Helsinki, Finland: New Year’s Eve solidarity demo at Metsälä migrant prison

On New Year’s Eve, a group of 40 visited the Metsälä detention unit in Helsinki. We wanted to let the migrants, imprisoned because of their descent, know that we have not forgotten them in the midst of New Year’s celebration.

We sent greetings from behind a fence with shouts of encouragement, drumming, rockets and a banner reading: “No Borders – Solidarity with prisoners!” The prisoners were able to rush into the cage that vaguely resembled a balcony to hear our message, but after a while the guards of the detention unit forced them back indoors. After that, we continued making noise under their windows.

Coppers joined the demonstration at a local train station and followed our route through the side alleys to the prison. On site the police awaited us in riot gear, torturing their dogs by forcing them near the squad, the noise and the rockets, but failed to block access to the fence surrounding the prison. From the beginning the cops behaved aggressively, threatening us with violence, dogs and pepper gas and pushing people to the ground. When the time came to retreat from the fence the cops attacked the crowd and managed to take two protesters with them, while another two managed to get away. The arrested protesters were set free the next day.

The detention unit is a closed facility for up to 40 migrants, persons detained by the police or border control under the Finnish aliens act — not because of any offence.

The imprisonment generally lasts for weeks, at worst up to six months or longer. Metsälä migrant prison is currently the only one in Finland, and it is constantly full of “customers” ageing from children to adults. Typically, the migrants imprisoned in Metsälä are waiting for the police to deport them in cooperation with immigration authorities and, for example, the airlines companies.

By showing our solidarity we are also criticizing the nation-states and their border policies that generate racism and economic inequality. By destroying the freedom of movement, borders allow exploitation of cheap labor and drive people to compete against one another. The borders are a business that kills people just like the Lampedusa “incident” on the 3rd of October 2013 showed us, when 363 migrants drowned on the Italian coast, on the borders of the European union.

This deadly business doesn’t stop at national borders: it is cross-cutting control politics, aiming to monitor, identify and govern everyone in the name of security threats.

Solidarity with the imprisoned migrants!

We will attack
the reasons of our sorrows
there will be
no borders tomorrow!

Source: Takku