Hamburg, 18.12.2013. We would gladly like to take the opportunity to talk about violence because, as war refugees from Libya we have been victims of enough violence.
The brutal Nato-Intervention took everything which was dear to us. We have lost our families and lost everything from our former lives. We experienced violence on the Mediterranean and many of us lie dead at the bottom of the sea. The inhumane violence of injustice continued in Italy where we lived under physically and psychologically devastating conditions. Living on the streets of Hamburg, being called criminals, being denied basic human rights, being hunted down by the police like animals – this is also violence. What we need now is to heal from the violent traumatic experiences we have suffered, we need the opportunity to rebuild our lives.
So we would like to ask everyone to see violence in a broader perspective which brings all of us closer to the truth.
We members of the group LiHH and our supporters believe the best way to achieve our goals are through peaceful protests.
We gratefully acknowledge our supporters; women, men, students and even young school children who have come together to join us in common actions of solidarity. If it was not for the help of our supporters we would have died on the streets of Hamburg, but today Lampedusa in Hamburg has matured into a peaceful protest movement which now numbers of thousands.
We would like to emphasize that despite the large groups of people gathered at our demonstrations, there has been an absentation to commit crimes or acts of violence. This shows discipline, self control and power of our peaceful protest movement. Violence on the streets has not been done by members of Lampedusa in Hamburg. Violence appeared in reaction to state violence. People are frustrated by policies and practices of the state. We share the same frustrations, but we have different views about the best ways to achieve our goals.
It has happened repeatedly that we were made responsible for actions taken in our name, and asked to control or stop them. We want to make one point clear: It is impossible for us to enforce discipline amongst the various protesters. And also we find it strange that we should have to solve problems which we have not caused – these groups are part of German society, they express their anger as they have done all the time, and long before Lampedusa in Hamburg even existed. We refuse to be made responsible for their actions.
In the context of violence we have to make one more point. Parts of the government and the police apparently have an interest to bring violence into our weekly demonstrations. For the last three weeks, more and more police forces have been surrounding our peaceful protest. The last demonstration saw the police even bringing dogs which were aggressively barking at the protesters. Riot police were marching partly in physical contact with the participants of our last demonstration. We had to stop the demonstration to clear this escalated situation. On our way back one protester provoked by the aggressively behaving police dogs climbed over the fence set up by the police. Even though there was no threat to the dozens of police men and women behind the fence, the person was attacked by a dog when one officer released the leash. Bystanders protested loudly and the police reacted with
pepperspray and baton.
For more than seven months we have been demonstrating determinedly and peacefully. The police itself knows this best. But the senate still refuses our legitimate demands which are backed by thousands of citizens of Hamburg. Now it seems to us that the Hamburg government wants to distract the public view from our disastrous situation and our just struggle and instead to project an image of us being violent. Although it is they themselves who exercise violence on us by denying us to restart our lives. The intention to escalate our protests is quite clearly to make people afraid to join, to criminalize participants and to distract from the political content of our demonstrations.
We are sure that on our next Advents-demonstration on Saturday (21.12.) the provocations against our march would have again been increased by the massive police troops which are going to flow into the city in reaction to the big mobilisation for the defence of the left political center “Rote Flora”. We will not let them play this game with our protest. This is why we called off the demonstration and instead decided to only conduct a rallye at 12 PM at the protest tent. All supporters welcome!