News of Berlin Refugee Movement – from inside

Abolish Residenzpflicht! Abolish ‚Lagers‘! Stop Deportations! Right to Work and Study!

2013 Berlin strikers NEW YEAR´S MESSAGE to all refugees

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published on the press-conference in Berlin, Oranienplatz Jan 4, 2013

deutsche Version


Enough is Enough! It is Time for Resistance !

We, the refugees in Berlin from the protestcamp on the Oranienplatz, send out this message to all our fellow refugees and supporters in Germany, Europe and worldwide and the general public:

We look back:

We put our feet on this land after long journeys, suffering a lot on our divers routes. Arriving here we find ourselves subjected to the reality of ghettos. We are forced to live in lager, treated like prisoners, subdued to decisions taken over our head, just receiving orders. We call it Lagerpflicht (obligation of lager). There is an entire lack of privacy. Medical aid is provided for simply surviving, any healing is not part of the plan. We feel being handled like objects, totally ignored as human beings. Our self-determination is taken away. We are forbidden to pick up proper work yet are forced into low-wage jobs . We and our children cannot go to school and are forced to only hang around in the lagers, just eating and sleeping all day, often for years. We are intentionally isolated from the surrounding society. So the people ever so often react to us with rejection and even exclusion. We live in constant fear of verbal and physical attacks – almost every day somewhere in Germany somebody of us get hurt.

The Residenzpflicht (obligation of residence) is like an open prison, which deprive our rights. It makes us subject to arbitrary and humiliating police controls all over Germany. For us mobility equals a criminal act.

Last year in march we stood up and proclaimed “enough is enough! It is time for resistance”. We decided to disobey the unjust racist laws and regulations and to claim our rights as human beings. We started to take justice into our own hands through acts of civil disobedience. Leaving our lagers we went on the streets and started the tent actions. The first hungerstrike in Würzburg draw the public attention to our unbearable living conditions. We could not achieve our demands but we got lots of solidarity. Getting stronger we united our local actions and set off from Würzburg to Berlin, walking by foot. This was the first time a large group of refugees and asylum-seekers consciously and openly broke the Lagerpflicht and Residenzpflicht. Visiting the refugee Lagers along the way, we made public the isolated situation of refugees. We invited them to leave the Lagers and to join our march. Parallel to the „break-isolation“ march there was a bus tour. We walked 600 km to Berlin in about one month. Here we were welcomed by a massive solidarity campaign.

Where are we today?

For about three months we now have been continuing our resistance with our tents on Oranienplatz in Berlin. To this day, we have carried out many actions: We made demonstrations with 700 participants in Erfurt, 1000 in Leipzig and 7000 in Berlin.We occupied embassies and consulates and carried out two hunger strikes. Recently we also occupied a vacant school to find shelter from the winter and to win more refugees for our political fight.

During these actions, we often became victims of police brutality and many of our friends got arrested.

Our freedom march was a great success. The camp on Oranienplatz grew up to a centre of resistance. The hungerstrike beneath the Brandenburger Tor and next to the Bundestag drove the Parliament (Commitee of the Interior) to meet with us.

But with regard to our three main demands, the necessary steps haven’t been taken yet. Only the Residenzpflicht was abolished in the federal state of Hessen. In accordance to that we express our strong support for the struggle against the Residenzpflicht in Baden-Württemberg.

We have managed to identify racist measures, such as Lagerpflicht, Residenzpflicht, the deportations, the Arbeitsverbot (prohibition of work), education restrictions, the vouchers (Gutscheine), etc. that constitute the isolation system, and put all these issues on the political agenda.

Today we look back with pride on what we have achieved so far. We want thank our fellow refugees and supporters and congratulate everybody for this incredible success!

United we stand!

The future lies in our very hands !

Yes, we know as well: much lies ahead of us !

Each and everyone of us who is living here on our protest camp is daily and continuously breaking the Lagerpflicht and Residenzpflicht.

More and more we have to face trials against our fellow activists. This is a challenge to the individual as well as to the entire protest movement. We let everybody concerned know: You will not be alone with it! In contrast we are determined to find together a collective political response to this menace!

Again, we declare that we will continue to fight against all laws and policies that violate our freedom and dignity.

In solidarity we call out to all refugees out there:

take to the streets and demand liberty and dignity!

Again we declare that we strongly condemn the evacuation of the protest camp in Vienna!

Build up more protest camps – all over !

We do not want to live in lagers where we are isolated

We want to live freely and self-determined.

We refuse to pay the bill for the wars and the crisis of the system.

Our demands continue to be:

Abolish Residenzpflicht!

Close all refugee camps!

Stop all deportations!

Fellow refugees, who you escaped to this country – we call out to you:

Come and join in our struggle and resistance!

Fellow refugees, who you escaped to Europe – we call out to you:

Up on the streets for freedom and dignity!

Fellow refugees, who you you are forced to stray all around the world – we call out to you:

Fight for your rights!

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