News of Berlin Refugee Movement – from inside

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

CALL FOR DEMONSTRATION: We are all Oranienplatz and we will stay all!

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This is a call for a big Demonstration on Sunday, 15th of December!

We start at Oranienplatz. From there we will go together to Alexanderplatz. There is the administration office of the Senator of Interior Frank Henkel. (Senatsverwaltung für Inneres, Grunerstraße Ecke Stralauerstraße). And we will stay for a rally over night until the ultimatum will be taken back.

We are asylum seekers in Germany. Fourteen months ago, we decided that we would no longer accept our miserable living conditions. We decided to rise up against our accommodation in isolating Lagers and against the daily discrimination we face.

We organized ourselves, escaped the Lagers, disregarded the Residenzpflicht, and began our march from Würzburg to Berlin. Arriving there, we occupied the Oranienplatz and then the former Gerhart Hauptmann-School soon after, in order to intensify our protest against German and European asylum policy.

These actions draw the necessary media attention to our protest. It was only through these occupations that we became visible to the public, while at the same time encouraging other refugees to break their isolation and to fight for their rights.

Our movement does not only consist of asylum seekers suffering under the Residenzpflicht and the Lagers, but also of refugees who fled via Lampedusa to Germany. These refugees are not even allowed to apply for asylum here.

We have no possibility to live a life in dignity in Europe. The asylum policy hinders us from living in our own flats and providing for ourselves, because we are not allowed to work. The threat of being deported makes us live in permanent fear and insecurity. What kind of life is this, not even knowing if the police will take you the next day?

Our demands are and will remain: the abolition of Lagers and Residenzpflicht, the stopping of all deportations, a permanent right to stay, the right to work, access to education and to a self-determined habitation as well as the right to freedom of movement. We demand to be treated and respected as human beings. We demand our human rights!

We were forced to leave our previous lives behind due to resource wars, economic exploitation and political persecution. Those reasons left us with no choice other than to leave our families and to flee to Europe.

Western governments support dictatorships through weapon exports, and they destroy our cities in military operations. Whether in Libya, Tunisia, Afghanistan or the Democratic Republic of Congo, European governments do not seek to protect the people there, but to gain access to resources or to defend their own wealth and power. These facts resonate strongly with colonial times and we are the victims. But unfortunately our story is rarely told.

We are tired of being tossed around by European foreign and asylum policy. We are not responsible for their wars and we are no longer willing to bear the consequences.

We are not the problem!

How is it possible that German citizens are able to travel around the world, go on vacation or settle down wherever they want, while we are forced to abandon our homes or to risk our lives while fleeing, only to wind up held in Lagers or deportation prisons in such a degrading manner?

The media recently reported about the death of hundreds of people near the coast of Lampedusa. Politicians showed themselves to be outraged in media reports, but our living conditions in Europe have not changed in the least. Neither did governments and corporations stop exploiting our resources and supporting dictatorial regimes, nor did they increase their support to offer us shelter. Instead, they intensified their border security even more, until the next tragedy in Lampedusa happens when hundreds and thousands of people will die.

Frontex and Eurosur are instead fortifying Europe’s borders. It is clear to see that European interests are not only threatening our home countries but also denying us the opportunity to live in safety.

The people in authority have failed to present any humane or political solutions to these problems because they are themselves a part of the cause.

Instead of genuinely considering our situation and demands, the German Minister of Interior Frank Henkel is now threatening to forcefully evict our camp, to push us back into the isolation of the Lagers or to deport us.

Therefore, we call upon all people, political and social actors like labor unions, schools, universities, churches and unions to actively declare solidarity, to support our call and to prevent the forced eviction of Oranienplatz. Oranienplatz stands for participation, solidarity and communication and is seen as a symbol for the self-organized struggle of refugees all over Europe.

Yes, it is cold and life on Oranienplatz is not easy. But we have decided to accept these conditions, because we do not see any other way to break the ice. We will leave the camp ourselves when our demands are fulfilled.

If the Senate takes away Oranienplatz from us, they also take away our hope for a humane life.

We are running out of time. As I type these lines, more and more of us are being fined for breaking the Residenzpflicht, while others are being deported.

The movement is growing. Become a part of the movement!

We ask you also to make calls for different groups, communities and organizations to be with us in the fight for human rights!

Please bring with you blankets, sleeping bags, food, drinks, music and hot tea!

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