PRESS RELEASE Brussels, 25.06.2014
Brutal arrestment after peaceful solidarity action against the eviction of the refugee squat in Berlin
This morning at 9 am European activists made a peaceful sit-in at the entrance of the German embassy. The activists were protesting non- violently against the current brutal eviction of refugees in an occupied school in Berlin. Their demand was to speak with the German ambassador in order to put pressure on Berlin authorities. The situation is very urgent as there are refugees on the roof of the school building stating that if the police do not stop the operation, they will jump from the roof top or burn themselves. The eviction of the building would mean for them to lose their home, shelter and political self- organized center.
The action supports friends and comrades on the roof and in the school, and their demands: the immediate stop of the eviction and police operations, free access for press, the recognition of paragraph 23 (a German asylum law for group recognition), for all refugees from School and people who were protesting at Oranienplatz Refugee Protest Camp. The “solution” offered by the senate regarding the resettlement of the people into refugee centers and the re-evaluation of the single cases resolves nothing. We also demand the possibility to return to the school and the start of genuine negotiations of the refugees with the district and the senate.
Evictions of refugee squats are happening across Europe, such as recently in Calais, and also comrades in Amsterdam are struggling to defend their home and shelter. We demand the unconditional respect of all refugee squats in Europe.
The protest is also directed against the increasingly restrictive asylum laws and policies in Germany and across Europe.
The European activists who are part of the Protest March for Freedom were already insisting for the third day in front of the German embassy to speak to the ambassador. The ambassador was refusing any contact, thus the activists decided to make this peaceful sit-in today. The ambassador finally also ordered to evict the 23 people from the embassy and let them be arrested by the police of Brussels.
Whilst at the police station the arrested were denied drinking water, translation of the procedures and the accusations and information about their rights. The police procedures were arbitrary. One person was beaten up until he lost consciousness; another person was pushed and strangled because she asked for toilet paper. Some of the activists had no passports or identification card with them as an act of solidarity for people without papers. The first people were released after 8hours, and after 16hours still 4 remained in the station. They are threatened to be expulsed out of Belgium.
The remaining activists of the action spoke to the press officer of the embassy and drafted a letter to the Kreuzberg District and Senate of Berlin. Herein they outlined the demands and reasons for the protest. The Embassy promised to write a statement to Berlin demanding that everything possible should be done to save the lives of the protesters on the roof of the school in Berlin.
This protest was part of the Action Week in Brussels to mark the European Council Summit. It concludes the March for Freedom that started 6 weeks ago in Strasbourg. The main demonstration will be happening on 26th June 2014 at 4.30pm on Place de Béguinage, Brussels.