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Repression against the Noborder Camp in Cologne, Germany

ab | 09.08.2003 16:48 | Anti-racism | Free Spaces | Globalisation | Repression | World

fluffy puppet in front of noborder camp Cologne The Noborder Camps have reached Germany. From 31st of July till 10th of august, the city of Cologne was "Out of Controll."
Many of the camps successfull activities to highlight institutional racism, worldwide and local oppression and opposing organised neonazis would have gone unnoticed, but the police repression on Saturday caused an international outcry and drew attention to the camp [pics 1,2,pics on IMC Istanbul,feature on Global IMC, feature on Italy IMC,IMC Poland, IMC Sweden,IMC Athens,IMC Paris,IMC Lille,collection of videoclips, see also Statewatch Report].
A Forum with discussions and workshops was accompanying the noborder camp. [invitation,program]
The next noborder actions are announced for Sept.11-14th when anti-rascist activists will be gathering in Nuremberg and Fürth.

For more information about the police repression and the activities at and of the camp, please read the entire feature.

Latest: The legal team has issued an appeal to the affected campers.

Sunday,10.8.2003: the detained campers are getting released, 50 managed to escape, the camp gets dismantled, solidarity demonstrations continue in Berlin, Munich, Freiburg,Kiel and Bochum

Update 11 pm:
First reports about solidarity demonstrations and actions in Frankfurt, Hamburg, Bielefeld, Cologne City Centre, Leipzig (with pics), Dresden,Göttingen, and a police station is blockaded in Wendland. In Bremen, the stage of the classical orchestra, Bermer Philharmonie, was stormed during a concert and read out their solidarity declaration.
More solidarity actions are announced for Sunday.
Timeline of events.

Breaking news Saturday 10.30 pm:
Around 360 people are brought to the police station because of refusing identity checks and pictures being taken.

Sat,9.8.2003, 11 am - 6 pm:
500 people at the Noborder Camp in Colgne are surrounded and cut off by police today. About 30 people were injured when batons were drawn and teargas fired against protesters, who wanted to stop the police entering the camp. [video]
17 campers were singled out and taken into custody.
The water was stopped for approximatley 30 minutes whileas temperature were rising to about 40 degrees, and the teargas causing severer burns in warm weather.
The telephone and internet connection was also cut twice.
Activists are calling for solidarity actions and demonstrations to protest against the police repression.

The police surrounded the noborder camp in Cologne today, to repress an antirascist demonstration against a neonazi march.
Imc Germany reports 2500 police surrounding the camp and calling for the protester to go to the exit and disolve the camp after searching and taking pictures and identities of everybody.
It is said, that the city administration has also withdrawn its permission for usage of the camp site.
Calls on are asking for supporters of the noborder camp to come to Cologne to protest Saturday night at about 11pm.

At about 6 pm BST, water cannons, heavy vehicles and riot police are being deployed by police in front of the camp.
Supporters of the camp have also gathered outside the camp.
Regular updates from the camp are held up by the camp's website.
More information: [1, 2]

The update on the global Indymedia at about 10.30pm states:

"Around 300 people in the camp are being brought tonight to the prisoners collection place in Cologne - Bruehl. These are the people who refused being id-checked and filmed/photographed.

Around 300 people in the camp are being brought tonight to the prisoners collection place in Cologen - Bruehl. These are the people who refused the identidy checks and their pictures taken. Up to 2.500 policemen were isolating the camp site for the whole day. Several watercanons and heavy demolition trucks are still present. The police built a fence around the resisting campers directly on the camp site.

The situation is critical for refugees on the camp, particularly if they are afraid of getting into conflict with german authorities because of their legal status.

The persons who agreed to get identified and filmed could pass a checkpoint to leave the camp. Police states, they might return around midnight.

This is the most severe repressive attack and criminalisation campaign of a noborder-camp in its long history. The police prejudiced 70% of the campistas as being criminals and dennounced the no-one-is -illegal network as a network of criminals.

In contrast to this repression, 60-70 Neonazis were facilitated to hold their demonstration against the camp, while the whole camp was "detained". "

Friday, 8th:
Demonstration and rally against the IOM (International Organisation for Migration) office in Bonn;

Thursday, 7th::
pictures of the demonstration in the inner city of cologne +++ live gig at the detention jail

Wednesday, 6th:
Day of action against deportations persued from the airports Düsseldorf and Bonn;

Tuesday, 5th:
Picture reports of the demonstration and rally against the Auslandszentralregister, loosely translated as "foreigners central registration office", in Cologne; demo got cordoned of by police and some arrests.

Pics of Sunny Monday: Ikea und Accor got visited and the role of these multinationals with the deportation business got exposed +++ gigs +++

Sunday, 3rd of august:
4 Videoclips +++ gathering and socialising at the Camp +++ continuation of forum with discussions and workshops

Saturday, 2nd of august:
Neonazi rally against noborder camp provokes first conflicts with arrests;start of the forum,700 people are at the camp; first collective walk through the local area to get in contact with neighbours.

Friday, 1st of August:
A demonstration against an organised neonazi and publisher.



Hide the following 3 comments

personal view

10.08.2003 17:43

I was at the NoBorder Camp in Cologne, when, while it was hot as hell (some 100°F) all the roads and pathways towards the camp site were blocked by the police for many hours, when they tried to get onto the camp site using brutal force (I was one of the people keeping them off the place, getting some bruises on my arms, but fortunately nothing more than that - other were not so lucky, the police even used tear gas and pepper spray) - and I was still there when we were surrounded by a massive wall of green-clad pigs with clubs, helmets, and shields, when the camp was evicted violently. Due to my fatigue and the hot temperatures, I decided to leave the camp site "voluntarily" instead of resisting till the last minute. A good friend of mine decided to stay with the others when I was led out of the area - he was arrested, but he has been set free by now.
The camp was a completely peaceful gathering of left-wing activists, hippies, eco freaks, punks, even some goths like me who had overcome their natural sunlight aversion. There were families with little children, and some refugees from all over the world. Many of those refugees were there illegally according to German law, therefore the attempt of the other campers to defend them with their own bodies, which was bound to fail due to the enormous number of the police and their brutality.
The local press dubbed us "a bunch of criminals and rioters", while in reality our only crimes were to provide some shelter for illegal immigrants and protest for their freedom of movement, which our German laws do not grant them, and to resist when the cop pigs tried to storm the camp. The large majority of the campistas kept very calm even under massive attack by the robocops (that's what we Germans call riot control units, due to the look of their body armour) with clubs, maces, pepper spray and tear gas, but a few people hurled small objects at the green-clad forces and masked their faces (which is illegal in Germany), which was afterwards taken by the police as justification and finally solitary reason for their actions.


statewatch report

12.08.2003 15:52

German police raid border camp and arrest 250 activists

The sixth German anti-racist border camp which took place in Cologne between 31 July and 10 August 2003 was raided by around 2,500 police officers a day before the official end of the camp.

On 9 August, the police encircled the camp, which had seen around 1,000 participants in 10 days of discussions and actions. They said that camp participants would potentially disturb the demonstration held in Cologne the same day by around 50 neo-Nazis. Police spokesmen claimed that around 70% of the camp participants were criminals.

Police were initially hindered from entering camp by around 500 camp participants, despite using tear gas and batons. The alleged legal basis for the raid was the police declaration that the camp was a "demonstration", then prohibiting it and arguing that all participants were therefore violating regulations on assembly (Versammlungsrecht).

In a siege lasting the whole day, the police cut off the water supply (despite temperatures of up to at 40° C, 100+ F) and telephone lines to the camp. The water was later restored after police were warned that they could be held liable for denial of assistance. Police then gave the camp participants an ultimatum: they could leave on their own accord after each individual's identity was recorded and a photo taken, or they would be forcibly removed and identified. A group of 300 people held on until the evening when, finally, around 250 people were arrested and detained in a nearby prison. The activists have reported heavy-handedness and several injuries; a legal team has been set up to record incidents and objects that 'went missing' during the police raid. Camp press groups have announced that to their knowledge all the detained have now been released.

In a press release (10 August 2003) Gerda Heck, one of the camp organisers, said:

"From the beginning, the police operation was excessive. There was constant filming, helicopters were circling in the air. The police systematically looked for any excuse to provoke and escalate the situation. The ultimate purpose for yesterday's attack was the identification and collection of biometric data (Video recordings) of all camp participants. The intention is to control and criminalise the anti-racist movement, they want to push us into the "troublemaker" corner. Yesterday, the anti-racists confronted the police at the entrance to the camp with banners. CS gas and the use of batons by police in battle gear caused numerous injuries.

Birgit - representative of the campaign "Kein Mensch ist illegal" [No One Is Illegal] " said: "This international meeting is a role model for many border camps all over Europe. The intention is to destroy our growing network. But out political movement cannot be intimidated by police state methods."

The police action is seen by camp participants and organisers as an attempt to criminalise the anti-racist movement in Germany and discredit the political message that the camp was conveying in the city of Cologne. The Cologne city council uses two boats for asylum processing in Cologne, one for newly arrived asylum seekers and the second as so-called Departure Centre. The latter houses around 200 asylum seekers, 88 of them children and most of them Roma, in inhumane conditions. Illnesses are rampant on the boat, with children being chronically ill and pregnant women suffering from early births and infections.

Small video clips of talks, demonstration, interviews with refugees and of the raid on the camp can be found under

Call for the camp (English):


beg to correct, elven master

12.08.2003 23:29

The formal reson was that ''crimes had been committed by campers on a daily basis'' and that a video cop had lost his camera to one who was visiting the camp and that the city council (Conservatives and Greens... those Cons taint everything they touch) revoked the agreement allowing to camp on the Poller Wiesen. Still, anyone who was there and knew the movie 'Brazil' had to have some flashbacks... the whole thing took 17 hours from the closing of the encirclement to the taking into custody of the camp people. still, after water was restored, we did have more fun than the pigs for sure, thanks to solidarity among us and not last our fabulous kitchen team!

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