This site will look much better in a browser that supports web standards, but it is accessible to any browser or Internet device.

international bordercamp strasbourg

Free the accused noborder activists - Freedom of movement and circulation

this item is available in: [en] [fr]

25.Jan.03 - While Sarkozy showers migrants and associations with pretty platitudes, deportations are continuing at a pretty pace. The immigrant detention camps are full. These prisons that dare not speak their own names, where we lock up undocumented migrants so as to deport them, are now even more blatantly the doorsteps of death. On December 30, 2002, Ricardo Barrientos, a 52-year-old Argentine, victim of the "double penalty" of prison time plus deportation, was killed in the Air France plane where the police had forced him to board and held him there by force, bending his body double. Just two weeks later, January 18, it was the turn of Marianne Getu Hagos, a 24-year-old Somali whom the police had just refused political asylum. And so as to be able to deport even more, more detention camps are being built, such as the one that just opened in Coquelles, near Calais, and the Palaiseau camp that will open if the mobilization that has been growing for two years now is not able to stop it.

During the No Border Camp in Strasbourg, which gathered 2000 activists from July 18-28, 2002, to protest against the Schengen Information System (a database of people who are not citizens of the European Union but also containing the identities of people suspected of all forms of dissent) about 700 people gathered in the Strasbourg city-center, in a demonstration against immigrant detention centers. Authorities had already emptied the Strasbourg detention center and kept it empty throughout the No Border Camp. However, the demonstration in Strasbourg was brutally attacked by the police all the same. One of the many demonstrators arrested was condemned to three months in prison. He was kept for an entire month in solitary confinement and denied all visits, the order for this administrative isolation came explicitly because of his political activities; it was thought that someone who demonstrated against immigrant detention centers might have an unsettling effect on the other prisoners.

So that this harsh and unjust treatment might be lifted, 17 activists occupied a branch office of the Ministry of Justice. The three employees who worked there decided that they prefered to stay in the office, and the occupation went forward without incident. However, the National Guard and the Anti-Criminal Brigade blocked the surrounding streets and broke into the building with spectacular violence. After the activists were arrested and spent 48 hours waiing in the police station, the office-occupiers were sent to prison and charged with hostage-taking and home invasion. Understandably, the local judge declared himself incompetent to preside over such a trial; hostage-taking is too serious a crime to be judged at the local level. Although he had already proven the ridiculousness of his own arguments, the prosecutor decided to be obstinate and make an appeal. Our comrades will be judged a second time in Colmar, on February 6.

We demand that all charges against the 17 office-occupiers be dropped. We demand that all charges against all of those who were arrested in the course of actions carried out during the No Border camp, be dropped. We demand that the charges of assaulting a police officer and insulting a police officer, which were levied as the usual pretexts in the arrests of three demonstrators in front of the occupied branch office of the Ministry of Justice, be dropped as well. These trials will take place at the end of February and in March.

Beyond the repressive persecution against the No Border camp, the prosecution now seeks to criminalize the practice of building-occupation itself. Occupation of buildings is a concrete form of civil disobedience that social movements have historically used to take those rights that have been denied to us; it is used in labor struggles, in the struggles of migrants without valid residence papers, unemployed people, students, clients of social services, and all those who are caught in the teeth of the administrative machine (employment services, CAF family welfare, Telecom, France Electricity, etc.)

Valid 10-year residence permits for all! Freedom of movement, freedom of residence: the right to come, the right to go, the right to stay! Close all the immigrant detention camps! Stop the deportations! Free the imprisoned migrants without papers! Abolish the double penalty of prison and deportation! Abolish racist and xenophobic laws, whether those laws comr from the Right or the Left!

First signateurs: Undocumented Migrants' Collective MULTITUDE, Undocumented Migrants' Collective of the House of Associations, 9th Collective of Undocumented Migrants, Anti-Deportation Collective of Paris, and SCALP-Reflex.

il legal team