Since the winter of 2012/2013, approximately 300 African refugees live in Hamburg. They managed to escape from Libya, migrated to Italy and then reached the German border. In May 2013 fighters of the group “Lampedusa in Hamburg,” recognized in Italy as refugees from the NATO-war in Libya, publicly stepped into action for the first time in Germany, in their struggle for free access to the labour market, housing, medical and social care, education and free choice of their residence within the European Union—legal rights which can always be granted, in contrast to the claims made by the Hamburg state minister of the Interior and the mayor. The Senate is only eager to provide temporary accommodation ahead of the cold winter if the refugees hand over their documents and agree to be deported. Recently, mayor Olaf Scholz of the SPD (Social Democratic Party of Germany) even stated that Hamburg have the most modern refugee-politics in the country… In this very moment—while the agony for the latest deaths of migrants on Italy’s southernmost island Lampedusa is still fresh—the Hamburg government has unleashed a large-scale police operation also against these refugees, who survived the war and the flight to Lampedusa some time ago.
As reported earlier, in mid-October 2013 activists gave an ultimatum to the Senate of Hamburg to stop the racial profiling, but naturally there was no positive sign from the side of authorities. However, the city of Hamburg has not seen one quiet day ever since. The local forces were unable to cope with all of the actions over the past few days, thus police deployments have moved to Hamburg from other regions to their aid. There have been numerous activities and demonstrations in Hamburg and several other cities across Germany, and beyond. Below are some updates.
The group “Lampedusa in Hamburg” held their weekly march in the city, this time counting with the presence of 1,000 participants (next demo scheduled for Wednesday the 23rd of October). Another open letter of the refugees was addressed to the Senate of Hamburg —you may read it here.
– Small groups of activists blocked traffic along streets in the port area of Hamburg, while hundreds of cops conducted anti-refugee checks, mainly on the Reeperbahn; people in solidarity tried to resist and shouted slogans. A demonstration from Gänsemarkt square started at 7pm with 600 people (video). In addition, 300 other protesters took part in several demonstrations in Hamburg that night through Mönckebergstraße or the Karstadt mall. A few hundred people took to the streets also at Millerntor square, Schanze area and Eimsbüttel, where clashes with the police occurred. At 8pm, nearly 100 people blocked the Kennedy bridge. Repression forces were over-challenged by activities throughout the day.
– An anti-nationalist action was claimed in Frankfurt in solidarity with the “Lampedusa in Hamburg.”
– In Bielefeld almost 20 activists attacked several capitalist targets, such as profiteers from Europe war politics. Cops were unable to stop the action.
– An unauthorized demonstration of nearly 50 people took place in Vienna, Austria.
– Nearly 1,200 people participated in a demonstration that started from the Hamburg university. Several spontaneous demonstrations were held in the Schanze neighbourhood and around the Altona railway station. Members of the “Gezi Park Fiction” group, in St. Pauli, expressed their solidarity with the message: “Love real boat people – Hate maritime marketing” connecting the refugee protest with the anti-gentrification struggle. They also stated: “People from Lampedusa have enriched our lives for a few months now. They gave back to St. Pauli a sense of community and a sense of knowing that our right to the city doesn’t know nations or property; and surely no skin colour.”
– Some 10th grade pupils from a school in St. Pauli released an open petition to make their gym available for the refugees in winter.
– In the evening, around 80 people participated in an uncontrolled stroll from St. Pauli to the Schanze neighbourhood, passing out fliers to pedestrians, spraying graffiti and attacking banks and shops with stones and hammers. The stroll dispersed when cops arrived on the scene.
– A night dance-demonstration for affordable housing also showed solidarity with the refugees’ struggle (video).
– Racial profiling and migration controls were significantly reduced due to the fact that the police did not have enough forces to conduct those. Yet another round of small, spontaneous demonstrations took place allover Hamburg.
– Rostock saw the largest demonstration since the anti-G8 protest in 2007. More than 1,500 people hit the streets in solidarity with refugee fights.
– Nearly 200 people marched through the Rheinhausen area in Duisburg, where racial tensions against Roma accommodated in a shelter have existed for months.
– Approximately 500 people participated in a demonstration in Büren against the biggest German migrant prison. It’s been a long time since this annual demonstration had attracted so many participants.
– Some 50 people in solidarity with refugees held a spontaneous demonstration in Bamberg.
– A solidarity demonstration took place in Flensburg, too, with a total of 80 activists.
Repression practices increased rapidly in Hamburg on Sunday. A spontaneous demonstration of 200 people at Dammtor was kettled on different points of the route, and the crowd was forcibly evicted from the area. Cops detained demonstrators, and several participants were singled out and filmed by the police.
– People in solidarity with the refugees in Hamburg gathered in downtown Wuppertal. Approximately 70 participants carried out a spontaneous demonstration to the local office of the SPD. An open letter from this solidarity initiative was read and given to the SPD. Cops didn’t attempt to attack the demo.
– In the south of Leipzig nearly 60 people held an unauthorized march using fireworks and building barricades. Comrades tried to destroy an infamous surveillance camera at the Connewitzer Kreuz by placing burning trash bins underneath it.
– Spontaneous demonstrations took place in Hamburg once again, counting with a large presence of people. Streets were blocked by protesters, and oftentimes cops were too slow to intervene.
– There was an evening critical mass ride of 500 bicyclists in solidarity with Lampedusa refugees in Hamburg (video). Police vehicles drove after the bike demo. Shortly afterwards, Hamburg’s mayor Olaf Scholz (primarily responsible for the escalation of repression) gave a public speech to his loyal voters. Anti-racists mobilized to effectively disrupt the meeting. People inside the hall started to chant “No human being is illegal – A right to stay for everyone.” Few activists were reportedly detained during the action. Outside, their 500 supporters were blocking the traffic.
– Nearly 100 people held an evening solidarity demonstration at Frankfurt airport area.
Sadly fascist scum have been busy for the last few weeks, too. There have been arson attacks on houses for refugees in Gemünden and Wehr, while similar attacks occurred in Luckenwalde, Premnitz, Güstrow and Duisburg. Recently, the neo-Nazi party NPD (National Democratic Party of Germany) initiated a march with torches in Schneeberg with 1,500 participants. This presence also demonstrates the fact that parts of the middle class engage in openly racist activity. The situation brings back horrifying memories of pogroms against migrants in various parts of Germany in the early 90s.
Meanwhile, on the 20th of October, “activists against racism and deportations” released a call to action, stating among others that the right to stay for refugees will be decided in the streets, from all the people who practice their own forms of resistance, those who are blocking the deportation operation and disturb the repressive controls, those who open up new spaces for protest, all those who publicly declare their resistance again or for the first time…
Friday, 25.10: Call for demonstration in Hamburg (after the football match St. Pauli vs Sandhausen) by fans of the FC St. Pauli and district initiatives in solidarity with Lampedusa refugees
Saturday, 26.10: Demonstration from Rote Flora against police arbitrariness and racist controls in Hamburg / Demonstration against Frontex on the same day in Munich, under the slogan “Learn from Lampedusa – open migration routes!”
Saturday, 2.11: Solidarity demonstration for Lampedusa refugees in Hamburg —see flyer
Saturday, 21.12: Nationwide demonstration in Hamburg in solidarity with the Rote Flora squat, the Esso houses initiative, and for the right to permanence for refugees and everyone