Big protest against European Union anti-refugee policy

This video says about itself:

Germany: Ruptly journalist pepper-sprayed covering migrant justice protest

21 June 2015

Protesters clashed with police, as thousands rallied through Berlin for World Refugee Day, Sunday, protesting against the European policies towards the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean. A Ruptly producer got pepper-sprayed by police as he was filming the protest in front of the German Bundestag.

German activist group the Centre for Political Beauty converted the area in front of the Chancellery and the Bundestag into a symbolic graveyard, dedicated to “unknown migrants” to shed light on unprecedented numbers of migrants dying attempting the dangerous crossing of the Mediterranean.

By Stefan Steinberg in Germany:

5,000 protest in Berlin against EU refugee policy

24 June 2015

Over 5,000 people marched through central Berlin on Sunday to protest against the inhumane policy of the German government and European Union towards refugees. Many of the marchers carried flowers or candles and walked behind a funeral car symbolising the massive loss of life on European borders. Handheld banners declared: “Europe’s borders kill” and “Every person is legal”.

The vast majority of those assembled were young people and students, but the march also included families and refugee organisation activists.

The original aim of the demonstration was to assemble in front of the office of the German chancellor and, in the form of coffins, confront the head of government with the results of her policy. At the last minute the police banned the demonstration from marching on the chancellor’s office and set up a no-go cordon around the building. Determined to carry out their protest, the marchers changed their route and assembled in front of the German parliament (Bundestag).

The protesters then dug symbolic graves in the turf in front of the Bundestag decked with around 100 wooden crosses to mark a small number of the thousands of victims who have already died this year attempting to enter Europe. Later on Sunday evening police intervened and detained 50 of the protesters. The following morning the grounds of the Bundestag were cleared of the crosses.

The rally was organized by a group of artists called the Center for Political Beauty, which has organised a series of campaigns in recent years directed at drawing attention to political abuses by governments and institutions such as the United Nations and the Deutsche Bank. Supporters of the group, bearing T-shirts with the slogan “The Dead Are Coming”, formed a cortège around the funeral car which headed the demonstration through Berlin. Their aim is to put pressure on existing governments and EU institutions to implement their verbal commitment to human rights, despite the fact that these institutions are at the forefront of the attack on migrants.

The demonstration met with a broad response from layers of the population appalled at the daily reports of men, women and children dying on European borders. Some participants explained why they decided to attend the demonstration.

Sylvie is a student at the Humboldt University. She attended the demonstration with two friends. She said she had been shocked and sickened by the refugee deaths that had already taken place this year. “The actions of the German and other European governments are criminal”, Sylvie said. “Instead of welcoming immigrants with open arms the Merkel government and EU governments have set up a system aimed at deterring and punishing them.”

“25 years ago people celebrated here in Berlin when the wall came down”, she added, “but now new walls are being set up to separate people. A wall has been established around Europe to keep immigrants out and walls are being built inside Europe itself to keep people apart. Hungary plans to build a wall to keep Serbian refugees out. Greece is building barriers along its borders. This madness has to stop.”

Rolf, a refugee activist in Berlin, told WSWS: “The German government tries to wash its hands of any blame and claims it takes in more refugees than other countries. But it is the German government that has played a key role in making sure that immigrants are not allowed to move into central Europe after they have attempted to land in countries on the fringe of Europe.”

“All of the parties are equally to blame”, Rolf said. “Instead of taking responsibility for their actions and allowing people into Europe, the SPD is discussing a points system based on a Canadian model where only the best and brightest gain access to the labour market. If refugees can prove they have a master’s degree in computer science they will be allowed in. But there is no place for the rest and their families who are fleeing poverty and war.”

The response to Sunday’s protest came despite the fact that the demonstration had been called at short notice and against a background of fiercely hostile comments in the media and from leading politicians.

Activists from the group had staged funerals in Berlin last week for refugees who had died in the Mediterranean and been summarily buried in Italy. In a statement the group explained its aim: “We are commemorating all those who have died daily on the borders of Europe and are buried in unmarked graves, without their names ever reaching the public.”

The response by sections of the press was vitriolic, with articles claiming that the burials were “macabre”, “gruesome” or even “political pornography” (Süddeutsche Zeitung). The German government commissioner for refugees, Aydan Özoguz (SPD), also criticized the march on Sunday. “With all due respect for the anger of activists in the face of thousands of refugees drowned in the Mediterranean Sea, staging a spectacle of corpses goes beyond moral limits”, he told Die Welt on Saturday.

Germany’s leading newspapers and politicians recently declared it was necessary to enter into a serious dialogue with the right-wing, racist Pegida movement, which vilifies and terrorises refugees. Now, just a few weeks later, the same newspapers and political parties viciously condemn those seeking to highlight the EU’s criminal role in the death of thousands of immigrants.

EU begins military intervention in Mediterranean: here.

Serbia against Hungarian government’s anti-refugee wall

This video says about itself:

Europe Or Die (Full Documentary)

13 May 2015

Since 2000, more than 27,000 migrants and refugees have died attempting the perilous journey to Europe. With an unprecedented number of people breaking through its heavily barricaded borders in 2014, the EU continues to fortify its frontiers.

VICE News presents Europe or Die, a new four-part series that documents the efforts of those risking their lives to reach Europe, and the forces tasked to keep them out.

Episode 1 – Storming Spain‘s Razor-Wire Fence: VICE News correspondent Milène Larsson travels to the border between Morocco and Spain, where West Africans in their thousands storm the razor-wire-clad fences. Many are beaten back by border police or illegally returned.

Episode 2 – Death Boats to Greece: VICE News correspondent Milène Larsson travels to the border between Greece and Turkey, where Syrian and Afghan refugees are paying large sums of money to take “death boats” to Greece, and visits the border between Greece and Turkey to find out what happens to the many migrants who perish while attempting to cross Greece’s dangerous Evros river.

Episode 3 – Trapped In Bulgaria: VICE News correspondent Milène Larsson visits Bulgaria to see Europe’s newest border fence and speaks to Syrians who, because of the EU’s Dublin Regulation, are trapped in one of Europe’s poorest countries.

Episode 4 – Italy’s Mediterranean Mass Grave: VICE News correspondent Milène Larsson arrives in Italy as the only extensive search and rescue mission in the Mediterranean is replaced with a border surveillance mission, effectively leaving thousands of desperate migrants adrift in the sea.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Serbia‘s Vucic hits out at Hungarian migrant fence

Friday 19th June 2015

SERBIAN President Aleksandar Vucic said he was “shocked and surprised” yesterday by Hungary’s plan to build a border fence against immigrants.

Walls and fences” were not the solution, Mr Vucic said, to the crisis that has seen tens of thousands of migrants from the Middle East and Africa cross the western Balkans, trying to reach the European Union as they flee wars and poverty in their home countries.

“We don’t know what this is all about,” Mr Vukic said. “We are not guilty and all of a sudden a wall is to be built.”

He added: “We don’t want to live in an Auschwitz.”

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto claimed on Wednesday that the 13-foot-high fence along the 109-mile southern border with Serbia would not contravene any of Hungary’s international legal obligations.

But the European Union said it did not promote the use of fences and encouraged its member states to use alternative measures.

“We have only recently taken down walls in Europe. We should not be putting them up,” said EU spokeswoman Natasha Bertaud.

Ms Bertaud is right in this. However, she (or her predecessors in the European Union bureaucracy) should say that as well to the right wing government in Spain, with their razor wire fences wounding immigrants trying to climb them. And this should have been said to the previous government in Greece with their anti-refugee wall along the Turkish border too.

Hungary’s right-wing government has been on an anti-immigrant campaign, claiming that Muslims threaten Europe’s Christians.

Human rights abuses are the key driving factor behind migrant crisis in the Mediterranean: Human Rights Watch: here.

How wars in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe have created an unprecedented refugee crisis: here.

Hungarian regime, back to Berlin wall, concentration camps, death penalty

This video says about itself:

Hungary’s far-right plays with fire – reporter

26 April 2013

“Death to the Jews!” “Auschwitz isn’t this way!” “We’re taking you to a free campsite, with heating!” “No return ticket!”

Slogans like these were heard in the streets of Budapest last year, when the Hungarian capital was invaded by a demonstration by the extreme right.

As police looked on arms folded, one journalist who was filming had his nose broken in five places.

We met up with him six months later. He is still waiting for any charges to be brought, after having filed two complaints against his attackers, and the police.

“I looked over our videos of the past years, when they are shouting for example anti-semitic or anti-gypsy words. In the past it was a bit more covered. But now it’s really direct. It shows maybe it’s more “OK” now to speak directly and to speak with hate,” says Barna Szasz.

This rise in extremism fuelled a record turnout for the ‘March for Life’ in Budapest on April 21st, the traditional march in memory of the more than 500,000 Hungarian Jews who perished in the Holocaust in World War Two.

It is also one of the reasons why the World Jewish Congress’ Plenary session, normally held in Israel, is coming to Budapest this year.

Anti-semitic incidents have risen in the last few months in Hungary, which has Central Europe’s largest Jewish community.

This is on top of a rising number of regular attacks against Roma people. The blame is often laid at the door of the extreme right-wing Jobbik party, the country’s third-largest political force.

One of its leaders made the headlines last winter when he called for a list to be made of members of parliament, the government, and civil service who were Jewish and could represent a threat to national security.

Public outrage followed. He retorted by claiming he was not anti-semitic and was only looking at double nationality issues.

“Any citizen of a country that completely disregards international law and commits genocide 24 hours a day against the Palestinian people means a national security risk anywhere in any country that they go to. This is the reason why Hungarian-Israeli citizenship is of particular interest to us. And also because Shimon Peres, the president of Israel, back in October 2007, talked about my country, Hungary, as the target of Israeli Jewish businessmen and financial people. And this was all in the context of colonisation and building empires,” insisted Marton Gyongyosi.

This is an embarrassment for the Hungarian government, when it is trying to strengthen good relations with Israel.

One journalist, who prefers to remain anonymous, insisted this will not be enough to beat a spreading disease. He is on a list of Hungarian Jewish figures that does the rounds of extreme-right internet hate sites, where he is the subject of frequent attacks.

“The commentaries were extremely aggressive, including the regret that the job of Auschwitz was not finished and things like this. The truth is that my feeling of security has disappeared. Not in everyday life, I’m not afraid on the bus or in the subway. But I’m very uncertain about my future. And I have to tell you that I regard it much more as a European phenomenon,” he said.

For the director of the Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities, Mazsihisz, the country still needs to come to terms with its history before mentalities can change.

“In Germany people are confronted with their past. Not here. There are things that cannot be tackled with laws. The most important thing is for things to be clear in people’s minds. We need to discuss everything from the past. The only thing that can help us is education, educating the young,” said Gusztav Zoltai.

Recent recommendations from the Education Ministry, for example adding authors known for their anti-Semitism during World War Two to the school syllabus, sparked protests.

While in Italy, police violently arrest refugees from war-torn Syria and African countries, the far Right government of Viktor Orbán in Hungary goes even further: NATO member state Hungary is bringing back the Berlin wall against refugees from NATO’s wars in the Middle East and Africa crossing the Hungarian southern border.

Well, Berlin wall … not really. The Orbán regime is planning something bigger: a ‘four-metre-high fence along the length of Hungary’s 175km [110-mile] border with Serbia’. The original wall between East and West Berlin was ‘only’ 140km long and 3.6m high.

Being staunchly anti-comnunist, Viktor Orbán won’t like comparisons to the Berlin wall. He would probably rather compare his construction to George W Bush’s wall along the United States southern border against refugees and other immigrants from Mexico, Central and South America. Or he might like comparisons to how his right-wing colleagues of the Partido Popular in Spain treat immigrants: by transporting ill African refugees in garbage trucks; by shooting at drowning refugees who had tried to reach Spain; or by razor wire fences wounding immigrants trying to climb them.

Viktor Orbán might even like comparisons to the wall separating Israel from occupied Palestinian territories. Though that might jeopardize Orbán’s cooperation with the Hungarian neo-nazi party Jobbik. Jobbik are such fanatical anti-Semites that they hate the state Israel, and even the most far right-wing Jew in Israel; contrary to other European far right extremists who, though being anti-Semitic, hate ‘Muslims’ and/or ‘Arabs’ and/or Africans even more fanatically, so may try to make deals with Israeli extremists.

On the other hand, Jobbik likes the billboards which the Viktor Orbán government is putting up all over Hungary, saying that immigrants ‘take away Hungarians’ jobs’. There is much poverty and unemployment in Hungary. A result of Viktor Orbán’s policies; not of immigrants. Maybe similar hate campaigns by the British Conservative government inspired Mr Orbán in this. With poverty everywhere, there is apparently enough money in Hungary for this hate campaign.

A hate campaign which includes Mr Orbán equating immigrants with terrorists. And advocating concentration camps for them, in which they would be forced to work.

Also, Viktor Orbán would like to bring back the death penalty. This is against European Union human rights rules. The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) in the European Parliament has condemned talk in Hungary of restoring the death penalty (which Orbán talked about, asked to do so by the Jobbik nazis). Nevertheless, in the Dutch affiliate of ALDE, the VVD, Patrick van Schie, the boss of the ‘scientific’ party bureau, wanted to bring the death penalty back. The death penalty had been abolished by the Dutch (then Liberal) government in 1870.

In Britain, Conservative Michael Gove – David Cameron’s new Justice Secretary – is on record as wanting to bring back death by hanging.

The question of the distribution of a few tens of thousands of refugees is increasingly becoming the subject of a bitter dispute between European Union member states. Some are now threatening to end the Schengen Agreement and its associated freedom of movement within the EU, and to reintroduce border controls: here.

Saudi air force butchering Yemeni refugees, again

This video says about itself:

Yemen: Sanaa‘s children protest Saudi-led campaign outside UN building

13 April 2015

A group of Yemeni children gathered outside the United Nations (UN) office in Sanaa, Monday, to protest against the continued Saudi-led airstrikes on Yemen. One of the children, Al-Kassim ibn Hussain, condemned the Saudi [royal] family as “filthy and corrupt” … Despite the ongoing fighting, protester Kassam al-Gharah swore to continue to smile to show that “we are not a people of hate or animosity”.

After the earlier refugee killing by the Saudi royal air force … translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Saudi Arabia attacks refugees in Aden

Today, 15:07

Warplanes of the coalition led by Saudi Arabia have attacked a refugee convoy in Yemen. Dozens of people have been killed. Reports estimate from 23 to 31 deaths.

Two air strikes targeted vehicles, in which were many women and children who had fled the southern city of Aden. There is much fighting there.

The United Nations say already almost five thousand people have been killed.

Stop European Union anti-refugee policies

This video from Italy says about itself:

Dramatic scenes as stranded African migrants flee Italy police

Italian police today (Tuesday June 16 2015) detained a handful of African migrants in the Italian city of Ventimiglia, near the French-Italian border.

Dozens of African migrants have been stranded for five days, after French police had blocked border crossings.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Italy: Police drag away refugees camped on French border

Wednesday 17th June 2015

REFUGEES camping on the Italy-France border were removed by Italian police yesterday as European nations failed to reach agreement on sharing responsibility for migrants.

Officers in riot gear dragged away dozens of African refugees at the Ventimiglia border crossing who had been demanding entry to France for five days.

Some of the migrants protested, grabbing on to signposts, while others had to be carried off by their arms and legs.

“We are human beings. We are not animals,” said Sudanese migrant Saddam.

“I know we are black and we are come from Africa, but we are still humans.”

Migrants squatting on the rocks where they had been sleeping were left in peace, but the rest were loaded onto a Red Cross bus and taken to the nearby railway station.

At talks in Luxembourg, EU interior ministers disagreed over how 40,000 new refugees arriving in Italy and Greece should be split up equitably among the EU’s 28 member states to ease the load on the two southern nations.

“We are working to avoid the political bankruptcy of Europe,” said Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano, adding that the scene in Ventimiglia was “a punch in the eye for those who refuse to see.”

His French counterpart Bernard Cazaneuve denied that France had closed its border.

“When migrants cross borders and it is established that they arrived in Italy, then it is only normal that they return to Italy,” he said.

Hundreds of Syrian and Iraqi refugees protested on Monday on the eastern Greek island of Lesbos, demanding better living conditions and faster processing of their asylum registrations.

This video from London, England is called No Military Intervention in Libya – Gigi Ibrahim | Stop the War protest, 12 March 2011.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Save empathy for refugees

Wednesday 17th June 2015

THE forcible arrest of refugees huddled on a stony beach on the Italian-French border yesterday was “a punch in the eye for those who refuse to see,” Italy’s Interior Minister Angelino Alfano says.

Alfano says he hopes talks with ministers from other EU member states will help “avoid the political bankruptcy of Europe.”

Some hope.

Since the 1985 Schengen agreement, which opened borders between core EU states but made it much tougher to gain access from outside the bloc, the institutions of the anti-democratic union have been geared towards creating a “fortress Europe” inaccessible to outsiders.

The Amsterdam Treaty in 1997 effectively criminalised asylum-seekers.

Things have got worse. So far this year almost 2,000 people have died at sea attempting to reach Europe – 10 times the number who died in the same period last year.

Most of those embarking on this desperate journey take ship from Libya.

It’s no wonder people are fleeing Libya for their lives – since Nato‘s blitz on the country four years ago overthrew the Muammar Gadaffi regime it has been torn apart by sectarian warfare, with thousands dying at the hands of religious fanatics.

Of course, Libya is also a transit point for refugees from other countries, because of its proximity to Italy. But if the number of refugees from across the region is rising the causes are not difficult to find. Not content with the carnage unleashed in Iraq and Libya, Western powers – Britain among them – have helped to equip and fund radical Islamists battling to replace Syria’s government with a nightmarish theocracy.

Arms and cash flow to these groups, sometimes from the United States and its Nato allies and more frequently from the autocratic butchers we’ve befriended in the Gulf.

The response from the Western countries setting the world alight to the people seeking safety from the flames is a disgrace.

Home Secretary Theresa May dropped British support for search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean last year, claiming that saving people’s lives simply encouraged people-traffickers.

Then Italy itself ditched its Mare Nostrum patrols, which had saved tens of thousands of lives, replacing them with a pared-down exercise that only operates in Italian waters.

Who announced this change? None other than a certain Angelino Alfano, ignoring warnings from Human Rights Watch and the European Council on Refugees and Exiles that this would see death tolls soar.

But that wasn’t a problem. At least, EU border agency Frontex chief Fabrice Leggeri was quite clear in April that saving drowning refugees was not his priority, telling a British paper that Triton – which replaced Mare Nostrum – “cannot be a search and rescue operation”.

EU interior ministers heading into talks yesterday have talked of the need to “show solidarity” with Italy and Greece as prime arrival-sites, although many dispute the idea that their own countries should agree to take in more “migrants” (never refugees).

Indeed, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve claims Italy needs to show “responsibility” by “organising the return of irregular migrants.”

We should rather show our solidarity with the children, women and men forced to risk everything to get away from murderous wars begun by our governments.

Save the Children CEO Justin Forsyth’s suggestions that Britain should immediately offer a home to 1,500 unaccompanied children who have landed in Italy would be a start, and help to counter a culture where immigrants are scapegoated, incarcerated and demonised by a ruling class determined we should blame anyone but themselves for this country’s problems.

Unless we abandon our addiction to military intervention, the world’s refugee crisis will never come to an end, writes JEREMY CORBYN: here.

Wars cause 50 million refugees

This video from Australia says about itself:

50 Million Refugees – Stop the Boats?

7 May 2015

A thought provoking video about refugees, boat people and Australia’s policy.

From daily News Line in Britain:

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

50 MILLION REFUGEES! – warns Amnesty

‘IN 2013, for the first time since World War II, the number of those forcibly displaced from their homes exceeded 50 million,’ warns an Amnesty International briefing published yesterday.

Its executive summary continues: ‘Millions more have since been displaced as a result of conflict and crises around the globe.

‘More than half of Syria’s population is displaced. Some four million women, men and children have fled the country and are refugees, making this one of the biggest refugee crises in history.

‘The vast majority, 95%, are living in the countries neighbouring Syria. In one country, Lebanon, Syrian refugees now account for one in every five people.

‘Despite the huge influx of refugees, the host countries have received almost no meaningful international support.

‘The UN’s humanitarian appeal for Syrian refugees was only 23% funded as of the 3rd June 2015. Calls by the UN for the international community to resettle refugees from Syria have largely fallen on deaf ears.

‘The total number of places offered to refugees from Syria is less than 90,000, only 2.2% of the refugees in the main host countries. . . While Syria is the world’s biggest refugee crisis, it is by no means the only one. . . . There are more than three million refugees in sub-Saharan Africa. Kenya is home to Dadaab – the world’s largest refugee camp, set up in 1991.

‘Yet, the refugee situations in African countries receive little or no global attention – in 2013, less than 15,000 refugees from African countries were resettled and UN humanitarian appeals are severely underfunded. . .

‘In an effort to escape desperate situations refugees and migrants risk their lives – one of the starkest examples is the perilous boat journeys in the Mediterranean from North Africa to Europe. In 2014 and the first three months of 2015, the largest number of people recorded attempting to cross the Mediterranean by boat to reach Southern Europe were Syrians. . .

‘The dramatic increase in the number of lives lost in the Mediterranean in 2015 is partly due to the decision by Italy and the European Union (EU) to end the Italian navy operation Mare Nostrum at the end of 2014 and replace it with a much more limited EU operation. . .

‘The Mediterranean and South East Asia crises exposed governments’ willingness to ignore legal obligations and humanitarian imperatives.

‘In situations where lives were known to be at risk and states had the means to save them, they chose not to act for political reasons. The lives lost were not a result of a violent conflict or an unavoidable natural disaster – most were entirely preventable deaths. . .

‘The global refugee crisis may be fuelled by conflict and persecution but it is compounded by the neglect of the international community in the face of this human suffering.’

Britain: On the day Cameron was spouting off about human rights, a report by the human rights group, Amnesty International, highlighted the fact that millions of refugees have been created with thousands of civilians dying as they try and flee the wars waged by the imperialist powers, including Britain, in the Middle East and Africa: here.

The global refugee crisis is more dire than at any point since the end of the Second World War, according to a report released yesterday by Amnesty International: here.