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The '2nd Cravan for the Freedom of Movement'

category international | racism & migration related issues | news report author Wednesday June 28, 2006 18:42author by Mick Byrneauthor email mickbyrne at gmail dot com Report this post to the editors

59 activisits detained in the peaceful occupation of a Migrant Detention Centre in construction

Last Saturday, June 24th, as part of the '2nd Caravan for the Feedom of Movement' in Barcelona 57 activists peacefully occupied a Migrant Detention Centre in construction resulting in the arrest and detention of all particpants.

Last Saturday, June 24th, as part of the '2nd Caravan for the Freedom of Movement' in Barcelona, around 100 activists participated in the occupation of Barcelona's soon to be opened Migrant Detention Centre (Centro de Internamiento de Imigrantes). At around 10.30am approximately 57 activists (including participants from Italy, France, Germany and elsewhere) enetered the Centre, which is not yet operational, and peacefully occupied the building in order to bring attention to the new Center (which will replace and double the capacity of the current Migrant Detention Centre ´Le Verneda') before it opens. Spain’s' migrant detention centres have been widely criticised by human rights institutions and observatories as a legal 'black hole' in which detainees are held in custody despite having committed no crime expect that of wanting to live and work in a place where they haven't been born.

Around half an hour after the occupation began the police arrived, as expected by the organisers, and despite negotiating a peaceful end to the occupation ended up arresting and detaining all participants for three full days (the legal maximum). The detainees included two lawyers and two journalists who were working rather than participating in the action. Over the weekend a support campaign was mounted for the release of the detainees and on Monday afternoon (June 26th) the detainees were released one by one. The detainees were treated by the police as political enemies, being held in overcrowded overheated cells with little food, water or access to toilets. Having been released the participants await charges which may be of a serious nature.

The '1st Caravan for the Freedom of Movement' took place last November in Ceuta (a Spanish owned city in northern Morocco and the site of Europe's hyper-militarised border with Africa) to protest against the murdering of immigrants attempting to cross the border into Europe by Moroccan police in September 2005 (with apparent participation from Spanish forces) and to demand the end of the European border regime. The '2nd Caravan for the Freedom Movement' focused on Europe’s internal borders; police control of immigrants; detention centres; the constant fear of deportation; labour market borders which maintain immigrants in the black or highly precarious sectors of the economy; as well as the borders of racism and prejudice at all levels.

Apart from the occupations on Saturday morning the Caravan also involved the presentation of an activist-research project into the often invisible internal borders which immigrants confront on a daily level, the publishing of an activist produced 'Guide for Illegal Immigrants', a public demonstration in conjunction with several immigrant groups, and a pubic immigrant assembly in on of the main immigrant neighbourhoods (el Raval).

Despite the tragedy of such a large number of arrests, the potential serious charges for the participants and the abuse of power on behalf of the police, the '2nd Caravan for the Freedom of movement' represents a decisive step in the movement against the European border regime with all the human rights abuses, deportation and suffering that goes with it.

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