With courage and tenacity refugees are fighting since months against racism and for a life in dignity

Refugees Welcome

Statement of the occupants of the office of the Green party in Dusseldorf during the No Border camp in July, 2012  Anger and solidarity

In March ten refugees caused much attention with a hunger strike in front of the town hall of Würzburg. After the suicide of a companion they left the refugee camps to draw public attention to their hopeless situation and to fight for their rights. "We refugees are no victims anymore", they explained.


"We left the places of isolation, degradation and humiliation, the places in which we were condemned to idleness and death. Since we have gone out into the streets, we are free." Their protest expanded: Also in Aub, Bamberg, Osnabrück, Regensburg and Dusseldorf refugees established protest camps and were in hunger strike temporarily. They fight against deportation, for the abolition of all camps and collective lodgings and against the Residenzpflicht which forbids to leave the administrative district assigned to them. From the beginning the authorities tried to frustrate the protest and reacted with harassment and arbitrary police controls. In Dusseldorf the police prohibited the activists to protest near the old town. The chief constable only permitted a "Mahnwache", but prohibited tents and arranged regular raids and night controls to hinder the activists from sleeping and to frighten them. As a result the activists decided for a hunger strike once more.

Participants of the No Border camp in Cologne that took place in July, tried to impose political pressure with the temporary occupation of the headquarter of the Green party in Dusseldorf, to stop at least the bloody-minded police order not to sleep at a Mahnwache („wache“ means to be awake and not to sleep - so the chief constable justified the order! actually, it was however a protest tent) near the Rhine. With the occupation of their office the Green party should be reminded of their responsibility as a government party in North Rhine-Westphalia, so that concrete actions should follow their nice words of "refugee's protection", human rights and freedom of assembly - Our demand was not too big. Finally, this would have only meant negotiating with the police to enforce the taking back of the illegal orders.
We warned Mona Neubauer, the negotiating member of the Greens several times, that the refusal of a rainproof tent and the direct prevention of sleeping means a danger for body and life of the hunger striking activists. Her cynical comment: The hunger striking endangered their health themselves, it is their own risk. - Some days later even the higher administrative court in Münster confirmed by decision that the police orders must be taken back and that the protest of the striking activists is protected by the right of assembly. -
The only answer by the Green party to the minimum demands of the occupants for an unequivocal positioning and real support for the activists by the Green party to keep at least a small amount of the right of assembly was the eviction of the occupants and pressing a criminal charge against every one of them.

At the beginning of November the protesting activists stopped their protest in Dusseldorf and appealed for a participation in the protest march from Wurzburg to Berlin. A new stage of their opposition began. After 28 days and nearly 600 kilometres of walk they arrived in Berlin. There they organized a demonstration with more than 6000 people. Later on some refugees occupied the Nigerian embassy to point out the collaboration of Nigeria and Germany concerning the deportation of asylum-seekers. The occupation was stopped with the most massive police power, it came to a spontaneous demonstration. In spite of the repressive measures by the authorities a protest tent was built up directly in front of the Brandenburg Gate. The activists want to prevent that the protest would be ignored by the politicians, which hoped the winter would make camping soon impossible.
Again the authorities reacted with hardness: Police prevented once more the pitching of tents, the use of matraces and sleeping-bags, and every evening and at night they used torchlights to prevent the hunger striking from sitting down for sleeping. Right on the outset of winter the police under a great contingent confiscated their bus, the only protection from cold, rain, snow and wind.
As soon as some of them defended themselves against the chicaneries, they were arrested. Moreover they were not allowed to participate in the opening of the memorial for Roma and Sinti murdered in the national socialism, which took place a few hundred metres away. They would have confronted the celebrities which held commemorative speeches with the fact, that politicians of CDU / CSU and SPD pursue a racist campaign against Roma from Southeast Europe at the same time. This reminds us in fatal manner of the rushing which preceded the pogroms and the abolition of the right of political asylum in the beginning of the nineties.

The heavy reactions of the state organs against the protesting refugees were to demonstrate the futility of their demands and to prevent solidarity. Parallels appear to the Occupy-movement, in the form of the protest, as well as in the repression: When with the swing of the Arabian spring in the USA, Greece, Spain, Israel and many other countries, people occupied places and their tents became symbols of the selfauthorization. As long as this was supported by wide middle-class circles the occupy-camps were protected. However, after months the picture tipped: with reference on the unsanitary state and criminal activity the police and ordinal authorities achieved the eviction of the unpopular - since uncontrollable - places and the police executed even violent assaults. Then, during the action days of Blockupy in May all tents were forbidden everywhere in Frankfurt - Today the ban of tents is current practise.

All this is connected in a way, where our discussions are based on and make sense. One transnational movement is linked by its ways of fighting in selforganization and selfauthorization, links between migration from other countries - and the at last (neo-)colonial reasons to escape - and the people who fight here against her depreciation and deprivation of rights. The European crisis politics is designed to strengthen and to intensify the social war within and beyond Europe. The application of Frontex in the death-zone of the mediterranean sea is adapted to the changes in North Africa and in the Middle East. In Greece the living conditions of the people and their chances to survive are destroyed systematically, at the same time the rise of the fascistic movement against migrants and people living on the poverty line is promoted. In Spain the youth is robbed systematically of its life perspectives. Some are allowed to serve as cheap manpower in the global growth zones, others are pushed in the social offside. This structure is valid for the whole of Europe, even if in Germany it is visible only to a certain extend yet.

We understand the actions between Wurzburg and Berlin as part of a far-reaching struggle against the barbarity - not only as a defence, but as a selforganization of an other world. To abolish racist laws and to achieve the abolition of Lager, Residenzpflicht and deportations seemes almost impossible up to now. Nevertheless refugees resisted successfully with courage and perseverance and they show that opposition is possible!

Solidarity with the protesting refugees!

The former occupants of the headquarter of the Green party in North Rhine-Westphalia

December 2012