[Germany] Ellwangen and Donauwörth – two symbols for solidarity protest

Selforganized Migrant Protests, Police Raids and Random Prosecutions in German Refugee camps

In German Refugee Camps – especially in the very big initial registration camps – selforganized protests are happening on a daily basis. The people are demonstrating for better living conditions or acceptable food. Also, there is a lot of protests against the German asylum system, which is constructing unbearable situations for many Migrants, who are held in a state of structural paralysis, not being able to organize their lives or move autonomously. During large parts of the asylum process, they are forced to live in camps, not allowed to work, not allowed to cook on their own, only given very little money – actually less than what the German state defines as humane.

One of the biggest issues is the constant threat of deportation. Police is breaking into private rooms on a nightly basis, screaming and using physical violence in order to find people whom they want todeport. By now, many court decisions are confirming that such police operations are violating §§13 of German constitution which ensures the inviolability of the home.

The Migrants often oppose attempted deportations and police raids with protest and resistance. In Osnabrück, early summer of 2017, 200 people had to live in self organized camps in order to prevent deportations on their own. They installed observing shifts every night, so that people could see when the police approached. As soon as they saw a police car approaching, they blew a whistle that woke up everyone in the camp. All together they went outside and blocked the entrance. Police was not able to find the person they wanted to deport. With this method, they were able to prevent uncountable deportations. Cops did not succeed to enter the camp for more than 100 days.

In line with the ongoing worsening of the German asylum system, Migrants are more and more criminalized. Protests similar to that one in Osnabrück are often followed by a right media shitstorm and even more repression by the state. In some cases, even when people did not protest collectively, police and media simply make up fairy tales about mass actions, violence and resistance against police to justify massive raids and arbitrary attestations of Migrants.

In March 2018, police entered in the initial registration camp in Donau-Wörth, Bavaria, for deporting one person. The man was neither in his room, nor in the camp. Nobody resisted the police, some people simply argued that the police had no right to wake random people in the middle of the night because they searched a person. A fire alarm started.

The next day police raided the whole camp with 200 cops using physical violence, CS-gas and pepper spray. They randomly arrested 32 people, 30 of them were held in custody in isolation for 2 months, charged with disorderly conduct, bodily harm, assault and resistance against police. Some of the people were directly deported from prison to Italy. 7 persons succeeded in filing complaints against their penalty orders, 3 of them were deported, nevertheless. In November 2018, the first court case against 2 of the Migrants took place. The jury had to admit that there is no evidence for violent resistance against police. In spite of everything, the accusations were maintained. The accused people will take the case to the next instance.

Another case happened in April and May 2018 in an initial registration camp in Ellwangen, Baden-Würthemberg. In the middle of the night of 30th April, Police wanted to deport a person to Italy. When he refused to enter the police car, 30-40 people got aware of the situation and went outside to protest in solidarity with him, discussing with police about the inhumanity of the Dublin System. More and more people joined the protest and together they succeeded in stopping the deportation.

4 days later, a large-scale operation of 500 cops disturbed the whole camp. They broke in and raided several private rooms even though they had no order from the court. Thus, the whole operation was illegal. German rightwing people afterwards made up a story of violent protest by hundreds of Migrants attacking police. That story was copied by the mainstream media, legitimizing the excessive, unnecessary and illegal police operation, which actually had the single aim of criminalizing the Migrants. This criminalization peaked with 25 penalty orders against Migrants. Several people were put into custody. Many filed complaints against this penalty order. One person was released after 3 months of custody after having been acquitted finally of the charge of having attacked police. Another person was condemned to imprisonment of 6 months without probation because police asserted that he was hitting one officer 3 times against the helmet. With this case, the state wanted to set a deterring example for all Migrants protesting against deportations and police brutality.

The trial of 3 more people should have been in March 2019, but it was repealed as the court told the prosecution to do more investigations.

The two presented cases depict the arbitrariness in which police and state operate for criminalizing Migrants. Also, they are perfect examples of racism and racial profiling police is using on a daily basis, because all arrested Migrants are Black and police arrested them randomly because of their skin colour.