by Napuli Paul Langa
In the 2012 self-organized refugees’ movement in Germany because that the asylum-seekers are passing through: deportations, the obligation of asylum seekers’ residence, they are staying in the camps for a longer time, some from 1-10 years without permission to stay in Germany. However, the protest started in one of the camps in Würzburg/Germany in early 2012 because of the suicide of an Iranian asylum-seeker called Mohammed in a refugee’s camp in Wuerzburg, though that was not the beginning of the refugees’ movement a trigger point of the 1970s which I will illustrate it below, consequently, the friends of Mohammed refused the situation, stood up for Mohammed’s death. They decided to protest in Würzburg with many actions. After that other asylum-seekers joined the protest, therefore, a march for 28 days happened and the bus to Berlin in order to face the system in the federal government about the problem that the German government created for the asylum seekers. The refugee’s movement had 3 definite demands: the government must abolish of the lagers (this means refugees camps in Germany), the abolition of the obligation of residence (Residenzpflicht) and stop deportations. These were the demands of this refugees’ protest or movement. On October 6th, the protest reached Oranienplatz/Berlin and set the tents until when the SPD and green party evicted the tents on Oranienplatz in early April 2014 along with the school at Ohlauerstr in June 2014, however, they evicted the tents and the school but not the refugee’s movement.
The actions of the refugee’s movement
– Occupied the Nigerians and Sudanese embassies
– Hunger strikes
– Meeting with politicians in the parliament
– Occupied Gerhart-Hauptmann-Schule
– Organized bus tours.
– Occupied the parliament in the district of Kreuzberg,
– Occupied the federal office of the Green party,
– Organized demonstrations
– Occupied the UN office in Berlin
– Organized Blockages
– Organized workshops on Nonviolence, conflict resolutions and alternative to violent
– Occupied the tree on Oranienplatz
– Organized matches
– Occupied the roof of the school at Ohlauerstr and another roof where refugees were transferred and occupied the church.
The migration changes to the asylum seekers in the EU states
Let me illustrate a bit on what I mean a trigger point of the 1970s, the refugee’s movement in Kreuzberg/Berlin which started in 2012 as a result of when job recruitment in Europe moves its emphasis to asylum cases between the early 1970s and the end of the twentieth century where the number of asylum applications in the EU at that time (15 Member States) increased from 15,000 to 300,000 annually. That ended with maltreatment and grieving of asylum seekers, in 1973 when the members of the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries or the OAPEC which led to oil price shock in 1973–1974 these supported unstable economic effect, extreme job dismissal and this harmed the populations of the European countries which made them viewed immigration and many people worried that immigrants are taking over their jobs, says by Castles, S., and Simona V. 2009. I am mentioning this because there is a connection between the government and the police as well as the population/citizens.
At the same time, various European countries’ officials used anti-immigration sentiments such as European leaders like former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher (in office from 1979 to 1990) and former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl (in office from 1982 to 1998) introduced new laws greatly restricting immigrants. The BBC reported in 2013 that Kohl had said to Thatcher he wanted to “reduce the number of Turks by 50% in Germany, and in 1981 Margaret Thatcher said „We do have to hold out the prospect of an end to immigration except of course for sympathetic cases“, “my great fear is that if we have migrants coming in at this rate [45,000-50,000 a year] we shall not have good race relations” this illustrated by BBC News, in 2013. This fluctuated anger of unemployment and collapsing incomes, using immigrants as blame for unemployment. Seeking asylum became a more popular way for immigrants to enter European states, the focus shifted to asylum which became a new channel for entering the European countries. This is reflected in the numbers of asylum applications, which rose sharply in the post-OPEC period. These were the starting point where asylum seekers got stranded, the refugees’ movement in 2012 just responded that enough to all these problems, it is time to fight for refugees’ rights.
The repression from the state and the police
In October 2012 was the beginning of police brutally against the refugee’s movement at the Nigerian Embassy. And on 29-1-2013 the second police brutality during refugee’s demonstration in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Since then, the treatment from the police toward the refugees’ movement was atrocious control, that stressed the movement so badly, 2013 the police entered the Gerhart-Hauptmann-Schule, the occupied school, in the night unannounced they asked people to raise their hands against the wall half-naked, Oplatz and the school faced molestation every time either in the daytime or in the night. Sometimes the police come around 8 pm wanted to control the tents that there is a criminal person and after searching without getting the person then they leave without statement. Both evictions at Oplatz and the school was very cruel. The special case about the refugees’ movement is that the police attacked people bodily as well as with racist sentiment without hiding it out, for example, I was in police custody in Berlin Tempelhof, the police just pull me from the cell grabbed my hands by force and took the fingerprints, the police called me a monkey, put trash on top of my head, they bit me, the whole action was from 10 AM to 6 PM that was agony, while the senator told my group that I was already released at 11 AM, the senator fabricated it, so the group can continue with the negotiation without me. Consequently, the police released me without telling me why I was caught.
On 14.10.2014, the police officers attacked the occupied school, this action was illegal, according to the agreement with the district that the police must not enter the school, but they did. Also, the Mayor of the district of Kreuzberg (Monika Herrmann) tried to evict the tents but when she failed from that moment, she put pressure on the movement tried to cut off the electricity and to take over the finance of the refugee’s movement, that was a special case. For me, if that were the German citizens’ movement, Monika Herrmann would have not tried such, doing this for the refugee’s movement is racist. Furthermore, the senator from the SPD party took over to evict the movement where she divided the refugees into two groups:
refugees from Lampedusa and refugees from Germany who were together since 2013, she applied the divide and rule method, in parallel, fundamental pressure was constructed by the group from the green party that worked to undermine the living conditions at Oranienplatz: So, the energy carrier has been informed, the current should be switched off. At the same time, the donation account has been blocked as I just mentioned above, in both cases, the interventions from the green party were not covered, since neither the electricity nor the current account was maintained by them.
Racist Repression in the refugees’ movement
The act of the police and the sentiment of the German government is supporting the right-wing to act confidently again refugees. But the Oranienplatz will continuously remain a historical place for refugees’ movement in Germany and beyond, though the German government evicted the tents on Oranienplatz and the right-wing groups which attacked the tents severally as in 2012-April 2014, the right-wing groups demonstrated and gave a stress to the refugees’ movement, these were the violent forces and destruction to the movement. At the beginning of 2013, the first fire was set on Oranienplatz around 5 and 6 o’clock, in the morning. Who could set the fire? The people in the camp were asking out, similarly, the second fire was in February 2014 which was also caused by unidentified person(s) on the lavatory of the movement on Oranienplatz, this happened in the night. The other accident was the fire that set on the small mixture of wood and tent, this tent was private which was enough for one person that also burned down without police investigation, the person was inside and just got a cloud of smoke coming inside the tent. In June 2014, the black circus tent that placed after the occupation of the tree was equally burned, from that point the movement confirms that this is racist attacks. In December 2014 info-point on Oranienplatz also attacked several occasions with poisonous substant and breaking it down, it is likewise by an anonymous person (s). On the 3-2015, the House of the 28 doors was set on fire moreover with an unknown person (s), the actions from the police and the governments’ sentiment that supported also the right-wing group’s actions against refugees and their racist pressure will not end until we put an end to police and the movements’ brutality down.
We will never give up!
– The global economic crisis and migration: temporary interruption or structural change? See Castles, S., and Simona V. 2009. Paradigmes: economia productiva i coneixement, (2).
– BBC News, Germany’s Helmut Kohl ‚wanted half of Turks sent back‘ by 1 August 2013, See: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-23544311 (accessed on 23 May 2020)