A nonviolent protest using banners and guerilla theater was held in and outside of the “First Eastern European Psychiatric Congress” in Thessaloniki, Greece on 21 September 2007. The protest was by the Pan-Hellenic Coalition for Psychiatric Reform. There is a link to a brief video of the action that you may watch.
22 September 2007 – translation
Declaration from Pan-Hellenic Coalition for Psychiatric Reform
STOP PSYCHIATRIC VIOLENCE
Thousands of inmates in psychiatric institutions in all Balkan countries bear at this very moment experience psychiatric brutality under the most awful conditions leading to their social and biological death.
Thousands of inmates are mechanically or chemically restrained, are subjected to ECT, are put in isolation and are deprived under the pretext of “treatment modality” of fundamental human rights; that is the right to be human.
This situation is not their choice.
It is the choice of a specific social-political-cultural regime which necessitates the control of the society and the social extinction of all those who threaten the balance of its development and reproduction model in order to maintain its stability. This choice is manifested in the interaction of manifold factors. Which are these?
Those sciences which intend to shape and define — arbitrarily but still “in scientific terminology” — the boundaries between “normal” and “abnormal,” “mental health” and “mental illness” with the conception of various psychiatric, psychological and sociological theories.
The Psychiatry which — through observation, description and classification in the framework of the scientific arbitrariness of the psychiatric nosology in its different variants (traditional, bio-psychosocial and community) — in synergy with Justice and drug industry constructs the notions of dangerousness and dangerous mental patients.
The dominant mental health policies driven exclusively by fiscal criteria which address the need to reduce the “fiscal burden,” urge privatization or reduction of the number of inmates in hospitals by transferring the latter from the state-nurtured “not-for-profit sector” to the new type of institutional structures in the community.
The mental health professionals, trapped as we are in processes and mechanisms of alienation, which deny even our human essence and are transformed, through the educational system, into trained instruments for the exercise of violence on fellow human beings.
All of us, citizens, which through our tolerance towards the confinement and extinction of our fellow citizens maintain and reproduce this situation.
Therefore, the demand for the prohibition and penalization of the exercise of any form of violence in Psychiatry and the abolition of confinement places is not merely a humanitarian request but a claim for our own liberation from the alienation we experience ourselves.
PAN-HELLENIC COALITION FOR PSYCHIATRIC REFORM