Stop security guard and police violence! Stop criminalizing refugees!
A dispute between Eritrean asylum seekers and security guards in the AnkER Centre of Upper Franconia (AEO) in Bamberg (Bavaria, Germany) on December 11, 2018 shortly after midnight was followed by a large-scale, brutal police raid involving 100 to 200 police officers and the Special Deployment Commando (SEK). According to the police report, nine asylum seekers were arrested. Pre-trial detention orders were later issued against four of them. The accusations by the public prosecutor are
severe: it investigates among other things because of attempted manslaughter and serious arson.
The police and the public prosecutor’s office describe the asylum seekers as extremely violent: Allegedly they first attacked guards, then barricaded themselves in a building, set fire to an apartment and threw cobblestones at police officers. The media uncritically adopted this depiction. Hardly any journalist took the trouble to talk to the victims on the spot and to check the information provided by the police.
However, talking to the affected Eritreans results in a completely different picture. They report that security guards attacked and severely beat them after a verbal dispute. This resulted in serious injuries, including broken teeth and a broken rib. The abuse by the guards continued even after the police had arrived on site. However, the police were not interested in the perspective of the asylum seekers, and simply arrested them.
The incident follows systematic security guard violence in the camp that is known to both to the Bamberg public prosecutor and the AEO management. They know that employees of the company Fair Guards and its subcontractors founded a so-called “special team” in the summer of 2017.
This team has been responsible for countless attacks against asylum seekers, especially Black men. Complaints by asylum seekers concerning these attacks to the AEO management and by former security employees against the main company Fair Guards have so far remained largely without consequences. Instead, the police and the prosecutor have criminalized the victims of such attacks in several cases.
Most reports on the December 11 police raid in Bamberg also do not mention that after the arrest of the Eritreans, the police carried out a brutal raid in other AEO buildings. Civil servants violently destroyed the doors of unlocked apartments and searched the rooms of completely uninvolved residents. They took eight asylum seekers from Nigeria out of their beds at 4 a.m., handcuffed them and drove them, some still half-naked, to the police station – on the unfounded accusation that they had participated in the dispute between the Eritreans and the guards.
We demand a complete investigation of the police raid on December 11,
2018 and a thorough examination of all the evidence in the Bamberg Security Complex.
We demand that the role and complicity of the security company Fair Guards, the camp management and law enforcement be investigated.
We demand an end to the constant police raids in the AnkER Centres that have no other purpose than to stage refugees as criminals and to intimidate them.
We call for journalism that allows refugees to voice their views.