|Second report from the camp of the campaign "no one is illegal" on the german-polish border, july 24th till august 2nd follow up from the first report (wednesday july 29, 1998) more info on the campaign.||
The Camp 98 is over now. Last sunday morning the last hundred people
stroke their tents and packed their bags and returned home. An almost all
night party featured by "Boese Tanten", Katrin Achinger and the coming
punkrock stars "Eternal Rest" from Aurich, concluded a wonderful and
exhausting week full of action and activities. On saturday morning once
again we pulled some hundred policemen's legs. Announced was a final
regatta on the Neisse river, which borders Germany and Poland. While the
borderline police expected us in the city of Goerlitz and assembled their
forces there, we headed in three groups towards Bad Muskau, a small city
20 km down the river: a group with boats and banners entered the river 2
km before Bad Muskau, on the last meters they were accompanied by a dozens
of swimmers carrying wooden cases, each with one letter of our campaign's
slogan "no one is illegal".
Precisely at 1 a.m. all activists gathered inside and around the river, on and under the bridge of Bad Muskau. A sound system informed the inhabitants and the local border crossers about the aims of this extraordinary borderline occupation under the slogan "Schengen sprengen" (blasting the Schengen Treaty). In fact the borderline seemed to blast, when several dozens of swimmers started an amazing water ballet dancing to latin music from the sound system. The people on the bridge and in the houses around applauded and finally the police arrived, brought by a helicopter, 50 km away, from Goerlitz. They wanted to arrest the people inside the river because of illegal borderline crossing. But after some minutes of wrangling the police gave up. We finished the action without any ID-control and went back to the camp, where the atmosphere was a bit tense. We had just gotten the information, that on a phone hotline the regional neo-nazi gangs called to attack the camp. After rumours all week long it was the very first time, that some nazis really came together, some hundred meters away from the camp, in front of the old school of Rothenburg. Well informed about their doings by phone calls from inhabitants of Rothenburg and our own guards, we kept calm and after two hours some thirty frustrated neo-nazis left in their cars.
On thursday and friday we had to change our program completely because of very tragical reasons: Thursday morning we received the message that in the night before the borderline patrol had chased to dead seven refugees from Kosovo who were about to enter Germany. 16 people were injured and brought to hospital. Around 4.30 a.m. border police made one of their controls 16 km behind the borderline to the Chech Republic. The driver of the bus with the refugees tried to escape, but after a short chase he crashed against a tree. Shocked by the news, the participants of the camp decided to go immediately to Freiberg, a town near the place of the accident. Three persons went to the hospital and visited four of the injured refugees, who were in custody of the police. After a short time it became clear, that the authorities of Freiberg tried to foil the refugees from apply for asylum. On Friday and Saturday some of us went to Freiberg again to get in contact with the other refugees, who were brought to other hospitals around Freiberg. Two persons we visited the day before in the hospital were made "transportable" and are now in custody. In the meantime, it was possible to get the UNHCR involved and the Chech authorities seem to refuse to take the injured refugees back.
Thursday night a very special event took place in front of the prison of Goerlitz, where a lot of refugees and Polish people are being kept. Controlled by a time fuse, two sound systems, hidden in surrounding old houses, suddenly started playing music, explaining about the camp and the background of our activities to the people inside. At the same time an antifascist video screening started on a main square of Goerlitz. In the camp we discussed what we could do on the next day and how to get rid of the garbage of the last days: two groups prepared two separate actions, both in front of hotels in the area. One of the hotels is owned by "Sorat", a chain of luxury hotels which is also selling food to asylum seekers for extremely high prices. The other hotel is the yearly meeting point of the neo-fascist elite and advertizes conference rooms in neo-nazi publications.
Friday afternoon we left the camp in two groups to bring our garbage to their entrances. one group gathered in front of "Sorat-Hotel" in Goerlitz, the other group went from the camp in a car-convoy followed by lots of police. On a crossing the last car of our convoy tried to confuse some police cars and just turned right instead of left like all the other cars before. But the unexpected result was, that all policemen followed this single, small car, until the driver stopped at a coffee-shop to have a drink there. Without any police observation the campers dumped their garbage in front of the hotel and turned back to Goerlitz to join the rest of the activists.
We decided to demonstrate spontaneously through downtown to a house the borderline police wants to rent in order to turn it into a prison for refugees, which are caught at the borderline. As soon as the demonstration arrived, the building turned out to be occupied by a small group of campers, who fixed a huge banner on the roof saying "no bgs-prison!" Immediately some people began to brighten up the facade of the building with "no one is illegal" slogans. Probably this was too much for the police and one girl at the side of the manifestation was arrested, just because she wore a cap, one of the painters may have wore as well. We tried to explain to the police, that people always change clothes after such actions, but it made no sense: after all it seemed, that they have had to make an example of somebody. In the night the arrested girl was free again.
Friday morning, the city of Rothenburg got a wonderful present. "Fit for Flight Assistance!" was the title of a keep-fit trail with twelve different exercises we opened around the city of Rothenburg and along the Neisse river. Because the inventors of the project expected a lack of sportmanship among the policemen, the re-opening of the keep-fit trail in the internet will come soon.
Follow up from the first report (wednesday july 29, 1998)