Inspiring article about No Border Camp in Bulgaria

Some months ago Bulgarian anarchists and anti-racists began an ambitious plan to hold a No Borders Bulgaria event close to an immigration detention centre on the border of Bulgaria, Greece & Turkey – on the very edge of the European Union. The camp that took place 25-29 August 2011 was supported by people from Greece and elsewhere in the Balkans and from Western Europe, coming together to oppose a system that sees thousands of people imprisoned in detention centres.

A participant in the No Border camp wrote to Resistance, “The camp was GREAT!!!!!! I have rarely experienced such a solidarity, organizational cooperation and purposeful political work at the same place in the same time [including] discussions around the newly militarized Bulgarian-Turkish-Greek border region starting 4 days before the camp itself, the workshops in the camp, the communication with the village community where the camp took place, the plenaries….to the big demonstrations in front of the headquarters of the border police in Svilengrad, at the two borders and along and in front of the detention center in Lyubimetz! Keeping in mind the small dimension of activism in Bulgaria […] everything exceeded my expectation and even hopes!”

Whilst the media focuses on Europe’s economic woes, the militarisation of the EU’s borders has continued. During the battle for control of Libya over the summer, it is perhaps conveniently forgotten that the Italian state, through an agreement struck with the regime back in 2004, transported over 1,500 migrants and refugees to Libya who had previously been detained in Italy. Libyan immigration detention centres in Al Kufrah and Gharyan (close to Tripoli) and Sebha (in South West Libya) are paid for by the Italian state.

Meanwhile, many people trying to escape repression in Sub-Saharan and East Africa are now in extreme danger, and some have been deported back to these countries from Libya. Others have continued to risk their lives crossing the Mediterranean Sea in small boats. Thousands have died. This is not to mention the hundreds of thousands of migrant workers who have fled during the conflict, now either trying to get back to their country of origin or seeking safety elsewhere. In Italy and Tunisia, refugees and asylum seekers have been confined in camps and transit centres for indefinite periods of time, their freedom of movement severely limited.

This makes the work of groups like No Borders Bulgaria all the more important. The EU’s member states are completely tied in with a system that treats people as a problem to be contained, even if this means paying a dictator to lock them up. Bulgarian and Greek anarchists have taken an important step in countering detention on the borders of Europe.

For more on No Borders Bulgaria, and the No Border camp, visit http://noborderbulgaria.org and http://noborderbulgaria.wordpress.com

Article originally published in Resistance, bulletin of the Anarchist Federation, issue 135, October 2011:
http://www.afed.org.uk/publications/resistance-bulletin/263-resistance-bulletin-issue-135-october-2011.html

Hip-Hop Benefit Night for Morton Hall at The Sumac Centre, Nottingham – report

On Monday, Monday October 17th 2011 a Hip-Hop Benefit Night at The Sumac Centre Featuring … Test Their Logik, Louis Cypher and Martin the Livewire took place.

Details: http://nottingham.indymedia.org/articles/2104

The benefit gig was to help support the Morton Hall Detainee Visitors Group.

Test Their Logik brought their empowering and inspirational hip-hop sounds all the way from Southern Ontario, Kanada AKA Turtle Island.

The Morton Hall detention centre was formally opened by immigration minister Damien Green on 1st June. Morton Hall was formerly a prison for female foreign national prisoners but has now been converted to an immigration removal centre for male detainees. It is run by HM Prison Service in collaboration with the UK Border Agency. Less than 30 miles from Nottingham it is the only detention centre in the East Midlands.

Demonstrations there are a chance to show solidarity with those imprisoned and to let them know that there are people out there who oppose the way that they are being treated by our inhuman and racist immigration controls.

Previous article about demonstration in July 2011:
http://www.nobordersnottingham.org.uk/regional-news-and-events/morton-hall-noise-demo-this-saturday/

No Border Bulgaria press releases

No Border Camp 2011 – first demos at the border crossings with Greece and Turkey: http://bulgaria.indymedia.org/article/38013

No Border Camp 2011 – Demonstration in front of the detention center in city of Lyubimetz
http://bulgaria.indymedia.org/article/38019

Photos
Protest in Svilengrad – http://bulgaria.indymedia.org/article/38011

Border protest – http://bulgaria.indymedia.org/article/38012

Detention centre demonstration – http://bulgaria.indymedia.org/article/38020

No-Border-Cats in Svilengrad – http://bulgaria.indymedia.org/article/38015

Camp news page – where more articles are being posted

http://www.noborderbulgaria.org/en/node/49

Blogs

http://a3yo.noblogs.org/post/2011/09/02/nobordercamp-bulgaria-2011-expectations-and-arrival/

http://a3yo.noblogs.org/post/2011/09/02/nobordercamp-bulgaria-2011-actions-in-svilengrad/

Other news articles

http://no-racism.net/article/3888/ (in German)

http://no-racism.net/article/3892/ (in German)

Mainstream press coverage

video of border protest – http://www.btv.bg/news/bulgaria/story/1315096031-Mladeji_ot_tseliya_ES_na_protest_sreshtu_narushenite_prava_na_bejantsite.html/

local papers

http://www.hsmaritsa.com/?option=com_content&catid=50&id=2149&view=article&Itemid=119&fontstyle=f-smaller
http://svilengrad24.info/news_details.php?nm=nv5194

http://svilengrad24.info/news_details.php?nm=nv5199

http://haskovo.info/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=18345&Itemid=2/

right wing daily

http://www.monitor.bg/article?id=304794

People Against Racism open letter denouncing coverage in the Monitor, and reprinted in some other mainstream media http://bulgaria.indymedia.org/article/38017

Blog critiquing media coverage http://networkedblogs.com/mdGBF?a=share&ref=nf

Local Municipality website coverage http://svilengrad.bg/index.php?sub=news&s=257

Borders of Bulgaria in the news Mainstream press coverage

http://www.noborderbulgaria.org/en/node/12

Morton Hall Noise Demo this Saturday – 23rd July 2011

This Saturday (23rd July) there will be a noise demo outside Morton Hall Immigration Removal Centre in Lincolnshire to express our disgust and anger against the opening of another new detention centre. We’ll be bringing a sound system, pots and pans and we encourage others to do the same.

We will meet at Nottingham train station at 10am to catch the train arriving at Swinderby at 11.10. The detention centre is 10 minutes walk from the station. If people are coming from elsewhere, we suggest meeting at the detention centre at 11.30. The address is Morton Hall IRC, Swinderby, Lincolnshire, LN6 9PT. We encourage as many people to get themselves down there with banners, placards and noise making materials.

Morton Hall detention centre was formally opened by immigration minister Damien Green on 1st June. The centre holds single men and has 393 bed spaces, there are already men imprisoned inside, and ongoing refurbishment work means that detainees will arrive in stages until the centre is finished in September. This is a chance for us to show solidarity with those imprisoned and to let them know that there are people who oppose the way in which they have been treated by the UK Border Agency.

No Borders Bulgaria Initiative with protest camp near Bulgaria/Greece/Turkey border in August

This very important No Borders initiative is operating at the edge of the EU with support from activists across Europe and from outside its expanding borders. Its political demands are detailed here:
http://noborderbulgaria.wordpress.com/2011/06/09/bulgaria-no-borders-camp-2011-political-demands-and-clarifications/.

Beyond Borders – Nottingham’s refugee week publication – help with distribution June 2011

Each year Beyond Borders, Nottingham’s Refugee Week coordinating group, creates a newspaper based on the theme of refuge and migration. The aim of the paper is to increase public understanding of issues relating to this topic and to highlight the positive contributions that refugees make to the economic and cultural life of the city.

The paper is very professionally produced and contains a varied selection of articles, some of them informative, some thought provoking, others moving and others entertaining. A copy of last year’s paper can be found here: http://en.calameo.com/read/0003033661f734f664a13.

15,000 copies will be published, and will be free for people to pick up and take home. We hope to reach a very broad audience, and are therefore requesting the help of groups and individuals to help us distribute the paper. We will be making it available in as many doctors’ surgeries, shops, hairdressers and churches as possible, however any additional assistance would be very much appreciated. If any groups have their own venues and are willing to display the paper please could they let us know and we will arrange for copies to be delivered. We can also arrange for copies to be made available at the Volunteer Centre.

Refugee Week 2011 will be 18th-25th June and will bring together a range of community events and activities, all of which will be listed in the paper. If anyone would like to get involved with distributing the Beyond Borders newspaper or helping with any other aspect of the festival please contact me, Juliet Line on 07903114248 or at juliet@culturebox.org

See also: Breaking Borders event – music, poetry, dance and more.

Protest on the day of Moreton Hall detention centre official opening – June 1st 2011

On Wednesday June 1st 2011 a noisy demonstration was held outside Morton Hall Immigration Removal Centre in Swinderby, Lincolnshire, expressing dismay, disgust and anger against the opening of another new detention centre. No Borders activists from Nottingham were joined by Campaign to Close Campsfield (Oxford).

Morton Hall was officially opened by immigration minister Damian Green. The centre, previously a prison, has space to hold single men with 393 bed spaces. There is ongoing refurbishment work at the centre, so detainees will arrive in stages until the centre is finished (due to complete in September).

Background:
http://ncadc.wordpress.com/2011/05/27/new-immigration-prison-official-opening-ceremony/
http://www.nobordersnottingham.org.uk/regional-news-and-events/new-detention-centre-announced-at-hmp-morton-hall-in-lincolnshire/

BREAKING BORDERS #3 – Saturday June 18th – Starting off Nottingham Refugee Week 2011

BREAKING BORDERS #3! Saturday June 18th. Launch of Refugee Week in Nottingham 2011!

In conjunction with Hyson Green Youth Club and New Art Exchange.

Come down for a spectacular evening of live music, dance, poetry, visual arts, information, international cuisine…and fun!

We will have an afternoon of FREE dance, music and arts workshops:

First at… New Art Exchange 2pm – 5pm including… Capoeira Brazilian Dance African Dance Drumming Scrap art
Then at… Hyson Green Youth Club 5.30pm – 7.30pm – Kurdish Dance African Storytelling Multi-cultural music

Then an evening of live performance…

BREAKING BORDERS 2011 8pm – 1am

Music

OGGA KATTALOG AND THE GENTLEMEN BANA – Afro-funk to get you dancing…
AISTAGUCA – Balkan Gypsy Wedding band
NGOMA – Zimbabwean sounds, Afro-pop fusion…
UNIQUE WORLD – International music collective feat. Sami Haque
LOUIS CYPHER – First Blood fam.
LOST PROPERTY – Local hip-hop collective
PETRICA BISTRAN – Acoustic Romanian sounds
BLACK FEATHER – Acoustic improvisations

Also live poetry from:

Takunda Chaurura Chingombe
Teodora Todorova
Petrica Bistran
Bessie Ndlovu

Dance…

Traditional Mongolian Dance – Gantuya and Khaliun

Also a range of international fresh cooked food will be on sale

There will also be art displays by local / international artists, information stalls, open mic, bar and other exciting things…

Come down!

Suggested donation: £2 (unwaged) / £3 (low-waged / students) / £5 (waged)

ALL EVENTS ARE FREE TO REFUGEES AND ASYLUM-SEEKERS

Barnardo’s role in Child Detention revealed

Does Barnardo’s legitimise child detention? By Frances Webber 17 March 2011, 10:00pm

“The children’s charity’s decision to work with the UK Border Agency (UKBA) in its planned short-term family detention facility has caused alarm among campaigners.”

See also: Barnardo’s to operate detention centre in which children will be imprisoned in ‘secure’ accommodation

Barnardo’s won’t lessen trauma of child detention

Why Barnardo’s is providing support for families at new pre-departure accommodation: http://www.barnardos.org.uk/news_and_events/current_news.htm?ref=67322