report: RECENT REPRESSION ON PEOPLE ON THE MOVE IN SERBIA

(written by Refugeesupportserbia and Bordermonitoring Serbia)

link: http://bordermonitoring.eu/serbien/2016/09/recent-repression-on-people-on-the-move-in-serbia/

Since the 15th of July, the day that prime minister Aleksandar Vučić held a speech [1] about the problems Serbia is facing at the moment, the situation in Serbia for people on the move has become more and more tense. The speech was an awaited response to the legal changes made in Hungary on July 5th (“8 kilometer” push-back law [2]) which set a legal frame for the Hungarian authorities to push back thousands of people to Serbian territory.

Among other points, Vučić mentioned in his speech that migrants are one of the biggest problems Serbia is facing at this time and that more repressive measures will be taken in order to gain control over the irregular movement of people. One of the measures put into practice has been a “joint venture” of police and military in order to guard the southern borders towards Macedonia and Bulgaria. As of August 30, 4,428 people have been kept from entering Serbia by military and police units, while within the same operation 673 who were encountered on Serbian territory have been brought to official reception centers [3]. The military officials don’t use the word “push-back” or mention any direct contact with the groups, rather they state that people “gave up” when they saw the Serbian forces. Thereby, Serbia maintains its humanitarian vocabulary used to distinguish itself from other Balkan countries like Hungary and Macedonia who boast with numbers of people they successfully pushed back. Which methods were used to deter people and why these 4,428 people did not apply for asylum in Serbia but instead went back is not mentioned. Probably the mere sight of a police officer is not enough to stop people from moving on, yet their stories and voices remain silent and invisible.

On the one hand, this increasingly repressive policy changes can be seen as a national answer to the reality that was created by the northern neighbour Hungary and to the fact that from one day to the other people got stuck in Serbia with no option to move on. On the other hand, these changes can also be seen in the frame of a European Border Regime that consists of more than just the legal closure of European borders. This will be elaborated in the following.

MILITARIZATION OF THE BORDERS

Ever since Hungary launched the push-backs, the number of people stuck in Serbia has been increasing on a daily basis. According to the Hungarian police, from July 5th to August 31th there have been 4,937 official incidents of prevented entries at the border and another 3,486 people who made it across the fence and got pushed back to Serbian territory [4 / 5]. Many of them came back to Belgrade and reported horrible experiences of violent encounters with the border police and private border patrols. Reports included tear gas, hand-cuffs, feet-cuffs, dog bites, pepper spray, shootings, and personal indignations (such as having to strip naked before being beaten up).

Officially, there are now around 4,400 people stuck in Serbia [6]. This number might seem confusing compared to the total number of 8,423 failed attempts mentioned above but it’s important to remember that one person can be pushed back many times. People arrive in Serbia, try to go to Hungary, are pushed back to Serbia, and then try again repeatedly. And while a small number of people always manage to cross, there are also new people who arrive in Serbia.
These days, even more people can not afford a smuggler to Hungary. If there is one fact about migration, it is that a closed border most of all means rising prices. Therefore, just a small “elite” of those who can still pay the dictated price are able to move on with smugglers. But prices are skyrocketing, standing around 1500€ for one person only as far as Hungary which used to be 150€ some months ago.

At the same time, with the establishment of joint police and army patrols on the southern borders, the amount of people who reach Serbian territory in the first place is decreasing significantly, from an average of 300 to 200 daily arrivals, according to UNHCR estimates [7].  However, for those stuck in Serbia, the conditions have become very humiliating and devastating.

DESTRUCTION OF THE PARKS

The most visible measure against migrants in the city center is the ongoing destruction of the parks, which they use to meet, exchange information and obtain aid. For months, the Commisariat made tedious efforts to chase away anyone who set foot on the grass. This came to an end on July 25 when big machines entered the park and dug up the whole ground. Officially, the objective was to “renew the grass” – which is obviously nonsense in summer season with temperatures around 38°C and too dry of a climate for plants to grow. Some officials openly admitted that the goal of the action was “to keep away the migrants” – and more than one month later still no grass has been planted.

In a second step, the devastated areas were fenced off with head-high (ca. 1.80m) orange plastic fences. For those still sleeping in the parks, only the concrete walking paths were left available. Even worse, the municipality sometimes waters the parks at night (the concrete, not the soil) making it impossible to sleep there. By these measures the accessible space is very limited and the fences not only became a barrier but also dividers in a very literal sense. If the government intended to make the parks look as if migrants were a problem, then they succeeded. Now, neighbouring people gather every evening in the park, exchanging and complaining about the migrant community, a visible sign to make people feel unwelcome. The once open and public space used and inhabited by an ever changing community of people transiting and by local people going to university or walking their dogs has been made unlivable and unenjoyable for everyone.

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Park 1
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Park 2
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Park 3
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Park 4

It is important to bear in mind that all of this is happening right in the district of Savamala, the area of the planned “Belgrade Waterfront” investment project. According to their plans the whole area will be changed completely in a high-speed gentrification process, involving evictions of the local population and destruction of a whole part of the city to make space for hotels, shopping malls and office buildings.

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Belgrade Waterfront as model

INCREASED REPRESSION ON MIGRANTS

The repressive presence of police and Commissariat is increasing in both numbers and in behaviour almost on a daily basis. Their actions turned into a constant harassment against migrants. People have been prevented from laying down on the grass (before it was destroyed), have been asked for papers every morning and been pushed to go to the camps continuously, have been poked with flashlights in order to leave the grass, bench or wherever, and even have been threatened with deportation to Macedonia or Bulgaria for not following the orders [8].

The behaviour changes significantly with presence of international and local volunteers in the parks who monitor the situation and interfere in case of violence, false promises or lies. When they are not around the behaviour becomes even more rude and disrespectful. People have repeatedly reported that Commissariat workers kick and push people who lay down, shout at them in a dehumanizing manner and express racist comments.

UNSUCCESSFUL ATTEMPT TO GAIN CONTROL

With the increasing number of people stuck in Belgrade and Serbia, the authorities started to pressure people to apply for asylum and go to the camps. On a daily basis, buses leave from the parks to Krnjača (in a suburb of Belgrade) and to other camps all over Serbia. Until mid-July, it was fairly easy to either stay in one of the camps with the option of leaving it at any point or to stay somewhere in town. This policy changed after a meeting of the group for coordination of security agencies and the police and Commisariat are now showing more intention to actually bring the laws into practice. The pattern of behaviour is very obscure, and it is almost impossible to give advice to people these days.

For instance: Some people have been kept in Krnjača for days until they would register (fining those without registration with worse food and living conditions) and then sent to other camps. There is no chance to get “Krnjača,” “Šid,” or “Subotica” written on the registration paper, but people can go there and register themselves. As most of the camps are further away, the fear of being sent there makes new arrivals even more reluctant to register. In the beginning of August this led to the absurd situation of empty beds in Krnjača while at the same time people had a hard time finding a place to sleep in Belgrade.

Krnjaca
Krnjača Camp
Sid
Šid camp
Subotica
Subotica camp

STRATEGY OF CONFUSION

The official policies of the registration papers for the camps are also very intransparent and incoherent. Two different papers have been issued in the last weeks, one of them designating the exact camp where people have to stay, the other one not mentioning any specific place. As the directors of the camps are in charge of deciding whether or not people can leave during the day, there is no universal information regarding whether they are open or closed. Rather, in camps like Krnjača or Preševo the policy of leaving was changed several times, causing people who believed they were going to an open camp to be locked up inside for days. Those working with migrants have to call the authorities each morning to learn what the situation in the camps is – including official institutions like Asylum Info Center and Commisariat workers in the parks. Even the decision whether people are allowed in the public parks can change from day to day.

This strategy of intransparency leaves everyone in a state of confusion and insecurity since what you know today might not be valid tomorrow. The authorities manifest their hierarchical position of “being in charge” to the extent that the current legal grounds have to be requested on a daily basis. In this situation it is almost impossible for migrants to plan their actions and their personal capability to act is limited to a minimum. This leaves people with the option of complying with anything that is decided from above or staying outside of all official support.

Technically speaking, applying for asylum has only minor influences on parallel asylum processes in other countries as Serbia is not part of the Dublin agreement. Nevertheless, most people have had bad experiences with police and other officials and simply do not want to go to the camps in the outskirts of Belgrade or in the middle of nowhere where they are invisible and without the facilities they need.

Having been displaced several times, the attempt to keep every migrant in camps is a measure of dehumanization and indignity, turning them into objects of control and “removing” them. Locking them up in invisibility, Serbia is restricting the Freedom of Movement of all migrants in a very literal way.

EVICTION OF THE PARKS

On August 11, the police and Commissariat made use of the free capacities in Krnjača and evicted both parks in Belgrade in a joint action. That day, the parks were surrounded by four buses and 20-30 police officers accompanied by a bunch of Commissariat workers. Everyone was told to enter the buses and go “to the camp” (not knowing which one). People also reported that they were threatened to be deported to Bulgaria or Macedonia if they refused to get on the bus. Furthermore, the parks were declared as off-limits, “locked” for everyone without paper and it was said that anyone who steps over this rule would be brought to jail. This day, around 400 people were moved to Krnjača which was subsequently completely overcrowded. A video published on facebook provides testimony of the situation [9].

The police also visited other more invisible places and formerly tolerated venues where people stayed and showed extremely disrespectful and threatening behaviour towards both migrants and citizens. In the same vein large number of hostels in vicinity of the parks have been raided and some of them shut down.

Preposterously, on August 13, 150 people were then kicked out of Krnjača in the middle of the night. The busdrivers that conduct the line to Krnjača were told not to take any migrants back to the city, thus leaving those kicked out with no other option than to walk three hours back to the city.

This contradictory behaviour only depicts meticulously the arbitrary strategy of the Serbian authorities. There is a clear attempt to push people out of sight, into the invisibility of the camps, but there is no real capacity of doing so. This leaves migrants and supporters in a limbo situation that is hard to cope with. The insecurity of what will happen the next day is having a significant influence on the general atmosphere in the parks, causing stress, trauma, auto-aggression and (psychological and physical) violence.

REPRESSION AGAINST SUPPORT STRUCTURES

Alongside the evictions of people from the parks, the structures supporting them have also come under strong pressure. Miksalište is facing complaints from the neighbourhood and sanitary inspection was postponed daily for three weeks. Info Park, which has already been under strong pressure from Commisariat to move out of the park in April and May, when old Miksalište and No Border Hostel were evicted and destroyed, got a new and final notice to leave the park on August 22 [10]. Providing around one thousand meals a day, Info Park is a big support for people on the move and the eviction decreases support in the parks tremendously.

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Miksalište shortly before it was destroyed
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Miksaliste after the destruction
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New Miksalište
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No Border Hostel working
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No Border Hostel after the destruction


ANALYSIS

Having been one of the countries where the situation for people on the move was considered less tense and more easy to rest in and travel through, Serbia is now making up big steps to get in line with the other countries on the “Balkan route“ – implementing strong control and repression on people on the move.

Transforming from a short-time transit country into a place where people are stuck for longer time, the Serbian government is having a hard time controling the bigger number of people and implements policies that appear blind and incoherent. Since people are not transferred throughout the country by busses but redirected into the camps that stood empty since 2015, Serbia is (re-)constructing a category of “residing asylum seekers” that are to be processed in a governmental asylum process, thereby ignoring the reality that people intend to move on as soon as possible and that there actually is no bureaucratic apparatus to handle thousands of asylum processes. This goes along with growing racist tendencies in the population, officials and media, that used to be more neutral or at least indifferent. Removing people out of sight into remote camps is presented as an intermediate “solution“.

Following the example of other countries of the European Border Regime, Serbia also finally introduced stronger border controls in an attempt to decrease the number of illegal arrivals. Since the number of people in Bulgaria might increase therefore, there is a stronger pressure for Bulgaria to control its borders as well. This lines up in a number of steps of the Border Regime to locate its physical outer land border on the Bulgarian-Turkish border such as increased Frontex operations in Bulgaria [11].

The current attempts of the Serbian government to regain control on the situation can be read in context of the visit of an EU mission in the beginning of September to evaluate the progress in the EU integration process [12]. The current chapters 23 and 24 deal amongst other with basic and humanitarian rights where the recent efforts on migration management can be used as an example of Serbia displaying European values and practices.

Posted in ZINE: Externalisation of EU migration politics

The current situation of the röszke11

          solidarity banner on the highway

more info: http://freetheroszke11.weebly.com

The trial of ten people accused for „illegal border crossing and participation in mass riot”

After the end of the trial on „first level court” most of the people were sent to Bicske, that is an open camp near Budapest in Hungary. At the moment seven people are in Western Europe. The other three people are still in Hungary.

Yamen A., whose verdict was three years imprisonment and 10 years expulsion from Hungary is currently in the prison of Szeged. We are trying to get in touch with him, but the procedure is quite complicated.

Farouk A. is in a detention center in Kiskunhalas. After the end of the trial he was sent also to Bicske, but a few days later he was moved to Kiskunhalas. The pretrial detention has to be renewed in every two months, the decision will be reviewed in September by the Immigration office (BÁH).

Kamel J. is in the detention center of Békéscsaba and his application for family reunification is in progress. Apart from Yamen, he is the only person who was not in Bicske after the trial, he was immediately moved into the detention center. After two months he requested his relocation into open camp, but the Immigration Office refused it justifying the decision with his lack of identity documents and prolonged his detention. His lawyer argued that until the decision of the family reunification most probably they will not be able to achieve his relocation. They are waiting to receive the decision in the middle of September.

In the „first level court” verdict people got 2-10 years of expulsion from Hungary. The phrasing of the decision is really obscure, with some legal twist it could mean expulsion from the Schengen Zone. According to the lawyer of Kamel J. , probably if people leave Hungary before the verdict come into force, the decision can be applied just on Hungary, not on the whole Schengen Zone.

The „first level court” has sent the verdict to the „second level court” recently, most probably the trials on the „second level” will not start before 2017. People who are already abroad do not have to attend the trials personally, their lawyer can represent them.

The trial of Ahmed H., who is accused for „the crime of terrorism and other crimes”

Ahmed H. is in the prison of Venyige street in Budapest. He is remanded in custody until his next trial which will be on the 23d of September in Szeged.


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Join the international solidarity campaign

source: http://freetheroszke11.weebly.com/join-the-campaign.html

In 2015 September, was the time when the Hungarian border fence to Serbia was closed violently and it became from one day to the other illegal – by criminal law – to cross. The fence, which until now grossly violates people’s right to move and seek asylum was put in place. So, while the government was transporting people themselves to Austria by busses the day before, on September 16th the police was using tear gas and water cannons against people who wanted to do so. Out of the place of the protest, they arrested the 11 accused completely randomly, among those people who could not leave that quickly when the counter-terrorist police force attacked the demonstration. Among them are very young and very old people, sick people, a person in a wheelchair.

After nearly 10 month of detention, in horrible conditions, after the falsification of translations and the biased refusal to take into consideration important video material and the brutal use of tear gas of the police, the accused were found guilty – while the  international media didn’t pay attention and covered the trial 10 of the accused got prison sentences between 1 and 3 years and expulsion from Hungary for up to 10 years, while one, Ahmed H., accused for terrorism – for throwing stones – is facing up to 20 years of imprisonmen. the decision is not the final one,  the prosecutor announced to go into revision and demanded harder punishment. The accused and their defense lawyers also appealed against the decision. So due to Hungarian laws the case is escalated to second level court in Szeged.

While most of the accused had already served the prison time they have been sentenced to and are now either in open camps, soon to be released from detention or have left Hungary already, for two this is not the case: Yamen A., who was sentenced to 3 years of prison in Szeged, and Ahmed H., still waiting for his verdict in prison in Budapest, are still kept in long-term physical detention. While the main focus of the campaign at the moment is on the immediate freedom of the Ahmad H. (20 years) and Yamen A. (3 years) it’s also important to  consider how the criminalization and the stigmata, the massive psychological trauma, the threat of expulsion separating them from their families in the EU, is something that prolongs, even after the physical release. The lives of the 11 people are used to state an example, with which the Hungarian state wants to create an atmosphere of fear and criminalize movement as such.

The Röszke trial is revealing the reality of a system in which state and police violence is never put in question, and in which money and goods can move freely but not people. The trials are happening in an increasingly repressive context. They are happening in a context of militarized European borders, in which people get pushed back multiple times violently at the Serbian-Hungarian border, robbed and beaten up by paramilitary groups, while Hungarian majors proudly post pictures of people at the border tied up in dehumanizing poses before they get pushed back to Serbia. They are happening in a context in which the legal frameworks get shaped in a way that such violence is legitimized and in a context full of racist propaganda, in which theHungary holds a referendum (on October 2nd), symbolically letting Hungarian citizens chose between the forced relocation scheme of the EU and the ‘Hungarian solution’ of fencing off people completely.
This case is one of many horrible cases within the ongoing European migration policy. But it is crucial not only because it reveals the absurdity of European politics of migration, the repression of the EU border regime and the oppressive politics which lie behind the ‘innocent’ idea of state institutions particularly well, but also because those repressive politics are also this time pushed forward at the massive cost of individuals lives.

We invite everybody, individuals and collectives to join and support this campaign in all possible ways. Spread information, organize solidarity actions and join the two demonstration in September! Let’s unite and fight the repression of borders and states!

Dates and locations of the protests:

22.09.2016 Budapest, in front of the Venyige prison (1108 Budapest, Maglódi u. 24), where Ahmed H. is imprisoned
23.09.2016. Szeged, in front of the court (6720, Szeged, Szechenyi ter 4.)

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Posted in ZINE: Externalisation of EU migration politics

Dosta nasilja i represije!

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Pripadnici KIRS-a, žandarmerije, policije u uniformi i civilu rasteruju ljude koji su se sklonili od kiše ispod krova parkinga

Svakodnevna represija u parkovima

Delegacija proterivača, na prvom mestu komesarijat za izbeglice (koji može biti nazvan i „komesarijatom protiv izbeglica“) žandarmerija, gradska policija i policija u civilu, svako veče i svako jutro dolazi na mesta gde se ljudi sklanjaju ne bi li odspavali koji sat, i poteruje ih. Bilo je slučajeva kada je policija koristila silu da bi „sklonila“ ljude sa mesta , gde su mirno spavali ili odmarali. Neki od zaposlenih Komesarijata su izjavili kako su oni na“ istom nivou kao i policija”, time priznali pravu prirodu svog posla. U mnogim slučajevima se pokazalo agresivno i sadističko ponašanje zaposlenih Komesarijata koji su već mesecima na misiji da uznemiravaju, proteruju ljude i pozivaju policiju na intervencije.

lamp!

O sadističkom ponašanju i iživljavanju nad ljudima svedoči i slučaj od pre par dana kada je zaposlenik Komesarijata tokom proterivanja bacio zemlju u hranu koju je grupa ljudi pripremala.

Prema svedočenju ljudi, svojim ponašanjem se najviše ističe radnik Komesarijata sa fotografije, koji  prilazi ljudima dok odmaraju i udara ih baterijskom lampom  koju stalno drži u ruci i šutira ljude dok spavaju. Naravno ovaj pojedinac je samo odraz sistema koji mu daje moć da zlostavlja ilegalizovane, verujemo da nema “dobrih” i “loših” sluga represivnog državnog aparata,  ali je važno da se zna ko je trenutno izvršitelj naredbi. Dokumentujte i intervenišite u slučaju da ste svedok nasilja i proterivanja!

Dosta je pogledati video snimak koji su ljudi snimili u kampu u Krnjači, i biće  jasno zašto ljudi ne žele da borave na tim mestima. Pored toga što tridesetoro ljudi spava u istoj sobi i da nema hrane,  ljudima se uskraćuje sloboda kretanja,  da bi izašli  često moraju preko ograde.

Svaki logor koji nosi naziv  “izbeglički kamp”, “prihvatni centar” itd. je vrsta zatvora. Razlike su samo u nivou militarizacije te institucije. To su koncentracioni logori današnjice,  postoje da bi ljude držali u izolaciji pod kontrolom, istovremeno ti zatvori su biznis za državu i njene institucije.

“ To što bi ljudi (ako ih ne bi maltretirali) radije spavali u ruševinama i parkovima, dovoljno govori o tome da bi se trebalo preispitati šta nije u redu sa kampovima. “ ( otac četvoro dece, trenutno zaglavljen u Srbiji)

U noći 13.-14. avgusta, tek što su stigli, 150 osoba je izbačeno iz kampa “Krnjača”, pa su ljudi bili prinuđeni da hodaju nazad do Beograda. To se desilo nakon što su isti ti ljudi bili naterani od strane policije i komerasrijata da napuste parkove i da idu u kamp, jer „im je tamo mesto“. Ova besmislena, apsurdna politika jeste politika straha i nasilja.

Park je za sve!

Kao intervencija lokalnog stanovništva na sve veću represiju i državnu propagandu, u nedelju se održalo solidarno druženje pod nazivom „Park je za sve!“ . Pored kulturnog i zabavnog programa poput performansa, izložbi, kreativnih radionica, pravljenja banera i filmskih projekcija, ideja okupljanja je bila da se ukaže na to da se lokalno stanovništvo i ljudi koji su zaglavljeni zbog represivnog graničnog režima suočavaju sa istim problemima; policijske represije i sistematskog nasilja. Jedan od simbola represije su narandžaste plastične ograde u parkovima, zbog kojih prostor koji bi trebao da bude javni i za sve nas postao leglo novih ograda.

 

Push-backovi iz Hrvatske

Zbog prevelikog policijskog nasilja i opasnosti na granici sa Mađarskom, ljudi su u potrazi za drugim rutama. Međutim, pošto se represivni sistem migracione politike EU primenjuje svuda, ljudi se suočavaju sa istim nasiljem na svakoj granici. Mnogi su više puta vraćeni iz Hrvatske, njihovi zahtevi za azil su ignorisani, bez sudskog rešenja, samo su „ gurnuti „ nazad na drugu stranu granice, pojedine grupe su se vratile sa teškim telesnim povredama nanete od strane hrvatske granične policije. Neki su stigli čak do Slavonskog broda i Zagreba i vraćeni odatle.

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Posted in articles

Testimony:brutal police violence on the hungarian side behind the fence

(english below)

Svedočenje: Brutalna policijska represija na Mađarskoj granici

(razgovor se desio 6. avgusta, 2016 u Beogradu)

“ Prešli smo granicu 2. avgusta između 2:30 i 3 ujutro, bilo nas je oko 20 u grupi. Nismo daleko odmakli od ograde, svega oko pola kilometara, kada nas je uhapsila mađarska policija. Došli su sa 5 – 6 policijskih vozila. Znali smo da ne smemo bežati, nismo ni pokušali, samo smo seli na zemlju. Tukli su nas na najbrutalniji način. Nas dvoje smo bili najviše izloženi nasilju, jer smo izgledali fizički jači i stariji od ostalih. Neki policajci su nosili crne fantomke, i nismo im mogli videti lica. Osetio se miris alkohola i po tome smo znali da su pijani. Tukli su nas sa metalno- gumenim palicama, koristili su suzavac i pustili  policijske pse na nas. Toliko su nas pekle oči da nismo videli koliko njih nas udara. Razbili su mi glavu, mnogo sam krvario. Pokušavao sam im reći da prestanu ali su nastavili da me udaraju još jače i šutnuli me nogom u grudi.

Bili su pijani, konstantno su se smejali, uživali u nasilju. Rekli su nam da smo teroristi. Smejanje i udaranje, smejanje i udaranje. Nismo se više mogli micati.

Kad im je bilo dovoljno, onda su nas gurnuli u kola i vratili do Horgoša. Šutnuli su nas kroz jedna mala vrata koja se nalaze na ogradi. Tako smo se našli u ranim jutarnjim satima u improvizovanom kampu u Horgošu. Nismo bili u stanju da se pokrećemo. Trebao je nam ceo dan da bi se dovukli pešice do Subotice. Izgubili smo sav novac, vozač autobusa je odbio da nas poveze. Možda se uplašio, bili smo skroz krvavi. Bilo nam je jako teško hodati. Kolima je samo 15 minuta do Subotice ali je nama trebao celi dan, jer smo se jako sporo kretali. Niko nam nije želeo pomoći.

Nakon što su nam neki ljudi kupili kartu za voz, vratili smo se u Beograd. Lekari iz parka su nas odveli u bolnicu. To je bilo pre 4 dana. Još uvek me sve boli, noćima ne spavam od bolova. “

Napomena: Ograda se u celini nalazi na mađarskoj teritoriji, dakle na teritoriji EU, gde bi trebali da važe zakoni EU (koliko licemerni bili). Važno je to naglasiti, jer iz legalne perspektive to znači da za ovakvo brutalno nasilje državnih službi poput gore opisanog i mnogih drugih slučajeva, nisu odgovorni samo mađarske vlasti nego i oni u Briselu , Berlinu, Parizu… Upravo oni koji su podržali i finansirali militarizaciju te i ostalih granica.

Testimonies of two people who experienced brutal police violence on the Serbian-Hungarian border

This is only one of many similar cases of violent police attacks on people at the border. It seems that this kind of  incidents have become “normal”, at least it is not specially mentioned. As always when it comes to violence from the side of police and the state its not being discussed. The systematic character of beating people up is not put in question while somebody who is objecting this violence, is treated as a “public enemy”, called “terrorist”, called whatever .

We are asking ourselves about the purpose of this kind of documentation and publishing , obviously there are so many cases but no public debate on how to change it.

The talk happened on the 6th of August 2016, in Belgrade.

“ It was on the 2nd of August between 2.30-3 AM at night, we were about 20 persons in the group, we reached only half km away from the fence on the Hungarian side, we were caught by the hungarian police. They came with 5-6 police cars, we knew that we should not run, we did not try to run away, just sat down. They beat us very badly, the two of us got beaten up the most, because the other guys were younger and physically weaker. Some of the police was wearing black phantom masks, we could feel from the smell of alcohol that they were drunk. They were beating us with rubber-iron sticks, pepper-spray a nd leashing dogs on us. Our eyes were burning, we even could not see how many of them were beating us. They broke my head, i was blooding, i tried to tell them to stop it, but they beat me even more, and kicked me into my chest.

They were drunk, they were laughing constantly, having fun, and telling us that we are terrorists. Beat and laugh, beat and laugh. We could not move at all.

When they got enough of fun, they pushed us into a car, and brought us back to Horgos. There was a small door on the fence, they kicked us back through that door. We found ourselves in the Horgos camp, it was early morning, we could not walk. It took us the whole day to get back to Subotica by foot. We lost all of our money, the bus driver did not want to take us. We were all in blood, maybe he was afraid to let us in. It was very hard, it’s just 15min by car but we walked very slowly the whole day, nobody wanted to help us.

After some people got us a ticket and we came back to Belgrade. The doctors from the park took me to the hospital. It was 4 days ago, i am still all in pain, can’t sleep at night, from the pain and from the stress. “

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Posted in testimonies

End of the hunger strike, people transferred to camps

protest

written by a self-organized international solidarity group

Yesterday, July 29, about 120 people that were on hunger strike for 5 days as a sign of protest against the border regime were lifted by the police. Most of them  are now in one of the asylum centers in Banja Koviljaca, on the Bosnian border.

The hunger strikers were considered as a security problem for the border area; the police firstly dissuaded the strikers to carry on with their protest  and after removed them from the area. Beside total exhaustion and serious health issues,  there was a  big pressure on them to stop the strike, but as it was checked out, force was not applied during the transfer. People agreed to get into the buses.                                 We know that on the 27th of July 26 migrants left Belgrad to join the group of hunger strikers in Horgos; actually they never arrived in Subotica. Probably they were rejected,we are waiting to get some news from them.

It would not be the first time that the authorities try to silence the protests by sending people away, splitting them in smaller groups and apparently putting  them to isolated places.

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Posted in ZINE: Externalisation of EU migration politics

Statement of one of the hungerstrikers at the serbian-hungarian border

 Why did you decide to start a hunger strike?

“You know, its a global issue, the issue of refugees, there are now 3800 refugees here in Serbia, most of them are in the parks and in the streets, most of them covering somewhere, and many of them they live in camps, they have applied for asylum and they are waiting. In a legal process that is initiated by the Hungarian government on daily bases they receive 15 people from Horgoš camp and 15 people from Kelebija. To the issue of entering is very much slow when looking at the huge number of refugees although there is tough security system in Bulgaria and over here at the Hungarian border as well.

Personally I think that there are certain powerful nations that have turned a blind eye towards them (the refugees), I think they are fleeing their responsibility because whenever there is a crisis there is the responsibility to come forward and address the challenge. The world is sliding towards intolerance, insecurity is on the rise, people are being divided even if the the issue is the same: there is the few ones who want to create chaos, and they are winning the war. They are just few ones, and we are billions. Humans. And if they succeed in creating ruptures, intolerance , hatred, it means that this planet will no more remain a beautiful place and a secure place and in that case we will not be in the position to give a beautiful and peaceful tomorrow for our children.

When I came to Belgrade and saw that the refugees are stuck here, waiting under the sun to pick up some , I asked myself , for how long it will remain like this? There have been many people there, sitting and discussing the situation. It was my first day and I got interested and gave my ideas for what we should do. I thought doing something together is the only way from which we could successfully deliver the message: by creating fences we will not achieve anything in Europe. Its a kind of escape. Why not to stop wars?why not to stop violence? By stopping wars and violence , you can successfully address this issue instead of creating new fences or buying someones loyalty in the sense of “Ok, dont let them enter to your territory” and taking money for that. Turkey and Bulgaria are also having a business with this.The refugee crisis has become an operative sector these days.

So our second objective was: to show to the world, what the real troubles of the refugees are, when they leave their countries of origin and come through the “jungles” walking for days and nights, what we actually go through. They are beaten, jailed, dogs are unleashed on them, their money is snatched, and they are ordered to go back by foot. So this is something , we feel, its totally out of the sight of the world. Because journalists can not go to the jungles , or they have no access, or they are not allowed, I don’t know what is the reason. So because of inaccessibility something was hidden from the eyes of the world.Personally I did not eat anything for 2 days and 2 nights when I was in Bulgaria, only a bottle of water was offered to me. I was not even allowed to go out for urination, I had to urinate inside the prison. Inside my home country I was considered by the security forces a criminal because I had spoken out against the policies of the state. But why a person should be treated like a criminal when he was fleeing violence and war? The third object is: they have to rewrite, rethink, refugee policies. Because by creating just fences you are dividing the beautiful world and this is not a solution.”

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Did someone come from the official side to talk to you for negotiations?

“We were told that somebody would come tomorrow, but nobody knows who that man is and what kind of capacities he or she has. Until now we were only in contact with the serbian commissariat and they kept asking us , what is your plan, what is your next step? They just appeared for a few minutes and then left.                                                                 Millions of dollars are creating fences and tightening security. So we can not just come and say “open the door”. This is not my uncles house. You know, I can not force anybody. I dont want any anger from a third country. When I am in a secure position, lets say I am settled somewhere, working as a journalist, then I am in the position that I can again take the hammer and start to criticize the policies . But given our position, we can just ask to have a second look at your policies. If the people could chose, they would not come this route. They would come by planes.                                                                                                     What we need today is unity, solidarity , love and peace.”

The talk happened on 28th of July 2016.

 

Posted in ZINE: Externalisation of EU migration politics

Horgoš-hunger strike updates

27.07.2016.

On the 5th day of the hunger strike, 4  people had  a collapse and were brought to hospital. Three of them are back in the hunger strike now, one person is still in the hospital because of heart problems.

231Serbia Protesting Migrants

Yesterday the Commissariat and the minister for social policy  tried to persuade people to put their names on a list, promising them a possibility to wait for a legal entry to Hungary. This option was also offered  to people  in the parks in Belgrade in the recent days without any further explanation. The base of this offer is very questionable, specially after the latest statement of Orban, where he said that hungary does not need a single migrant..

Apart from the demand for freedom of movement, there is the new demand that the hungerstrikers-camp, should be recognized as a third camp (apart from Horgos camp and Kelebija camp) from where a certain number of people per day can enter Hungary legally.

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The atmosphere is very tense due to the hard conditions, still a big number of people is confident and want to continue the strike until they reach their goals.

More police is around in the area where the hungerstrikers are located. There are all in all 3 cars, and a empty police van, that can transport a high number of people. Since the spot is in a border zone where a special permission is needed, people in solidarity might be controlled when they approach the hungerstrikers . Be persistent and creative!

Lets spread the spirit of solidarity, understanding the hard conditions of the struggle of the hungerstrikers. As for us there is no solution “inside” of the system, but we need to reach freedom with the abolition of borders and capital. Locals and migrants – unite the struggle!

619Serbia Protesting Migrants

 video: http://rs.n1info.com/a180346/Vesti/Vesti/Horgos-treci-dan-strajka.html


Petog dana štrajka glađu, četvoro ljudi je kolapsiralo i bilo odvedeno u bolnicu. Nakon tretmana, troje ih se vratilo u štrajk, jedna osoba je i dalje u bolnici zbog slabog rada srca.

Juče su predstavnici Komesarijata za izbeglice i ministar za socijalna pitanja  nagovarali ljude da se potpišu na spisak čekanja, obećavajući im mogućnost legalnog ulaska u Mađarsku. Isti pritisak je proteklih dana vršen i na ljude u parkovima u Beogradu, bez dodatnog objašnjenja o kakvoj proceduri se radi. Osnovanost ove “ponude” je veoma sumnjiva, pogotovo nakon poslednje izjave Orbana, da Madjarska ne želi primiti ni jednog jedinog migranta.

Pored opšteg zahteva za slobodu kretanja za sve, novi zahtev ljudi koji su učestvovali u protestnom maršu i nakon toga krenuli u štrajk glađu je da  njihova grupa bude prihvaćena kao treći “kamp” (pored Horgoša i Kelebije) iz kog bi određen broj ljudi svakodnevno mogao legalno ući u Mađarsku. Atmosfera je veoma napeta zbog ekstremnih uslova, ali ipak i dalje veliki broj ljudi istraje da nastavi štrajk do ispunjenja zahteva.

Prisustvo policije (24 h) je povećano na poljani gde ljudi štrajkuju. Putnički autobus, nekoliko policijskih kola i marica  su u pripravnosti za transport većeg broja ljudi. Pošto se lokacija nalazi u takozvanoj graničnoj zoni, ljudi koji žele izraziti  solidarnost svojim prisustvom mogu biti legitimisani i uklonjeni. Budite istrajni i kreativni u nalaženju načina uspostavljenja komunikacije sa ljudima u protestu.

Za nas ne postoji rešenje unutar sistema, zato je potrebno da se izborimo za slobodu, ukidanjem granica i monopola kapitala. Neka se širi duh solidarnosti! Lokalno stanovništvo i migranti– ujedinjeni u zajedničkoj borbi!

Posted in Solidarity statements