Call for the demonstration in front of the new town hall on 23.10.18 | start: Richard Wagner Platz 4 p.m.
„Let’s make Leipzig a city of solidarity! – More safe harbours instead of anchor centers!”
It has now been more than 2 months since we were together in a great demonstration; hundreds of us, marching through downtown Leipzig, to fight for a Leipzig that is a safe haven for refugees. Since then we have collected hundreds of signatures for our petition and handed it over to the Leipzig City Council. The city’s willingness to directly accept people rescued from distress at sea will be discussed in the next council meetings on the proposal of the left-wing faction. For this reason, we want to publicly announce, once again, with a large demonstration in front of the new town hall how we as residents of this self-proclaimed solidary city expressly demand their obligatory readiness to be receptive of refugees. Such a declaration would be a further important wake-up call to the inactive Federal Government to finally end its complicity in the deaths in the Mediterranean as well as the criminalization and blockade of sea rescue. It would also be an important resistance and opposition to the inhumane asylum policy of the Saxony state government, which recently realised its own anchor center and deportation prison for innocent people in Dresden.
Since months, until today, the ships of Mission Lifeline, Seawatch and Sea Eye have been detained at Malta. As a result, according to UNHCR and IOM, countless people have drowned in the summer months. Furthermore, in September, according to reports by “Doctors without Borders” and “Alarmphone Mediteranee”, boats with dozens of dead have capsized and disappeared. At the end of September, the last ship remaining in the central Mediterranean, the “Aquarius” of the SOS Mediteranee and “Doctors without Borders”, was detained as a result of the authoritative operation of Italy – without resistance from the EU and Germany. Even though the rescue ships “Astral” of the Spanish NGO “Pro Activa Open Arms” and “Mare Jonio” of Sea-Watch have now arrived in the Mediterranean as a replacement, as a the only private rescue ships, they cannot alone monitor the entire expanse of the central Mediterranean. Therefore, the Mare Jonio’s mission also consists in collecting evidence of tragedies and testimonies of people rescued in order to further uncover the continuing suffering and death in the Mediterranean caused by the EU blockade of sea rescue.
Of the last 58 rescued from the Aquarius, Germany has agreed to take in just 15 people. In Leipzig alone, a capacity of 1400 places is currently available. In the last 3 years more than 80 million Euros were spent for unused initial reception centers in Saxony. While the EU states continue to let people drown and thousands of people on the Greek islands have to suffer from unbearable conditions in completely overcrowded camps, here remain solidarity possibilities unused.
Instead of working for sea rescue and safe escape routes, the Federal Government is negotiating new deportation agreements. In addition, there are debates on border control, safe countries of origin and anchor centers.
The latter are large initial reception camps in which refugees are to be held centrally for up to 24 months and deported by rapid asylum procedures. Bad living conditions, employment prohibitions, as well as constant control and fear of deportations characterize the isolated camp everyday-life. Nevertheless, following the example of the Bavarian deportation camps, Saxony is now officially operating an anchor center in Hamburger Straße in Dresden and intends to further expand it. Right next to it, people who have sought protection are imprisoned for up to 18 months in the deportation prison without any criminal offence.
These facilities and measures against the reception and protection of refugees deeply contradict our ideas of a society based on solidarity. After their flight, people need safe living conditions and prospects for the future. This includes an unrestricted right to participate in society. Therefore the common demonstration for the willingness of the city to receive should also be a clear indication against the detention, imprisonment and deportation of people in need of protection!
Several cities have already shown that they can stand against and oppose the prevailing policy of inhumanity and declare themselves as safe harbours. We too want to and can achieve this. In this way, Leipzig can actively advocate a change in the current asylum and isolation policy.
To accomplish this, let us go to the town hall together!
Let us realize Leipzig as a city of solidarity! More safe harbours instead of anchor centers!