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Refugee Activists in Schwäbisch Gmünd on Civil Disobedience against imprisonment

“Residenzpflicht still means Apartheid”
“Lager still means elimination”

Refugees from Schwäbisch Gmünd on civil disobedience against imprisonment, Restriction of Movement and refugee persecution in Germany

Leke Aremu, Farook Khan, Raphael Paul, Frankline Ndam

We fled from persecution from our various home countries but still the same persecution continues in Germany. We refugees arriving in Germany are already criminalized at the borders by forceful finger printing before our names are even known.

Our political protest started in February 2014 when we discovered the violation of our privacy by being exposed to CCTV camera observation (Close Circuit Tele Vision) that had been installed at the entrance of the isolated refugee Lager in Schwäbisch Gmünd without prior notification. We sent an inmate delegate to the responsible authorities to let them know how we feel about the CCTV camera positioned opposite the entrance of the lager. We stated that it gives us the precarious impression to be held under surveillance control which makes us feel to be prisoners in fear and insecurity to scare us from Self-Organization in the isolated refugee Lager. But the district officials of Schwäbisch Gmünd refused to accept our demand for the removal of the CCTV camera.

Due to this reason, we decided to hold a one month strike from the 3rd of March to 11th of April 2014 with rallies and peaceful demonstrations against the CCTV Camera in the refugee lager, in the city center and at the district administrative office of Ostalbkreis in Aalen for public interest until our demand is met. Instead of negotiating the matter they involved the police to back up their refusal of mediation. We were brutalized by the city police who never was able to comprehend our own side of the story. During the demonstration on the 11th of April 2014 at 14:13 hour the police forces arrived and later attacked refugee demonstrators inside the Lager. Two of the refugees were bitten and injured by the police dogs and four of the refugees got arrested. They only were released after two hours due to the protest of the other refugees in front of the police station. At the same time the CCTV camera silently disappeared.

Our struggle continued by exposing all the different forms of persecution of refugees. That’s why we were humiliated and labeled as so called “trouble makers” by the administrative officials as to justify our criminalization and to target us as enemies of public order and security. Even our photos were published in the local newspapers. Since then we have been receiving many letters of accusations with the aim to stop our protest which led to further exclusion through a three month “stay away order” which banned us from entrance to the social administrative office in the refugee Lager. They set up false accusations of “duress/assault” (Nötigung) as to defame against our freedom to protest as well as to justify police brutality and the ignorance of fficials of the lager against the demonstrators. One of our activists was itten by a police dog released to attack without accountable reason is now till under charges to have prevented police officers from executing their duty although he was just defending himself from further injury. He received penalty order to pay 750 Euro. After he appealed against it, the local court (Amtsgericht) of Schwäbisch Gmünd reduced the fine to 300 Euro. Now the case is pending at the regional court (Landgericht) for retrial. The intention is to find out whether the superior court will still defend the harmful, irresponsible and unlawful action of the police officers against the refugee protest in the Lager in order to uphold the scandalous criminalization of the victims. This lesson we had to learn already from numerous murder cases of refugees like Oury Jalloh and others, who have been killed through the hands of German police officers.

After a Racial Profiling police control on the way to a political and media workshop on self-organized refugee resistance and anti-deportation struggles in Jena, 10 of us have been fined with 130 Euro and 50cent each for breaking the isolation of the notorious lager by intentionally violating the “German Residenzpflicht” – Apartheid Law that restricts refugees to administrative regions of residence denying their freedom to move freely in Germany.

In continuity of our political struggle we have been continuously maltreated and isolated by this apartheid law of so called “Residenzpflicht”. We were racially controlled by the police in the train and consecutively charged to pay fines and charges to the very system of our arbitrary repression. We refuse to pay this “penalty” because we see the “Residenzpflicht” law as an abuse of our basic human right to freedom of movement and from racist discrimination.

Since then, we have been receiving threatening letters of escalating scale as far as coercive detention with the last letter requesting to report ourselves to Ellwangen prison for three day confinement for a matter that we understand to be our basic right in Germany.

As refugee activists we translate this abuse of administrative and legal powers as deterrent expression of injustice, repression and mental torture affixed with the German asylum system.

These conditions make us remember the very dark times and continuities of German nationalist history back through fascist and colonial terror and genocides. We will not stop to stand and fight against the German mentality of supremacy by means of lager isolation, police brutality and abusive perversion of human rights against refugees. We did not flee from life threatening situations to be held again as hostages of exclusion and arbitrariness in the German apartheid and lager system.

- We refuse to pay fines for our rights

- We refuse to accept any imprisonment “in Silence”

- We refuse to accept any state persecution of refugees in Schwäbisch Gmünd and Germany

- “Residenzpflicht”-persecution is still going on – the so called “Abolition” is a devious lie

- We demand for life decided by our own in freedom and human dignity

- We call on everyone for solidarity

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Refugees from Schwäbisch Gmünd on civil disobedience