Amsterdam’s Protest Camp evicted and church squatted

Netherlands, 7 dec 2012

Three month old migrant protest camp Osdorp/Amsterdam evicted – 96
undocumented arrested, 86 released, 1 deported -; followed by big church
squatted for continuation protest in western suburb of Amsterdam; protest
camp in The Hague threatened with eviction.

Photo report of eviction:

Photo report of Flight church:

Amsterdam's protest camp eviction

The migrants in protest demonstrate against the Dutch way of treating
rejected refugees. Since 2010 asylum seekers from countries – like Somalia
and Irak – who have been rejected are no longer entitled to basic rights
such as shelter and food. Even when it is impossible to return to their
countries of origin, the Dutch government argues that they can leave
voluntarily. Denying them access to reception centers, putting them in
prison and forcing them to survive in parks, railway stations and insecure
hiding places, that is the way to convince them to leave this country. In
the first half of 2012 4.680 asylum seekers have been dumped on the street
without any life support. The self-organized action by the refugees have
highlighted a humanitarian problem that has been growing for years and was
hidden from the public eye. The Osdorp camp was the 4th in one year with
as biggest the 400 migrants camp in Ter Apel May 2012 that ended with a
violent eviction by mass police force.

Now these people have made themselves visible and seek solutions by
entering in dialogue with civil society and democratic representatives. To
realize their aims they need to be together, safe and visible. Apparently
the authorities want to make them disappear again. The only offer is for
some of the refugees to go for 30 days in dispersed shelters for homeless
people. After that they would again be on their own, insecure and

Our life is in danger. On their blog, the refugees that camp out in
Amsterdam declared: “We are here because our life is in danger. There are
many reasons for this. War is the most important one. There are several
armed conflicts in Africa that cost many lives, disrupt families and
livelihoods. Political violence and oppression, religious division,
problems between tribes and clans add to make solutions complicated.
Drought, famine and other economic factors also push people to find a
better future elsewhere. All these cases are inter-related. We can see
this in the extremist movements. They make life impossible for you if you
do not conform to strict rules. Having a drink can cost you your life.
Being a member of another tribe, or of another religion, can bring you
into deep trouble. So we are here because we face persecution and danger
in our countries. We need to be in the Netherlands because this country is
a free country where our lives are safe and we could build a future. “ We
want your help. We want to get out of this situation. We want your help,
not just with food and drinks, but with the broader issues. Help us with
publicity, be creative: think about how you could help. Whether you’re
politically active, or a journalist, everyone can help in their own way.
We have 5 representatives you can talk to, to explain our situation.”

They fight not only for the migrants that are rejected citizens but cannot
be deported. It is a struggle for all migrants who instead of being
welcomed, are put away in asylum centres, detention centres or they are
left to their fate without care, without housing without prospect of a
decent existence. The approximately 100 refugees demonstrating in the
Osdorp camp were determined to stay where they were and face the police
force and subsequent detention. They called on people to witness and
support the protest at the eviction. “We call for witnesses, observers and
comapssionate citizens to join and demand the right to live for all who
are here.” Some 80 activists and supporters blocked the entrance to the
camp for the police on the eviction day on the 30st of november, were
dragged away one by one. The police could not convince the migrants to
leave the camp voluntarily and so 96 migrants were arrested. Some 86 were
released in the same night after the camp was gone. Most were Somalians
who cannot be deported and because of this cannot be detained. Eight
persons from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Yemen, Mauretania, Ivory Coast, Somalia
and Kenya are still in detention. One man from Armenia has been deported.

A couple of days later the Student Squatting Group occupied the church.
After the squat the protestant church declared itself solidair with the
refuge church. It protested against the fact that the migrants from the
Osdorp camp were arrested and put on the street without being able to
leave the country and without having any right for housing or income. The
protestant church gives the protest chuch juridical and financial support.

Description of political background in the NLs:
The moral sadism of the Dutch State
Markha Valenta, 4 December 2012

Desperate to eject some refugees it does not want, the Netherlands is
refining the art of radical deprivation. No single step, no single
decision, no single action in this process is horrible. Yet the cumulative
effect is grotesque.

Some months ago, a group of refugees from East Africa and the Middle East
protested loudly against the Dutch state’s refusal to grant them legal
residency despite the fact that they are stateless. They set up a tent
camp outside the asylum centre where they had been rejected. They asserted
that this was a political statement, not a request for humanitarian
hand-outs. They refused to be helpless and needy;…. read more:

The squat and build-up of the church:
This is our story.

On Friday, 30 November a group of approximately 100 asylum seekers was
ejected from their tent camp in Amsterdam Osdorp. With nowhere to go, the
refugees took to the streets. In the following days, they were received by
various Amsterdam citizens from all walks of life in a spontaneous act of
hospitality. Meanwhile, a team of activists looked for a new home for the
asylum-seekers. This new home has been found.

On behalf of the asylum-seekers, on Sunday, December 2nd the student
faction of The Amsterdam Squatters Movement (Studenten Kraak Spreekuur)
occupied the St. Joseph Church in the Bos en Lommer area of Amsterdam
…. read more:
Plantage Doklaan 12
1018 CM Amsterdam
tel 020-3795236

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