach a boat in the canal. Oday (Minnie) was crushed in the trailer of a lorry traveling to England. Eren Gûndogu, Abadeh Abd Rabbo, Aysar Abd Rabou, Mohammad Al Jbawi, Ayham Alshouli, Ali Al Oklhat and many others have been found dead on the coast. Rola Al Mayali drowned in the Aa canal in Watten while attempting to cross to the UK. Other people, whose names we do not know, were run over on the highway. They were crushed inside a boat during a panicked departure under tear gas fired by police on the beach. They died by electrocution on the roof of a Eurostar in the Gare du Nord in Paris.

Just as the people who lost their lives on the Adriana did not die by accident, these deaths at the French-British border are not accidents either. All these people were killed by the European border regime! All these people were victims of state crimes!

But instead of bringing the real culprits to justice, those fleeing war, violence and poverty are criminalized. The Greek state randomly picked nine survivors of the Adriana and accused them of being smugglers and being responsible for the shipwreck. They were imprisoned by the Greek authorities and released only a few weeks ago. One person, who has seen his asylum claim rejected, is still imprisoned in the detention center of Petrou Ralli.

In France and England too, people crossing the Channel are locked up and sentenced to (often long) prison terms, accused of facilitating illegal migration, or are held responsible for deaths in shipwrecks. They are often imprisoned for years before their trial even starts. This systematic criminalization of people on the move is part of the global border apartheid system.

On 14 June, we wanted to commemorate the people who were killed on the Adriana by the Greek authorities. We wanted to listen to testimonies of survivors and send a message of solidarity to the 350 families of deceased and missing people who met in Lalamousa, Pakistan, on 14 June and tell them: We do not forget you and your loved ones. We wanted to recall that it is the border regime that is killing people, in the Aegean and in the Channel.

But we couldn’t hold our CommemorAction, because at exactly the same time, the technical services of the town of Calais tried to block off access to the squat on rue Frédéric Sauvage, where people on the move and people in solidarity are living. Since the end of May 2024, people have been cleaning up the place to improve living conditions inside. The technical services were accompanied by cops with an order banning access to the building. The people there refused to get out and the cops finally left. There is now a big risk that the police will come back and try to evict the place.

This attempted eviction illustrates how the border regime tries to suppress solidarity with people on the move. They do not want that we improve together the living conditions in the Frédéric Sauvage squat. And they do not want people to live there with minimal shelter and access to the most basic services such as water.

The fact that this attempted eviction took place at exactly the same time as our planned CommemorAction shows that the European border regime is fighting people on the move and people in solidarity with them everywhere – in Pylos as well as in Calais. That’s why it is all the more important to us to see and connect the struggles at all European borders!

As we could not commemorate the dead and missing people of the Adriana shipwreck on the day of the first anniversary, we went one day later to the Pont du Vic, which crosses the Canal de Calais à Saint Omer, which flows into the Channel. Here we expressed:

Channel or Aegean: all Shipwrecks are State Crimes!

Free Pylos 9!

From Calais to Lalamousa: we stand in Solidarity!

We wrote on the banner as many names as we could of missing and dead people that were on board the Adriana. We write and read their names and we do not forget them.

We express our solidarity with the families meeting in Lalamousa and all the other relatives and friends around the world who lost loved ones on 14 June 2023 or are still searching for answers.

Three minutes after we had started to attach the banners, the police arrived, checked our identities, and stole our banners. We were barely able to take the photos. Once more, we see the different forms of police and border regime violence: they kill people, they push and pull people back to their place of departure, they do not rescue people in distress, they beat people up, they evict people from their living places. And they try to prevent us from commemorating the dead and missing and remembering the crimes of the border regime.

But we will never forget nor forgive! We will continue to stand united in solidarity!

Freedom of movement for everyone!

AntiNote: We lightly edited the powerful statement above for clarity. We have not reproduced all of Calais Migrant Solidarity’s extensive link citations. Visit and subscribe to their site for these as well as updates from the frontlines of the border crisis in Fortress Europe. They have been faithfully engaged in solidarity efforts and reporting events on the ground for a very long time.

All images: Calais Migrant Solidarity

Closer to home for us at Antidote, Unicorn Riot also released a video covering a commemoration of the Pylos massacre in Athens, Greece, including precious footage of a survivor’s speech:

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