Deportation to Afghanistan from Munich – Protestors Gather at Munich Airport

Today the so far third deportation flight from Germany to Afghanistan was held. Between fifty to sixty people According to officials and press reports 18 men, together with police forces, were put on a charter plane of Meridiana. The plane left the spot at the airfield approximately at 9.30 PM. The procedure was conducted under exclusion of media and the broad public. Colleagues with strong tele-photo lenses were not able to display the faces of the humans transported back to Afghanistan with this flight. Protestors gathered in the area between Terminals 1 and 2. At least 350 participated in the rally and demonstrated through the terminals.

Munich BAMF Offices  Closed for the Past Weeks ?
protestmarch-end_20161019_13
Archive Picture – BAMF in Nuremberg guarded by police during demonstration of Refugee Struggle

Talking to activists supporting refugees that want to stay anonymous 24mmjournalism was told that the Munich local office of the BAMF – ministry of migration- has been closed during the past two weeks. This was one of the first times one could expect something like this flight happening from the Bavarian capital. Asylum seekers were not able to reach the office or had to go to Nuremberg to have their papers either renewed or checked.
Activists also told us that the last pick-ups for the deportation flight happened in the late afternoon of February 22nd.

Deportation from Terminal F
Germany deports to Afghanistan from Munich airport - activists rally at Munich airpor
Entrance to Terminal F blocked by police.

According to a federal police spokesman the procedure for people getting deported is equal to the procedure for a normal passenger – besides they are not flying by their own will. Papers are reviewed luggage is checked, people go through security and then board the plane. This all happens behind closed doors. No possibility to accompany the situation as a journalist. To enter high security terminal F at Munich airport one had to show boarding passes checked by police officers already far in advance. The entrance was blocked by police forces with dogs on site.

Even though too late to take a picture we can report from having a look at other photographers pictures that the plane was parked so the boarding took place on the other side of what can be documented from outside the airport area. This makes the whole process seem distanced. The ones deported have no face. On February 23rd we tried to get a hold of press officials of Meridiana. The Italian airline seems to have conducted the deportation flight as pictures displayed in mayor german news magazines such as Spiegel Online suggest. Trying to get in contact with the airline asking on their Facebook Fanpage for contact to a press official they blocked 24mmjournalism’s reporter:

We will keep trying to reach their press office and if we get a statement this might answer our questions:

Did you conduct a flight deporting 18 male asylum seekers to Kabul on February 22nd from Munich?

How much did the german government pay you for this flight?

Does your company stand behind the deportations and sees no ethical problem in this controversial discussed topic?

Why did you block our reporter on your Facebook page?

Do you think this will damage the way your company is seen by the public?

Will you conduct more deportations if the german government pays you?

The company has answered 24mmjournalism’s reporters e-mail sent, after trying to get in contact via different social media channels and a phone number handed out by their call-center, stating:

Dear Michael,

Meridiana works with many brokers. No information on services performed for third parties is divulged.

For your kind information, we didn’t get any phone call or email from you, before your one below.

Best regards

Protest in the Area of Munich Airport

Germany deports to Afghanistan from Munich airport - activists rally at Munich airpor

Several political groups mobilized for a demonstration in the late afternoon just before the deportation would take place. At least 350 participated in the rally. First speaches by refugees were held and then a demonstration throughout the area of the airport followed. Several passengers looked surprised as they did not know what was going on while they were boarding their flights. One hissed passing by: “Put them on the plane too!”.

All in all February 22nd marks a sad mark in german history with deportations to a war-zone departing from Munich. After deportations in December, January and now February one can guess that this will become a monthly thing to happen.

Advertisements

Stonewall against Refugees – Residents Force City of Munich

Munich citizens and refugees cheer as the hard journey finds an end.
Refugees arriving at Munich Central Station.

More then one year ago the city of Munich presented itself to the world as a harbor for stranded refugees. Angela Merkel asked Hungarian and Austrian politicians to let through asylum seekers desperately looking forward to a better future. Those who fled were warmly welcomed by Munich citizens. One year later though in November Munich citizen’s once again show how they like refugees to be treated. Six neighboring parties filed a law suit against the city of Munich forcing a ‚noise-protection-wall‘ to be built to protect themselves from refugees that are supposed to move in next door.

Wall against refugee shelter in Munich
Construction worker looks through one of the holes in the wall.

The first snow has fallen in Munich. Refugee Struggle for Freedom activists were evicted on November 5th. A picture shows up on Munich regional newspapers: A wall. Snow is falling in front of it. Angry neighbors have forced the city to build a wall between them and a future refugee shelter. The neighbors pretend that this is just a ‘noise protection wall’. The wall is four meters of height, built out of metal cages with filled with small stones. The last pieces still have to be put together. Small holes are left to look through. Between the next houses and future refugee shelter there is an old train track covered up by bushes und trees. Whilst documenting the wall two camera teams showed up. Their interview partner: One of the six neighbors filing the law suit. Stefan Reich, judge at the  Landesgericht – state’s supreme court. Explaining widely that this has nothing to do with racism and that he just wants that it stays as peaceful as it is when ‚they‘ arrive. 

The housing units are almost finished. First unaccompanied minor refugees are supposed to move in this week. The wall has been hit by spraypainting. One can hardly read what it says. Construction workers have covered it with euro-pallets. 

Eviction of hunger strike refugee camp at Sendlinger Tor in Munich
The wall was hit by spraypainters. The Graffito was hidden by the construction workers.

 According to pictures published by newspaper Abendzeitung the Graffito says: ‘RASSISMUS PUR’. In the area around the future wall racist and far-right stickers of the Identitarian movement can be found. They start at the bus stop and lead into the neighborhood. 

Civil courage is needed to prevent that the already worldwide in newspapers reported about racist incident stays unanswered. Munich activists have filed an online petition against the wall.

Eviction of Hunger Strike Refugee Camp at Sendlinger Tor in Munich

After one month of protest camp, a protest march to Nuremberg and five days of hunger strike refugees announced to start a dry hunger strike on Saturday November 5th. After several activists collapsing due to weakness, the city of Munich decided to evict the protestors at Sendlinger Tor. The refugees tried to draw attention to their miserable situation and refugees dying at the European borders with their protest in the city center of Munich. A prospect for the evicted activists can not be seen. After the eviction they will be returned to their camps.

Peaceful eviction of camp
Eviction of hunger strike refugee camp at Sendlinger Tor in Munich
Police evicts camp at Sendlinger Tor. Non-citizens peacefully tare down camp and leave Sendlinger-Tor-Platz. Several collapsed due to weakness after hunger striking for five days.

At 5:15 PM massive police forces appeared around the Hunger striking activists. Police surrounded the camp on Sendlinger-Tor-Platz. After three announcements and with the last one letting people know force will be used to clear everybody off the camp’s grounds according to Refugee Struggle the group decided to peacefully end their strike. Several persons had to be brought to the hospital. Activists and supporters cleaned up tents, mattresses, sleeping-bags and all other goods on site. Approximately 50 refugees then left Sendlinger-Tor-Platz and went to get food and warm up after more then six weeks of protest. The group was accompanied by riot police forces. Some activists could barely walk.

Picture gallery of the eviction

Tree occupation and eviction
Eviction of hunger strike refugee camp at Sendlinger Tor in Munich
Special forces remove refugees from trees.

Similar to the events in 2014, when Refugee Struggle for Freedom also held a hunger strike at the exact same spot, about 20 activists managed to occupy two trees. Munich police first completely ignored the occupation. Only at 9 PM a first group of officers surrounded the new protest site, but soon left. It can only be guessed that Munich police officials hoped that after 5 days of hunger striking people will climb off the trees themselves. At 11 PM the eviction of those trees started. First off riot forces surrounded the rally. Some activists left the tree by themselves. Soon later more forces arrived and set up blocks to keep off more supporters. After three announcements police and Munich fire department started setting up so called “jump pillows”, straw and mattrasses to prevent injuries in case activists fell off the tree. Soon later the supporters forming a chain around one tree were cleared and arrested. A special forces climbing unit arrived. Those then rappeled and under screams and the threat to commit suicide by the refugees, removed activists from the trees.Some could barely walk, but were taken in custody by riot police officers. The operations were finished at 4:34 PM with the last activist torn off the tree.

Picture gallery of tree eviction
Prospect for refugee protest in Munich

After six weeks of protest ending today in the early morning hours of November 5th a prospect can hardly be seen for refugees in Germany. Asylum cases from so called “safe-third-countries” are dropped even though people fear their death after deportation. Politicians have completely ignored the prostest and neglect the peoples’ wish to work, integrate and become part of a “normal” social life in Germany. With several activists brought to the hospital and an eviction made reasonable due to health risks for the activists one can only hope that none of the refugees have permanent injuries. This will for sure not be the last refugee protest in Munich. To finish with a quote often said by activists and supporters: “The struggle continues”.

Video Reportage by the colleagues SPICY

Non-Citizen’s Protest March Reaches BAMF in Nuremberg

After 11 days of hiking the Non-Citizen’s protest march arrives in Nuremberg. The march followed a camp at Sendlinger Tor in Munich that was pointing out the still bad situation for refugees already in Germany, but also demanding free movement for all people and options for a save passage to Europe for all people fleeing. The BAMF is the german Federal Office for Migration and Refugees which also organizes deportations. 

Route of Protest March

The route taken by the non-citizens involved more than 230 kilometers of hiking, passing by bigger cities of Bavaria like Freising, Landshut, Regensburg, Neumarkt and Nuremberg. The activists participating held rallies and demonstrations along the way. Pictures and videos can be watched on https://refugeestruggle.org/ .

Arrival in Nuremberg

 

The group arriving in Nuremberg seemed in a binary state of mind. On one hand activists seemed eager to reach their goal to rally against asylum politics in Germany. On the other hand the group also seemed exhausted from walking a that long distance in rainy weather.

Picture Gallery of Beginning and End of Protest March

 

PEGIDA Munich Marches towards Non-Citizen’s Protest Camp

After the racist PEGIDA movement started their weekly demonstration last week just across the street from the non-citizen’s protest camp at Sendlinger Tor, this week the group gathered at Stachus. With less than one hundred participants the group seems to keep losing followers. They announced to march towards Sendlinger Tor, hold a rally there and march back to Stachus.

Speeches at PEGIDA Munich
PEGIDA marches during Oktoberfest - police violence errupts at rally on the way
Speaker ‘Tobi’

This week speaker‚Tobi‘, Heinz Meyer and another person held a speech.  So called ‘Tobi’s’ talk was lacking information, but was filled with slogans such as ‚Merkel muss weg‘ and similar theses shouted during the weekly PEGIDA marches. He also declared

‘… Der Islam kommt aus der Wüste und dahin gehört er auch zurück …’

roughly translated:

‘… Islam comes from the desert, that’s where Islam should go back to. …’

Tobi stated also his positive feelings about the Identitarean movement and their actions in and around Munich. Head of the local PEGIDA movement Heinz Meyer and recent participant in a rally against non-citizens of neonazi party ‚Der. III. Weg‘ at Sendlinger Tor, also had a short talk. He stated –as tweeted by 24mmjournalism :

‚… Ich mag einfach keine Muslime …  besonders Afghanen mag ich nicht … ‚

roughly translated: … I simply do not like muslims … I especially dislike Afghanes … ‚

Police violence at half-way rally
PEGIDA marches during Oktoberfest - police violence errupts at rally on the way
Pulled off the site at the throat after peaceful protest –  later gasping for air

As the demonstration marched towards Sendlinger Tor and the refugee protest camp, some people tried to get onto the route. At Sendlinger Tor a cage of fences was set up for the PEGIDA movement to rally – just across the street from the non-citizen’s protest camp. Minutes before the demonstration reached the cage antifascists counter-protestors approached to state their mischief about the rally. Police immediately put on helmets and violently pushed counter-protestors away from the cage. People were neither mummed nor in any kind violent. Then a police officer commanded to push the people further back. Some persons tried to leave the scene due to the high aggression shown by police officers – with helmets and beating sticks pulled out. Two officers grabbed one person. He immediately lifted his hands stating: ‚ I surrender.‘ – probably hoping to be treated normally. Not letting him get up the riot police officers  pulled him away from the group at the head. Then he fell to the ground next to a small shop. The person was coughing and desperately gasping for air. Police officers on-site told 24mmjournalism that the ‚suspect‘ did not wish an ambulance to be called. 24mmjournalism later talked to a surgeon that pointed out that pulling away a person at the throat can lead to throwing up and aspirating if the patient is not treated in the right way. Twenty minutes later an ambulance arrived. The person was then taken into custody according to reports by colleagues.

Picture Gallery

All of this draws an ugly picture of police force used against peaceful demonstrators – especially as media is focused on Munich due to the annual held Oktoberfest. PEGIDA returned to it’s starting point during that time.

Non-Citizen Protest at Sendlinger Tor in Munich

Following protests in the years of 2013 at Rindermarkt and 2014 at Sendlinger Tor (24mmjournalim reported), [and many other actions] non-citizens have gathered once again at Sendlinger Tor to protest against the situation for people asking for asylum in Germany. Approximately  70 refugees are protesting in downtown Munich right now. Munich’s far-right has shown up several times at the protest camp, held rallies and pegida has marched past the camp.

Protest Camp and Goals
sendltor-refugeestrike__13160910
“We are human beeings!”

Six pavillions, pallettes, an info-table, food, water, sleeping mats and bags. As one gets off the Tramway at Sendlinger Tor in the city center of Munich the protest camp can easily be spotted. Right next to the fountain, non-citizens try to deliver a message. “We are human beeings!” – as Adeel (one of movement’s speakers) also loudly stated at the spontaneous demonstration on Tuesday September 13th – gallery below. The camp  emerged out of a demonstration on September 7th – Thomas Bergmann reported. On the 7th day at Sendlinger Tor, Refugee Struggle for Freedom published a statement:

“Wir sind hier um Bleiberecht zu erlangen, in der öffentlichen Wahrnehmung zu sein, um mit Politiker*innen zu sprechen, Verbündete zu bekommen, sodass wir als große Masse auftreten können, um so die Asylgesetze zu verändern. …”

“We are here to gain the right to stay, to be in public perception, to talk to politicians, gain supporters, so we can rise to change asylum laws …” [roughly translated]

-Refugee Struggle for Freedom

Life at Sendlinger Tor
sendltor-refugeestrike__7160909
Pavillions are set up in the middle of the night.

Non-citizens and supporters of the movement work together to make Sendlinger Tor a place to hold a camp. Pavillions were set up in the middle of the first night. Food is delivered on a regular basis – cooked close to the camp. Supporters stay over night to help in case help is needed.  The – right now – turned off fountain has evolved to a place where people hang out, make music and hold meetings to discuss how protest should go on. “In general the situation is ok”, Adeel told me. Still goods are needed. Even on Saturday night – 24mmjournalism stayed to watch the situation and understand what spending the night at Sendlinger Tor means – there were still people without sleeping bags and mats. Some protestors sleep on the bare ground – only wrapped in banners and clothing. In case you want to support and find out what goods are needed right now – ask at the info-table in front of the camp. As there were heavy rainfalls during the time of the protest the camp has been made safe against bad weather. Further impressions from the camp at  night:

Munich’s far-right scene reacts
sendltor-refugeestrike__10160910
Michael Stürzenberger with ‘cameraman’ / DieFreiheit activist.

As expected Munich’s far-right and neonazi scene has reacted. On Saturday September 10th Michael Stürzenberger (failed local politician, Die Freiheit, pi-news) showed up and started filming in the middle of the camp with his “cameraman”. In a video published to his YouTube channel Stürzenberger states that he wanted to report as an unbiased journalist and got attacked by left-extremists as he wandered through the camp. Non-citizens and supporters seem to have reacted and expelled him from the demonstration. Also an article by him showed up on PI-News. The comments section of the article makes one shudder. Openly some users ask to do a “drive by and warmly remove the camp” – following words about molotov-cocktails. Those words seem especially dangerous, as refugee housings have been set on fire through the past year all over Germany. Below a collection of the worst, most racist and filled with hatred comments:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Lukas Bals that has been in media reports recently for causing trouble at the AfD election party, as well as Robert Andreasch’s talk at the Eine-Welt-Haus, was also spotted close to the camp according to eyewhitnesses. A gardener watering the plants poured water over sleeping bags as reported by Refugee Struggle for Freedom on Twitter:

 On Monday night after the local PEGIDA branch marched 13 well-known participants of the racist rally showed up a Sendlinger Tor. Amongst them: Rolf H. known for violent attacks on journalists and Heinz Meyer, leader of the regional PEGIDA movement. On the next day convicted neonazi terrorist Karl-Heinz Statzberger and hooligan Petra K. showed up and handed out flyers with the headline “Asylflut Stoppen!”. The flyers are printed by neonazi-party “Der III. Weg”- Statzberger and K. are both affiliated with the party.

After all it can be mentioned: Racist resentments can be noticed on site – people walking by shake their heads and cuss at refugees. Neonazis show up at the rally and hand out flyers and far-right “journalists” walk through the camp to write articles which are later commented with call-ups for acts of violence and murder.

UPDATE

By now neo-nazis have gathered close to the camp  at Sendlinger Tor during heavy rainfalls. Local PEGIDA leader Heinz Meyer joined their protest. Gallery:

One day later PEGIDA marched passed the camp and will again on September 26.

The Struggle Continues

Although this all does not look like a good prospect, activists of Refugee Struggle for Freedom say they will not stop to fight until they gain the rights of basic human beings in Germany. Until their voices will be heard. This could clearly be felt at the spontaneous demonstration that was held on Tuesday night, as well as the demonstration through inner city Munich held some days later. Picture gallery:

The protest will continue – at least until Semptember 30th. The city has permitted the camp until that day. 24mmjournalism will continue to report about the protest and update this article

Stand Up Against Racism Demonstration – Berlin

Several thousand people gathered on September 3rd in Berlin to demonstrate against racism. The Blockupy movement participated in the demonstration (following protests on September 2nd) under the motto:  “Grenzenlos – Feministisch, Solidarisch, Antikapitalistisch” [Borderless – feminist, solidary, anticapitalist ]. Pyrotechnic was lit several time. AfD posters were painted on with marker. The rally ended near the headquarter of the racist AfD party.

Picture Gallery