Press release by Copwatch Hamburg on the International Day against Police Violence on 15.03.2019 and the racist police action on 14.03.2019 in St. Pauli Hafenstraße
As part of the International Day against Police Violence, actions focusing on racist police violence took place in several German cities on 15 March. The actions were organised by an alliance consisting of the campaign for victims of racist police violence and the local Copwatch initiatives.
In Hamburg, a loud demonstration with around 400 participants took place under the motto “Stop racist police violence! “Abolish dangerous places”. The demonstartion walked around by the so-called “dangerous place” St. Pauli. Martina Vega of Copwatch Hamburg states: “Especially in the so-called “dangerous places” in Hamburg, people of African descent and People of Color are checked every day under the pretext of fighting drugs. This criminalisation and stigmatisation of neighbours and visitors inside the district has nothing to do with drugs, but with racism”.
At the demonstration, activists from the African Terminal, the initiative in memory of Yaya Jabbi, Asmaras World, NINA – womeN IN Action, the performance group ARRiVATi the memorial initiative Semra Ertan, Lampedusa in Hamburg, Kan Kilin, the choir St. Pauli Pearls as well as residents who were affected by racist controls spoke and performed.
For example, an activist from Asmaras World, who teaches German in St. Pauli – among others in the “Solidarity Room” of the Kan Kilin Group – reported: “Young people who try to educate themselves in the afternoons are controlled on their way to us. And for what reason? Because they look different! I also, accompanied by two young people, was controlled on the way to a meeting. The reason: “There is a drug problem in St. Pauli”. Someone asked what this had to do with those of us affected by the check. “Yes, what do they look like?” was the answer of the police.
Two activists of the African Terminal read from their statement “Black Lives Matter, St. Pauli: Stop the racist police controls”: “Since spring 2018 no less than 60 officers of the so-called Taskforce have been on duty, allegedly to make St. Pauli drug-free. In reality, however, it is the bonds of solidarity between local networks and refugees that are attacked by the police. Black people can no longer use the streets of St Paulis as public space. That must stop now.”
Last Thursday, for example, several people of African descent who were in the public space around the Hafenstraßen, Hamburg were detained, searched and arrested for hours by around 100 policemen/women. As it turned out later, this was already a long-planned action of the Hamburg police in cooperation with the ‘Ausländerbehörde’ and the Gambian government. The arrested, people from Gambia, but also from Guinea-Bissau, were brought infront of a Gambian delegation. The delegation was flown into Hamburg especially for this proceeding. The aim was to prepare the deportations of the people coincidentally catched on the street by the police.
One person affected by this racist action reported later on: “However, it did not end with the control and arrests in the afternoon. In the evening, other black people were checked on the streets and taken to the police station. The aim was clearly to bring as many people as possible infront of the Gambian delegation. They tried to make us talk with false promises like the prospect of a work permit or a better life in Germany and threats not to give back the items they had confiscated from us before. They also insulted us in Mandinka so that we should react. The aim of the Gambian delegation is to make us speak in whatever language and to assign through this our origins by accent in order to issue us with Gambian papers with which we are to be deported.”
A neighbour who was present on Thursday afternoon and witnessed the police action stated: „Currently, more people are to be deported to Gambia, although the situation is neither economically nor politically stable and those affected have no perspectives there. This new kind of cooperation between the various authorities shows that the fight against drug trafficking is only an excuse for implementing the European policy of isolation. The deads in the Mediterranean and on the flight routes are one side of the inhuman European refugee policy, the systematic withdrawal of rights of refugees in all the countries of Europe and the increasing deportations is an other.“
We will continue to be habituate to what happens infront of our houses and refuse to normalise racist conditions. Stop the racist police actions in our neighbourhood – and everywhere! Our express solidarity is with those affected! Stop deportations! Migration is not a crime! Right of residence for all!
#15MRZ #CopwatchHH #norphh