reports from the 3rd international action day
3rd day of Migration-Related Actions: 7 oct 2006
07.Oct.06 - Saturday the 7th of october was the 3rd Day of migration related action directed against the denial of rights, against the criminalisation of migrants and against all immigration controls. action took place in more than 30 cities across Europe, Africa and North America. the activists were demanding a European unconditional legalisation and equal rights for all migrants, the closure of all detention centers in Europe and everywhere, an end to all deportations and of the externalisation process and the uncoupling of the residence permit from the labour contract and against 'precarity'.
read on for a collection of reports and pictures from the actions in cities across europe. this page will be updated as reports are coming in...
The main shopping street of Zaandam (near Amsterdam) was visited by a delegation of the Detention and Exclusion Service on the 7th of octobre. The Service proudly presented the two new detention boats for 600 migrants that are soon to be opened. The public were offered a look at the two floating prison models in the 2 meter aquarium and at the presentation boards with maps of the cells. A full colour flyers - "For your and our safety: it is with appropriate pride that we want to present the new asset of Zaandam" – was handed out as well as distributed door-to-door (20.000 in total). The council gave so far a confusing and false picture on the boats talking about criminals and human detention. This lack of information was the basis of the public action on the international day of action. The maps were also proving that the builder of the detention boats in Zaandam also build the Deportation Centre of Rotterdam Airport. This prison was declared a fire risk by the mayor of Rotterdam. The prison build with 'sea containers' was not sufficiently build with fire resistant material by the builder. It is this cheap and quick solution of migration that led to the fire at the Schiphol prison last year when 11 migrants died.
Lots of people were shocked by the information on the harsh regime in detention centres for people without papers. Detail is that the Zaandam council who is lying to their inhabitants is one of the few left wing councils in the Netherlands. After an one day occupation of the boats during the building in January and pressure on the council last summer this public action will help buiding more resistance against this useless and inhuman vision on migration.
In Athens a demonstration for the right of the children who are born in greece to get greek citizenship took place. It was quite good and at around 500 people participated. As the municipal elections will take place in a week it was a very difficult period for organizing something bigger in Athens. Unlike most demonstrations this one went through small streets were lots of immigrants live and work. The following pictures were taken from athens.indymedia.org:
Benin (no city specified)
On the 6th and 7th of october manifestations were organized in Benin, a conference took place on the 6th of october and a praying session on the 7th of october.
On friday the 6th of october a large delegation of anti-racist and autonomous activists from social centers TPO and Crash in Bologna waited several hours out of the detention center (CPT) of this city for the Ministerial Commision leaded by ONU ambassador De Mistura and made up of representative of varios italian NGO and association (Anci; Caritas;ACLI; FCEI; ARCI; ASGI; CIR) that are working with the ministry of internal affairs, to study and report about the conditions of the detention centers.
The comrades have faced the commission, stopped the convoy and asked a face to face discussion to criticize what the commission means and is doing. The asked the immediate end of the Commission works and the immediate closure of the detention centers
They also criticized the new law proposal by the Minister Giuliano Amato that goes further in the same bad direction of the racist wing Bossi-Fini law. The answer of the Commission was ashamed and not clear. The asked to wait until december to know the conclusions of their report.
"We have been struggling against that detention center from 1998 and we don't need your paper to know what it is that prison" answered the people, and gave to the commission a report on the struggles, from outside and from inside, against that lager. Finally they anounced the No Border Parade for tomorrow the 7 of October.
On the 7th of October in Bologna, 200 migrants of the Coordinamento Migranti from all the African but also east European countries, with the support of several activists of the local movement, among them social unionists, students and militants of the social centres, demonstrated in front of the local Government site saying loudly: WE WANT RESPECT! The demonstration started at 10.30 am, and until 1.30 pm migrants were really protagonists: many of them took the microphone denouncing their conditions of life and work under the Bossi-Fini law regime and its administration by the local institutions. A group of migrant women took the initiative of blocking the traffic in front of the Prefettura, and faced the local police clearly saying that "now this one is our space and our moment". The newsletter, 'Crossing Borders!', was distributed in several languages.
About 150 people gathered in front of the border fence between morocco and Ceuta in order to commemorate those who died trying to cross the fence into spanish territory in the autumn of 2005. members of 14 associations and collectives and local inhabitants. the Moroccan army refused access to the precise location where at least 5 persons were killed on the 29th of september last year. A small ceremony was held in front of the Moroccan soldiers 'protecting' the border to commemorate the death of these and all other migrants who had been killed because they tried to reach for a better living and to demand justice to be done. the activists rejected the current european policies towards migration and demanded respect for the fundamental rights of migrants regardless if they are asylum seekers or persons attempting to find work in the west.
the recently 'improved' border fortifications were clearly visible: new surveillance posts, trences and fences and a increased presence of the moroccan military 'protecting' one of the most un-egalitarian frontiers in the world (in terms of GDP between Europe and Africa.
Chios island (Greece in the aegean sea, near the turkish coast)
Today, 7 October 2006, the Chios Refugee Solidarity Committee participated in the Action Day for Refugees and Immigrants. In our action, we focused on the so-called "safe prevention" applied by the port authorities of the Mediterranean countries in the name of border control, which systematically puts in danger the life of those refugees who attempt with minimal means to pass from the shores opposite ( e.g. turkey) to European ground. We were all wearing black clothes and had our hands tied, trying to show the sore condition of the refugees, while we were handing out leaflets to inform the local society.
PS. "Safe prevention" refers to the order given to the port authorities to discourage and prevent by any means the refugees from entering the greek territory.
about 50 people participated in frankfurt in the transnational actionday against migration-control. an impressive installation of a borderfence (with barbed wire and cameras) was built up in the entrance area of the international bookfair (which took place in the same time and included also readings and debates about boat-refugees). we used bannners against frontex and for freedom of movement, we distributed leaflets, which also focussed to the current campaign for the right to stay in germany (as mentioned in an earlier mail on this list at 31.08.2006) with another bigger mobilisation for 16th of november to nuernberg...
pictures from aktivgegenabschiebung.de.
The meeting point of the migration action-day in Freiburg was the town hall square, a central point in the inner city. The exhibition "the moving of the world" by the collective Libertad (Frankfurt – Germany) about refugee camps in context of time and society was shown there as gathering point. Furthermore, a boat was settled symbolizing the daily drama of escaping and moving from Africa to Europe. The opening of the migration action-day was made by members of Batir Le Togo with a speech, referring specially to the momentary political and economic situation of African countries. Extracts from a speech from the Iranian-German writer Navid Kermani referring to the happenings that took place in Ceuta and Melilla about one year ago were also played. Beside, the meaning of the migration action-day was also explained and greetings to all other participating groups and people in Africa, Europe and America were sent.
Then the protest march started its tour through the inner part of the town with about 250 to 300 participants. With a long transparent, on which was drawn a barbed wire fence, symbolizing the European borders, the traffic of the cars and the pedestriants was blocked for some time. In another speech computer specialists and star sportsmen were welcomed polemically, while refugees and good-for-nothings were declared to be deported; the ones managing to reach Europe nevermind, of course, are allowed to work as illegals, producing cheap goods for the European consumers. In one more declaration a woman from Syria reported about her family that has been tried to be deported from Germany, being able of hiding through solidarity (church asylum), and having now -for some uncertain time- again a legal status. A Kurdish woman informed about the derecognition of asylum in Germany, which concerns mainly Kurdish people from Turkey; she demanded the recognition of the reality of persecution in Turkey and the stop of the deportations from Europe. The Rasthaus group (Centre for helping and supporting immigrants in Freiburg) gave also one more speech talking about the difficulties and central points of the lives of the illegal immigrants. The speeches were followed by an action against the so-called "Residenzpflicht", a German law, that steals from all asylum seekers the right of free movement. An ironic action about tourism was also performed: with hundreds of advertisement flyers the pedestriants were informed about their holiday paradises and the situation of the political opposition in those countries.
The manifestation also left many clear (paper) traces in the town: about hundreds of foot prints were left on the ground, with texts like: "A human being remains a human being – nevermind where it is", "Every person has the right to have rights", "legalisation of Sans-Papiers" etc. In front of a bigger department store an anti-consumerism action took place: "goods in – people out?!?". Suitcases out of paper board, that were decorated with advertisement for cheap products of every day life, were put on a pile. Finally the march returned to the town hall square, where there was a last speech referring to the planned deportations of about 200 000 "tolerated" asylum seekers and the conference of the ministers of inner affairs on November the 15th/16th in Nürnberg, that will decide about who has the right to stay and who is going to be expulsed. In the end there was played a 30-minutes- collage with stories about experiences during escapes and the reasons of escaping. By the variety of the actions many people passing by were appealed. The Badische Zeitung (regional newspaper) published on the same day an interview with a member of Batir Le Togo, co-organisator of the migration action-day, widing the spreading of the message of this action day.
there was a small (30-35 people) but nice manifestation in Gothenburg/Sweden on the 7th of october dedicated to the memory of the people who have died, either trying to enter EU/schengen or because of the racist system (in camps etc).
On the transnational day of migration-related actions, about 6-700 people from Northern Germany, among them many refugees, demonstrated in Hamburg for freedom of movement, against camps and deportations, for the right to stay and equal rights for all. Although it was raining cats and dogs, people were in high spirits. This was due to suitable music from the truck with loudspeakers and informations about a new global passport, which was available on the demonstration, and also to several speeches, telling about struggles here and elsewhere.
In the opening speach, it was explained how it came to this transnational day of action, which was adopted on the European Social Forum in May 2006 and signed by more than 200 groups from all over Europe and Africa. Actions took place in nine German towns, eight European and four African countries. Resistance against the European migration policies, also in Africa, was made public and relations to the situation in Hamburg were underlined.
After this, refugees from the camp Blankenburg near Oldenburg reported about their strike, which they are organizing since the 4th of october against the inhuman conditions there. They called for support for their demand for better food, medical treatment and an end of the harrassments by the staff of the camp. In general they demand an end of the policies of isolation, which means of the forced accomodation in camps, and instead of this the right to live in normal houses.
Later a woman from Afghanistan told about her situation as a refugee, threatened by deportation. An organisation of Iranian refugees demanded different policies of migration and external affairs. Another speaker asked how Germany would look like, if there would be a legalisation of all undocumented people, free health care for all and no deportations, and if there were no fences around Europe - a utopia, which we wish to become true!
In front of a prison, which is also being used as deportation prison, the Hamburg policies of exclusion and deportation were explained and especially the transfer of the "reception center" for refugees from Hamburg to Nostorf/Horst, a camp in the forest in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, and the new central data base to register school children and by this identify undocumented people, were critisized.
In the end, refugees from Togo demanded a stop of deportation to this country, which is still ruled by a family clan dictatorship. The Caravan for the Rights of Refugees presented herself. People called for a demonstration on the 16th of november in Nuernberg, where the conference of the interior ministers of Germany will take place, in order to demand an unconditional right to stay and papers for all.
Almost exactly at the end of the demonstration, when the participants went into a cultural center to get some food, the rain stopped and the sun came out - a sign of hope and of new perspectives, which were opened by this transnational day of action?
Activists in Lindau staged a symbolic landing of a immigrant boat in the yacht-harbour of Lindau. onece landed the imigrants were 'arrested' and brought to an 'internment camp' in the city-center. during a the action a number of speeches were held and flyers were distributed among the public.
pictures from de.indiymedia.org
In Malaga 600 hundred people participated in the demo and in the festival at the door of Detention Center. Its not a lot of people but its ok for the situation that we are living in spain with the "becoming sarkozy" of Zapatero politics on migration and the media talking every day about invasion. Specially important was the participation of members of the migrants asociations in malaga. However the demonstration was important step to garantee that all the social organizations (including United Left Party and the main union - ccoo) suport the demand of closing the detantion center...
pictures from estrecho.indymedia.org.
On the 7th of October we did the action against migration control in Moscow. We started on the one of the biggest Moscow streets – Garden ring – and directed our steps towards the Federal migration service that is a part of Ministery of Internal Affairs and in charge of the migration politics in Russia. There were 3 groups of activists – group of the people symbolizing refuges with a surgery masks on they faces and crosses on the mouths and brief life histories written on the paper on they clothes, samba band beating a tattoo of execution, ACAB (clown army) with lashes beating "refuges". We were moving on the street giving out a leaflets and "Crossing borders" newsletters. We met some people from the Caucasus (that are the main subject for discrimination in Russia) and they identified themselves with us as some others passers-by. When we came to the official building drummers shouted a slogan "Nobody is illegal!" and clowns started to blame themselves in awful behaviour and policy etc. At the same time in front of the Federal migration service people hanged a banner "Nobody is illegal". Then a cop went out of the building and he couldn't understand what's going on and we went away. We did this action without any permission. Nobody was arrested.
pictures from ru.indymedia.org.
In the morning of friday the 6th of october activists have again climbed on the floating deportation prisons in the harbour of rotterdam and blockaded the entrances by locking themseves to the gate.
The action began about 06.00am: The main entrance got blockaded by for activists with help of lock-ons. On the same time two activists walked on the terrain with banners, two others activist climbed on the bridge of the deporationship.
After about an hour the activists on the bridge were violently taken away by the police on a boat. About half an hour later the called-in fire brigade managed to cut open the gate so that the four activists locked to the gate could be removed. they were transported to the police station while still being locked to each other. During the entire period the activists got loads of applauds of the people inside the deporation-boats. Multiable times the activists could hear loads of noise of the boat.
The climbers got released after doing six hours of time. Their climbing equipment is confiscated. Two of the lock-on activist released themselves out of the lock-ons. After one day and on night at the police station all four of them were relased.
With this action we draw attention to the witchhunt against illigalised people. We want these people to be able to lead normal lifes! close down all the detention and deportations centers! freedom for all this innocent people!
Workgroup Stop Deportations / Pictures from nl.indymedia.org
In the 7 October meeting, the Migrants Forum in Thessaloniki has moved one step ahead towards its organisation and consolidation. The participation of migrants was smaller (about 25 -30 migrants from Albania, Nigeria, Afghanistan and Georgia) than that expected by the persons of the forum who worked hard to organise it and involve communities, while the heavy rain didn't allow outdoor activities, both discussion and cultural happening. The meeting and discussion took place inside the Labor Center and the participating migrants confirmed their will to work together and agreed that «their voices, if united, will be heard farther». The participants from antiracist organisations stated their decision to support this effort. Eventually, a party took place in the Migrants' place with music from Afghanistan, Iran and Albania.
Some 350 people joined the demonstration in Vienna against custody pending deportation and for the freedom of movement on Oct 7, 2006, the Transnational Day of Action Against Migration Controls.
At 2:30 pm people met in front of one of Viennas deportation prisons at Hernalser Guertel 8-12. Around 3pm the march started with around 350 participants. Theire was not much police present around the demonstration. Many leaflets and as well the crossing borders newsletter were given to intersted people..
The demonstration surrounded the prison and passed the office of "Menschenrechte Oesterreich" (Human Rights Austria), an organisation which was founded to advise people in the deportation prisons. It works very close together with the Ministry of Internal Affairs. A short speech informed the peope about the practice of this organisation which is one part of the deportation system.
Then the demonstration stopped in front of one branch of the supermarket Billa, which is known for bad working conditions. One more speech informed on the situation of the workers their.
After the demonstration went to the court building in Wickenburggasse 18-20 where people are detained while awaiting trial. Many people are inprisioned here on racist reasons (see for example the so called "Operation Spring" and the report No consequences!? Institutional racism and torture in Austria at no-racism.net). One speech informed on the special situation of women prisoners.
An other speech informed on the situation of one man who started hungerstrike against custody pending deportation 38 day ago! He lost already a lot of his weight. With the new law against foreigners (in force since January 1, 2006) it is possible for the officials to use forced feeding for people who are detained under the foreigners law who are using hungerstrike as protest against custody pending deportation. It is not official that this method was used already, but in some cases hungerstrikers were threatened by police officers with forced feeding to stop their hungerstrike.
After this break, the demonstration surrounded the building and went to the last stop, the deportation prison at Rossauer Laende 7-9. The prison was surrounded and the crowd with around 220 people stopped in front of the main entrance for the closing manifestation. One more speech explained the system of custody pending deportation. The demonstration was finished at 5:30 and the people left the place bit by bit.