On Saturday afternoon about 7,000 people took the streets of Hamburg again to demand the right to stay for the “Lampedusa in Hamburg” refugees. In the evening hours there were 2 unauthorized spontaneous demos as well which were both stopped by German police.
A colorful, loud demo for the right to stay took place in Hamburg, Germany on Saturday. It was a march with many different groups from unions and anarchists to political parties and even families which showed once again that the refugees managed to build up a coalition of solidarity of big parts of German society.
Video: Speech of a Lampedusa in Hamburg refugee (video courtesy of Informations Revolte)
The Lampedusa refugees where marching at the front of the demo which started at the central station and went through downtown Hamburg. Many flyers were spread and there were many speeches but also many loud chants by the protesters.
There was only one minor incident as the cops tried to grab somebody with a mask. Immediately a big group of protesters confronted the cops, telling them to back off. The cops retreated and seemed surprised that such a big group came forward to make sure the cops can’t grab out any activists. After the short standoff the cops stopped the demo but after 10 – 15 minutes they decided to let the demo march again. The march remained peaceful which is usually the case if the cops back off and don’t get violent.
In the evening hours there were 2 unauthorized spontaneous demonstrations in the Schanze- and the St. Pauli neighborhood. At 5:00 pm the first spontaneous demo took off at Paulinenplatz. An eyewitness told that shortly after the demo passed the Rote Flora cops stopped the spontaneous and unauthorized demo and started to beat people up with their fists and one with his baton. The eyewitness also told that cops still were not as aggressive as they normally are.
Riot cops kettled a small group at Schanzen street (image) and were chasing small groups who continued to protest in the whole area.
Another eyewitness told that the cops seemed very nervous at the spontaneous demo. Since the days of the danger zone people have no fear for the cops anymore. As the cops released people who were kettled at Schanzenstrasse they immediately retreated. As the cops where running (!) to their vans a young girl was going through their lines again and again yelling against the cop “You are such a joke, go home nobody wants you here!”
Soon afterwards cops retreated back in their vans and parked several vans on strategic points in the Schanze and St. Pauli neighborhood.
Video: Spontaneous demo at 17:00 in the Schanze neighbourhood. (Video courtesy of Enough is Enough TV)
At 7:45 another unauthorized spontaneous demo started at Reeperbahn, the heart of the tourist area of Hamburg in the St. Pauli neighborhood. After only 100 meters the demo was stopped by riot cops. About 10 activists were kettled in front of the Davidwache police station.
The cops stopped the demo pretty violent and a group of protesters on the other side of the street where the Davidwache kettle was chanted slogans against police violence, Riot cops immediately chased this group and kettled them as well. All people in both kettles got their id checked but where released after that.
Many demonstrations took place in Italy as well on Saturday. People took the streets in Bologna, Padova, Milano, Brescia, Niscemi and other cities, for a European citizenship without borders, against the Bossi-Fini law and Fortress Europe, to overcome the blackmail of a residence permit, in support of the closure of all detention centers of migrants and refugees, in solidarity with refugee demo in Hamburg, Germany. Image from Bologna (demotix.com).
More information at: http://www.noborder.org/without/italy.html
Statement by the Lampedusa in Hamburg refugees:
One year Lampedusa in Hamburg – No Peace for the Senate of Hamburg!
The group Lampedusa in Hamburg calls for a demonstration on the 1. March 2014. The demonstration will be held on the occasion of the first anniversary of the end of the “Emergency North Africa” program for the reception of war refugees from Libya in Italy which was terminated on the 28. February 2013. The Italian authorities had at that time closed down the reception centers and had turned the refugees out onto the streets, they had given them residence permits and urged them to leave Italy towards northern Europe. With this action the Italian authorities clearly stated what many assessments and reports from human rights organizations also verify – that there is no perspective for a humane life for refugees in Italy.
Some affected persons formed the group Lampedusa in Hamburg and have since been fighting for a residence permit on humanitarian grounds. After one year of this hard struggle the senate of Hamburg still opposes our demand for a collective residence permit and tries to wait out the humanitarian crisis on the roads of Hamburg.
The senate had offered a Duldung for the time of process in October 2013 to those who would register at the foreigners office and who would officially apply for a residence permit. This offer had been negotiated between the senator of interior and the Nordkirche without involving representatives of the group and has been rejected by the majority of the group. Only individuals chose under this strong pressure to make applications.
Through the intensive exchange with fighting refugees from the German Lagersystem we are aware of the inhumane consequences of the Duldung. We mainly see the offer of the Senate as an attempt to depoliticize the struggle of the group and to cede the solution to the courts in the form of hundreds of individual cases.
In reality the foreigners authority has not yet decided upon any application. There has also been no decision about a model application which was already made by a member of the group in September 2013. This supports the analysis of our group that the aim of the offer of the senate is to stall us in the uncertainty of the Duldung, to weaken the political struggle and to wait until the topic has disappeared from the agenda.
The speaker of the Department of Interior has announced in the MOPO that the refugees of the group have all been cared for and that they had either made applications or have disappeared from Hamburg.
This is a lie and a strike in the face of the group and all its supporters.
While the St. Pauli Church still remains in the center of the media coverage, although only a small number of group members stay there, private supporters have long since set up a „Solidarity Winterprogram“ which enabled us to survive the winter without the help of the state. The Infotent at Steindamm also still serves as a meeting point and has been occupied night and day since May last year.
We are and we will stay in Hamburg and we demand the senate to take a political decision for a right to stay for the group Lamepdusa in Hamburg.
Hamburg, February 28, 2014 by Lampedusa In Hamburg