Tag: Historical Conditions

10 years of the protest camp at Oranienplatz … No reason to celebrate

I don’t want our history to be falsified: When you commemorate the protest camp on Oranienplatz, which started in October 2012, remember correctly!

Remember Mohammad Rahsepar! At the end of January 2012, Mohammad Rahsepar took his own life at a refugee camp in Würzburg. He had already expressed suicidal thoughts in December. Therefore, doctors had recommended to the responsible authorities to improve his accommodation situation. He wanted to join his sister in Cologne, but the authorities refused this because of “Residenzpflicht” – obligation of a residencefor asylum seekers. His death triggered a wave of protests throughout Germany.

His friends and housemates set up a protest camp on the street to draw attention to their situation: Camp accommodation, the voucher system, Residenzpflicht, the ban on employment and constant uncertainty. Their protest quickly spread to many cities all over Germany. Here in Berlin there was also a protest tent on Heinrichplatz.

Remember the ‘Residenzpflicht’! The ‘Residenzpflicht’ does not exist in any other European country. Its origins go back to the colonial times. The National Socialists made residence obligation in a law for forced labourers in their police regulation of 1938. In 1982, the legislators revived the regulation again and integrated it in the ‘Asylverfahrensgesetz’ (Asylum Procedure Act) for asylum seekers. Until the end of 2014, all asylum seekers had to get a permission from the immigration authorities every time they wanted to leave their district. Sometimes they got permission, most of the time they did not.

At the end of the 90s, the authorities used the residence obligation to prevent asylum seekers from engaging in political activities. For every demonstration, every congress or meeting, we had to find a way to deal with controls. At the end of 2014, the residence obligation was relaxed for some of the asylum seekers. After the first three months in Germany, it is now allowed to travel in the whole Germany without a specific permit. At least in theory. Because there are numerous reasons for exclusion from this supposed “freedom of movement”. Refugees with ‘Duldung’, in particular, remain subject to arbitrariness of the authorities. The immigration authorities can chain them to the district at any time.

By the way, the first demonstration against Residenzpflicht was in 2000, organised by the ‚Karawane für die Rechte von Flüchtlingen und Migrantinnen‘ (Caravan for the Rights of Refugees and Migrants). Since then, many refugee self-organisations, for example the Voice Refugee Forum or the ‘Flüchtlingsinitiative Brandenburg‘ (Refugee Initiative Brandenburg), have fought against the Residenzpflicht. Those who talk about the protest camp at Oranienplatz without mentioning the other protest actions of refugees in 2012 and the past of our struggles are not showing solidarity but are rather ignoring us.

Remember the Refugee Protest March! In September 2012, a group of refugees started the REFUGEE PROTEST MARCH from Würzburg to Berlin. They protested against the ‘Residenzpflicht’ and took their protest to the political leaders in Berlin. On October 5th 2012 – after one month and 600 km of walking they reached their destination. A group of activists in Berlin supported the protest march by organising a camp at Oranienplatz as a place for arrival. The camp was planned for some weeks in order to organize a big final demonstration and to plan further actions. None of us planned a protest camp that would last over a year.

Remember correctly! Oranienplatz was never occupied. Again and again there were negotiations with the district mayors that led to the Oranienplatz remaining tolerated. Those who claim that Oranienplatz was occupied are ignoring our work, the work of the activists who prepared the camp and who negotiated for years.

Many people from all over Germany came to the demonstration at the end of the protest march on October 13th 2012. It got really big. After that, there were different approaches to further actions: While one group started a hunger strike on Pariser Platz, others stayed on Oranienplatz and used it as a starting point for different actions.

In the winter of 2012, refugees from Italy joined. For them the protest camp was primarily a place of survival. They fled homelessness, hunger and a lack of prospects in Italy to Berlin. That is how Oranienplatz became a symbol for the inhumanity and cruelty of the German and the EU asylum policy. Unfortunately, we have only managed to link the different groups and interests of the refugees at Oranienplatz in single actions. The asylum system has divided us. And there were also power struggles and divisions among the supporters.

Remember correctly! Oranienplatz was not evicted by the police. It was refugees who cleared the tents of other refugees. The Senate – also with the help of so-called supporters – managed to divide the refugees at Oranienplatz.

Let’s learn from the old mistakes instead of repeating them. Governments and parliaments are dividing us with their racist migration policies. We have to oppose this and grow even closer together.

And finally: Remember that until today some refugees who were at Oranienplatz back then still don’t have residence permits! As long as that is the case, there is no reason for me to celebrate.

Bruno Watara, July 2022

taken from the upcoming issue #10 of Daily Resistance

Fotos&Videos Protest March in Regensburg

Fünf Grenzen

15ter Oktober 2016, Hemau

7ter Tag Protest Marsch

Heute sind wir also auf dem Weg nach Nürnberg. Wir haben gerade fünf Städte durchquert. Es ist, wie wenn wir fünf Grenzen überschritten hätten, eine nach der anderen. Vom Leiden bis hin zur Leichtigkeit haben uns die einen bequem empfangen, andere wiederum wollen nicht einmal unsere Stimmen hören, indem sie uns am anderen Ende weit weg von der Stadt isolierten, wie in Freising und Moosburg. Es ist, wie wenn sich die Geschichte mehr und mehr wiederholen würde.

In der Vergangenheit waren unsere Vorfahren Sklaven, unsere Großeltern, die den ersten und zweiten Weltkrieg erlebt haben, wurden mit Gewalt gezwungen, in den

Einheiten der Tiraileurs Sénégalais (Senegalschützen) zu kämpfen. Sie haben der Welt geholfen, sich von der Invasion der Nazis zu befreien, aber selbst hatten sie unglücklicherweise das Unglück, das zu verlangen, was ihnen zusteht. Sie wurden im Lager Thiaroye (Senegal) in Massen niedergemetzelt, und wir sind es heute, ihre Enkel und Enkelinnen, die für unsere Würde kämpfen, für unsere Existenz, für die Bewegungsfreiheit, vor allem aber für  Bildung.

Ist es zu viel verlangt lernen zu können, wann man es will, ist es zu viel verlangt, arbeiten zu können, wenn man das Vermögen und die Kraft dazu hat, und von niemandem abhängig zu sein, ist es im 21. Jahrhundert zu viel verlangt für Freiheit und Leben zu kämpfen, und was bleibt dann vom Kampf der von Ghandi und Martin Luther King und all den anderen geführt wurde? Die Welt gibt es nicht erst seit heute, und wird nicht morgen enden. Öffnen wir unsere Herzen, seien wir solidarisch zueinander, und hört zu, fürchtet euch nicht, nehmt es ernst, nehmen wir es ernst, weil sich Nachbarn immer über den Weg laufen werden, ob sie es wollen oder nicht.

Five Borders

15th of October, 2016, Hemau
7th day of the Protest March

So today, we are on our way to Nuremberg. We have just crossed five cities. It is as if we have crossed five borders, one after another. From suffering to easiness, some have welcomed us comfortably, others didn’t even want to listen to our voices, having isolated us at the other end of th

e towns, as it happened in Freising and Moosburg. It is as if history is repeating again and again.

In the past, our ancestors have been slaves, our grandparents, who experienced World War I and II, have been violently forced to fight in the units of the Tirailleurs Sénégalais. They have helped the world to get freed from the invasion of the Nazis, but unluckily they asked for what they were entitled to. They were massacred in mases in the camp of Thiaroye (Senegal) and now it is us today, the grandchildren, who fight for our dignity, our existence, our freedom of movement, and, mainly, for education.

Is it too much to ask that one should be able to learn, if one is able to, is it too much to ask that one should be able to work, if you have the ability and the power, in order to not being dependent on someone, is it too much to ask in the 21st century to struggle for freedom and live, and what is left then from the struggles led by Ghandi or Martin Luther King and all the others. The world isn’t existing since today and it will not stop existing tomorrow. Let’s open our hearts, be in solidarity with each other, listen, don’t be afraid, take it seriously, let us take it serious, because neighbours will always cross each other’s ways, whether they want it or not.


Cinq frontières

Nous voilà aujourd’hui encore en route vers Nürnberg. On vient de traverser cinq villes. C’est comme si on venait de traverser cinq frontières les uns aux autres. De la souffrance à la légèreté les uns nous accueillent confortablement mais certains ne veulent même entendre nos voix, en nous isolant au fond loin de la ville, comme Freising et Moosburg. C’est comme l’histoire se répétait de plus en plus.

Dans le passé, nos ancêtres étaient des esclaves, nos grands-parents, qui ont vécu la première et la deuxième guerre mondiale, ont été contraints par la force de

combattre dans les unités des Tirailleurs Sénégalais. Ils ont aidé le monde à se libérer de l’invasion des nazis, mais eux-mêmes ils avaient malheureusement le malheur de demander ce qu’ils ont droit. Ils étaient massacrés en masse dans le camp de Thiaroye (Sénégal), et aujourd’hui c’est nous , leurs petits-fils et petites-filles qui se battent pour notre dignité, pour notre existence,

pour la liberté de circulation, mais surtout pour l’éducation.

Est-il trop demandé d’étudier quand on le veut est-il trop demandé de travailler quand on a la capacité et la force, et de ne pas dépendre de personne, est-il trop demandé au 21ième siècle, de se battre pour la liberté à la vie, sinon que serait-il du combat mené par Gandhi, Martin Luther King et autres. Le monde ne date pas d’aujourd’hui et ne finira demain. Ouvrons nos cœurs, soyons solidaires les uns aux autres et écoutez, ne pas fuir, assumez, assumons, car les voisins qu’ils le veulent ou non se croisent toujours.




‘The Refugee Crisis’ and Our Connected Histories of Colonialism and Empire


European Colonial Powers

Essay by Gurminder K Bhambra, University of Warwick

This essay takes into account the significance of the historical conditions created by European colonial powers that force people to migrate.

Link: http://www.sicherheitspolitik-blog.de/2015/10/01/the-refugee-crisis-and-our-connected-histories-of-colonialism-and-empire/#more-7282