1.8 Breaking borders in Basel

On the 31.7 around 7pm, we arrived in Freiburg, the Infoladen group from the autonomous center KTS welcomed us with a meal and introduced us to their project and center.

The following morning 1.8, which is also the national day of Switzerland, we drove to Basel and met with activists from the Swiss side of the border. We gathered at the green corner near Impulsiv Freizenter Weil am Rhein at Basler street. Here we hang our banners played some music and after an hour started the 500 metre walk towards the border; with the Demo-Samba-Group „Rhytms of Resistance“ playing and singing slogans, together with the bank we sang and shouted slogans. When we got to the border crossing a few refugees from the Swiss part of the border were standing there in solidarity with our action.

We read a speech and flew some big baloons attached with a message „RISE UP against borders“. We had some smaller baloons written in different languages and messages which some women and children went near the border at the other side of the street to throw into Switzerland. This was difficult because the traffic was heavy and the police were stopping us from crossing the road. Inspite of this, one courages refugee woman managed to sneak through the border and walked 20 minutes inside Switzerland, she came back after her telephone network did not work any more because she was afraid of being out of communication with the group.

After an hour we went back to the starting point, here we ate food together which was prepared from the Swiss group and after some music, also live from the swiss rapper KimBo, we left Weil am Rhein around 4pm to our sleeping places in Freiburg.
Here you find a TV report of the action and here you find a report with pictures of the action

On the 2.8, some of us went to the nearby lagers to mobilise women for the empowerment workshop and to talk to the women who live in these lagers. Some of the women told us that they have been in these lagers for the last 7years, some of them are families whose children were born in the lagers.

The workshop took place in the afternoon and had over 40 participants, some of them came from the first receiving center in Donaueschingen (2 hours away!), others from Weil am Rhein und Lörrach; refugee women we had met on the demo the previous day and invited to the workshop.

The women were talking about diferent probems:

  1. Many of the refugee women and their families are traumatized by the fear of being deported to the countries where their finger prints are. One woman shared her story about her husband who recently had committed suicide due to deportation stress and trauma.
  2. The women said how difficult it is for them to organize themselves especially the few active ones since they have the council office and women café but they are more in need of support.
  3. The lawyers that they have been seeing haven’t been of help, thus they have been paying these lawyers a lot money.
  4. Health problems were also issues they suffer and no proper treatment.
  5. Housing and documents issues.
  6. Racism and discrimination is also a big problem facing them.

Facing all the problems we are open to support the refugee women there in building up their own group and continue networking with them.

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