Transnational Mobilisations After Police Violence Against Refugees In Idomeni And Calais



After yesterdays police violence against refugees in Calais (France) and at the Greek / Macedonian (FYROM) village Idomeni, activists started an transnational mobilisation against European border policies or as they call it: Fortress Europe.

Video: Eviction of refugee camp in Calais, France: 

The European Union (EU) border regime killed more than 25,000 people since the year 2000. Most victims drowned in the Mediterranean sea, one refugee was killed by Bulgarian police as he crossed the Turkish/Bulgarian border (Watch the interview with an eyewitness in Part 2 of Digging Holes in Fortress Europe at the bottom of this page).

Video: A police officer shooting teargas grenades horizontal towards the heads of refugees at the Greek / Macedonian (FYROM) border at Idomeni yesterday:

Today about 11,000 desperate refugees are stuck in the Greek village Idomeni, after Macedonian (FYROM) authorities decided to let in only a few hundred refugees per day. Thousands of other refugees are stuck in Athens and other Greek cities and islands. People are living in appalling conditions with many of them sleeping outside. Last night, activists occupied a university building in Athens to create self-organised  places to sleep for refugees.

Video: Refugees in Idomeni protested again today, after yesterdays police violence. 

There are also reports about push backs from Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia, after Austria decided to let fewer refugees into the country. Austrian and Czech police forces were spotted at the Macedonian (FYROM) side of the Greek / Macedonian (FYROM) border after the border was more or less closed. The German government party SPD called to send German police forces to Greece today. The Union of fences, barbed wire, police forces and soldiers are showing their real face more and more. An inhuman Union that commits crimes against humanity.

Yesterday was not the first black day for Europe. After massive police violence against refugees in EU member states like Hungary and Slovenia last year, and the horrible scenes activists saw in refugee camps in Croatia and Slovenia (See videos above), activists say Enough is Enough and have called for a march against the EU border regime.



The march will start on March 25 in Italy and the activists want to march to the Greek / Macedonian (FYROM) border. The march will end on March 29th at the Greek/Macedonanian border. On April 3rd, activists want to mach to the Italian / Austrian border. You can get updates about the mobilisation by following Twitter hashtag #overthefortress.

Crowdfunding Campaign Cars of Hope Wuppertal for refugees in Greece (Food, sanitary products and medicines):

We publish the original call here (unedited):

Against the borders of Fortress Europe: the “#Overthefortress March” in Greece (March 25-29) – mobilization on Sunday 3 April on the border between Italy and Austria

The “Agire nella Crisi, confederate autonomies” assembly met on Sunday the 28th of February at the Social Center Rivolta and decided to organise two mobilitations against the Border Regime of Fortress Europe.

The assembly invited to these events listed in chronological order:

1. the “Overthefortress” March in Greece at the end of March (25th-29th) proposed by the #Overthefortress Campaign.

2. A mobilisation on Sunday the 3rd of April on the border between Italy and Austria.

The strengthening of controls and the hypothesis of the closure of all the Austrian Southern and Eastern borders represent a political acceleration of the Austrian government that was far away expectable.

In this framework Austria plays a central role from the geographical point of view and  even on the political management of migrations since it is the crossroad of two migratory routes. The first one is the Brenner axis that for more than an year it has been interested in the reinforcement of racial controls, especially on trains, in order to block and make the transit of migrants harder. The second one concerns the Balkan route that since the beginning of 2015 has seen a relevant increase of the coming of people who must inevitably pass through the Austrian territory to reach central and northern Europe. So, Austria became a crucial point of Balkan route. It is the main point of arrival and passage for the endless travel of men, women and children escaping from war and misery.

With the Solidarity Mission #Overthefortress we saw the “hot” situations on the different borders of the route, the change of directions actually imposed by the militarization of Balkan countries and by the raising of kilometers of barbed wire in Hungary and Bulgaria.

Only the strong determination of migrants have called into question the European unsuitable regulations, first of all the Dublin Regulation III and the impossibility to require the asylum status in different countries than those that touch Mediterranean and Aegean Seas. This forcing actions have opened a breach on Fortress Europe showing both the best face of thousands of people that welcomed and supported this trip and, on the contrary, the worst face of populist right wing forces that have been able to impose on the EU agenda an idea of citizenship based on ethnic elements and on exclusion.

Today, with the closure of Austrian border, we see the reproduction of the domino effect that we faced lot of times on the balkan route: Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia and Macedonia are pushing away migrants on every border because none of these countries want to take on the responsibility of the welcome. Because of this chain reaction Greece is becoming an “open air jail” with thousands of people, blocked in Idomeni in situation of humanitarian emergency, who cannot pass beyond these borders, Most of them are forced to go back to Athens, a city that in this moment is not able to face the essential needs. Only social networks from below are guaranteeing a form of welcoming devices and are trying to provide real mutual answers. But the number of people that live on the street increase everyday more.

This clear image is the product of the Border Regime that European Union States act as nothing is happening by ignoring the pain of people and denying basic rights.

The result of these historic changes make evident the fact that European policies on immigration have completely failed: there is no will of welcoming migrants with dignity. Moreover, they signed agreements with Erdogan – the dictator of Turkey – for their repatriation and to reinforce external borders. NATO imposes a naval block on the sea of Libya and establish itself on Aegean sea with the aim of blocking departures directly on the sea. Hotspots have been opened in Italy and Greece in order to divide the refugees and the “economic migrants”, those who can have the right to require the asylum status and those who must be excluded. The hotspot approach of European policies has actually the goal of regulate from above a real factory of diversification of individuals, with the consequent increase of illegal migration and the problems linked to it.

All these events show clearly that global war is going to be declined as a war on human being by hitting thousands of bodies that desire freedom, peace and social justice. As social movements we must understand that a challenge is going to be opened  for the construction of an Europe that struggles for solidarity and that fights against the Europe of ethnical cages and austerity. The main question of this challenge, that concerns everyone, is the one of a new European citizenship, based on the right of free movement, new social rights and a universal welfare.

We must not get used to what is happening and we must act immediately in order to argue with the Border Regime and the foundation of Fortress Europe. It is not only a moral task, but a commitment towards the Europe we want to make: open and based on rights for everyone.

Let’s restart again, from the border of Greece to the Austrian one, with two public and transnational mobilitations from below and available for anyone who chooses to stand by the side of migrants.

The first moment will be the “#Overthefortress” March that from the Ancona’s port will reach Greece crossing the sea, aiming to get to the border between Greece and Macedonia. The march stand within the “#Overthefortress” Campaign.

A second moment, linked to the first one, will be held on Sunday April 3rd on the border between Italy and Austria.




Digging Holes in Fortress Europe Part 1

Digging Holes in Fortress Europe Part 2


About Author

Born near the city of Amsterdam I started filming, taking photos and writing for autonomous and other magazines in the 1980's in Amsterdam. Nowadays I write for Revolution News and several blogs in Germany. Sometimes I live in Germany, sometimes on Tenerife, Canary Islands.