The Greek Transgender Support Association reports that trans people in Thessaloniki, Greece's second-largest city, have been harassed, arrested, and detained by the police on a daily basis for the past two weeks.
From the group's press release:
According to submitted complaints, since 30/5/2013, transgender people are arrested and detained in the police station in daily police "sweep" operations, for at least 3-4 hours, on the pretext of their i.d. verification and their identification as sex workers. There, the transgender persons are forced to tolerate the humiliating behaviour of police officers.
According to the grievances, in one of the cases mentioned, the police stopped the car of three transgender women and arrested them without any justification. In all the cases the unacceptable and offensive behaviour of the police has been protested. In cases when transgender women complained, they were threatened to be sued for disrespect if they did not "comply".
GR Reporter elaborates on this threat:
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 behaviour in public places.
Thessaloniki will hold its second-ever pride event this weekend despite angry protestations from Metropolitan Anthimos, the city's Greek Orthodox leader, who called the celebration a "carnival" and lamented the "unpleasant, unacceptable, and reprehensible presence of homosexuals." Last year the Metropolitan called on believers to "react" to the parade, which enjoys the support of the city's mayor.
The Greek Transgender Support Association notes that the upsurge in anti-trans harassment and arrests coincides with pride season, and speculates that trans people are being systematically and hatefully targeted because of their unique vulnerability within the LGBT community and society at large. "[Trans people] are the ones who suffer most from acute intolerance and exclusion by society and are the easiest victims," the group's statement reads.
The GTSA asks for an immediate end to the actions currently being taken by the Greek police against trans people and their allies, the punishment of the police officers responsible for this anti-trans mistreatment, and the revision of a presidential decree that deals with race-based violence adding gender identity as a protected category. It says it will appeal to the international community if local and national authorities in Greece fail to take action to protect the rights and dignity of trans people in that country.
Top photo via in.gr.