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Archive for the ‘Europe’ Category

Greek Health Minister Sanctions Forced HIV Tests

In Europe, Health on 02/07/2013 at 7:50 pm

Greece’s far-right health minister has re-introduced forced HIV tests.

A report on the Pink News website states that HIV campaigners are “appalled” by the decision. The law had previously been used to round up and forcibly test hundreds of women, some of whom had their details published in the press when they were found to be HIV+.

Economic crisis in Greece is leading to a social and health crisis as the right victimise the most vulnerable.

Queers against the Cuts expresses our solidarity with everyone affected by this decision: we will produce a longer statement shortly.

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No Country for Sick People

In Europe, Health on 16/02/2013 at 12:43 pm
Greek healthcare protest against cuts

Greek healthcare protest against cuts

Just when it seems that things cannot get any worse in Greece, comes the news that antiretroviral drugs for HIV will not be given out any more as part of the subsidised national health system – a system already sorely tested. This has led to large numbers of patients, frightened and confused, turning up at Greek hospitals demanding to know what is happening. The reality of the situation is that without antiretrovirals, people living with HIV will see their immune systems collapse fairly quickly, resulting not only in a range of serious infections but also resistance developing to treatment. Even in many African countries, antiretrovirals are now available free, as not only does it protect the health of those affected but also plays a large role in the spread of HIV.

Prior to the latest developments, I had been in touch with the editor of Baseline magazine, a publication circulated in all UK sexual health clinics, which deals with HIV issues. I had asked if the situation was ok in Greece, and was told that there were no apparent problems as yet. I had seen a film report some months ago that HIV+ people would not receive social security unless their CD4 count was below the dangerous level and this was leading to hungry patients actually putting their health at risk in order to feed themselves. I was told that the situation in the clinics was stable at present. However, there had been reports of a lack of cancer drugs being available and I read an article about Greeks scouring the UK and elsewhere in Europe trying to get cancer drugs because the Greek health service could no longer afford them.

Queers Against the Cuts, the LGBTQ anti-cuts organisation based in London and Brighton, is now issuing a press release about the situation in Greece for the LGBTQ press in the UK and we are also liaising with Basline and others to get bodies such as the European Parliament Working Group on HIV/AIDS and others to intervene in Greece.

It is not just LGBTQ people in Greece who will be affected by this but also drug users and so once again we are seeing the marginalised in Greek society being used the bear the burden for the austerity agenda. However, this time it could actually lead to the deaths of many people. It is simply unacceptable that citizens of an EU country are unable to access life saving drugs. For all of the above reasons, and because I am also a person living with HIV, I am intending to go on the next Greek Solidarity Campaign delegation to Greece in April and to gather the facts on the ground as well as providing solidarity to those affected by these medical cuts. We must all ensure that people in Greece have access to vital medicines, whatever their condition.

Greece is now in the situation where it is the victim of a plague, similar to something from the classical legends. This time, however, the plague is completely manmade and its name is Austerity

Out Against the Nazis

In Anti-Fascism, Europe on 28/01/2013 at 8:00 pm

Anti-fascist demoMembers of Queers Against the Cuts braved the snow and joined the rally in solidarity with Greek anti-fascists organised by Unite Against Fascism on Saturday 19 January 2013 outside Greek Embassy in Holland Park. This was part of a global protest that included action from Moscow to Chicago as well as Athens in Greece.

In Greece the Golden Dawn Party is unashamedly models itself on Hitler’s Nazi party. It is directly involved in attacks on immigrants, the Muslim and Jewish communities, and lesbians, gays, bisexual and trans people which are happening daily. Last November Golden Dawn MP Ilias Panayiotaras launched a homophobic rant, shouting ‘Wrap it up you little faggots’ and ‘Your time is coming’.

It was a small but noisy demonstration with 500 anti-fascists rallying outside London’s Greek embassy. Speakers included Labour MPs Jeremy Corbyn and David Lammy, London Assembly member Andrew Dismore, and veteran campaigner Tony Benn. The Queers Against the Cuts banner was warmly received and readily photographed.

Somewhat betraying their claims to support LGBT rights a small number of thugs from the England Defence League attempted to organise a counter-rally in support of Golden Dawn. However under pressure from the anti-fascist protesters and through the negotiation of Jeremy Corbyn and David Lammy, the Police removed the EDL.

Weyman Bennett, joint chair of UAF, ended the rally. “Never again will we allow the gas chambers of Treblinka, the pink triangle or racist murders on our streets,” he said. “We struggle together and we will win together”.

The United Against Fascism Conference shall be held on Saturday 2 March from 10am to 4.30pm at TUC Congress House, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3LS. For more information: http://uaf.org.uk/2013/01/uaf-conference-2013-saturday-2-march-central-london/

Never Again! – Support the Europe-wide day of action against fascism Sat 19 Jan 2013.

In Anti-Fascism, Europe on 13/01/2013 at 1:47 pm

Saturday 19 January 2013,
Assemble 12 noon,
Greek embassy,
1A Holland Park,
London W113TP

The rise of the fascist right, racism, xenophobia and sexual prejudice across Europe is frightening. Nowhere more so than in Greece.

The Golden Dawn Party is unashamedly anti-Semitic. It is directly involved in attacks on immigrants, the Muslim community, and lesbians, gays, bisexual and transpeople which are happening daily. Critical journalists and oppositional politicians have also been targeted.

Last November Golden Dawn MP Ilias Panayiotaras launched a homophobic rant, shouting ‘Wrap it up you little faggots’ and ‘Your time is coming’.

Golden Dawn doesn’t seek to hide its neo-Nazi credentials or regalia. Yet it is in the Greek parliament and third in the polls despite one of its leaders physically assaulting two women MPs on television before polling day.

Golden Dawn has grown since entering parliament. It is organising paramilitary gangs and it has infiltrated sections of the police.

Neither conceding to their bigotry nor hoping the storm will pass have ever stopped fascist storm troopers. And Greece, in a 1930s-style economic meltdown is facing the real threat of fascism.
The very word democracy comes to us from Greek. Now in a country that has recent memories of military coup, democracy is again imperilled.

We stand with the suffering Greek people, in their majority, against the most serious threat of fascism anywhere in Europe in our lifetime.

We support the call for an international day of action to highlight the threat of fascism in Greece. We stand with the civil society organisations and intellectuals who are rallying on 19 January under the banner: Athens – Anti-fascist city. We will gather outside the Greek embassy on that day in London.

Queers Against the Cuts will be taking part of Europe-wide day of action against fascism on Saturday 19 January 2013.