Support No Border Ventimiglia! Freedom of Movement is everybody’s right

Ventimiglia has been ac8aced1a-5c83-44d3-bdcd-a93a4857d46e site of permanent political struggle since summer 2015. After weeks of increased repression and evictions, the No Border struggle has send a call for financial support. The group needs funding in order to get the necessary supplies to relaunch our struggle supporting the freedom of movement and get a solid base for No Borders in Ventimiglia.

A camp formed outside the railway station was evicted a few days ago and since then about 200 people have taken shelter in a nearby church. In the past days, the police have been conducting racist raids throughout the city to hunt down migrants and deport them to Italian hotspots, severe beatings and other violence are being reported by migrants who have been taken to police stations, No Borders was evicted from their space and more supporter activists have received an official ban from returning to the area.

Support needed! Any amount will help!

The struggle for free movement is currently in dire need of funds in order to relaunch their struggle and counter the current wave of repression! We need to fund the space for our ‘freespot’ (in opposition to the ‘hotspots’) so we can have a safer space with a warehouse and office to organise resistance; we need more documentation of police violence to counter their racist repression; and we need means to more effectively support demonstrations that happen at least every week in Ventimiglia.

About No Borders Ventimiglia:
The No Border Camp of Ventimiglia started on the 11th of June 2015, when a group of migrants moved on the rocks in order to resist the police eviction and identification and to continue to struggle for their freedom.

We believe in freedom of movement: everybody should be able to move to wherever they want, whenever they want and for whatever reason they want. Whether crossing the Mediterranean, from Lampedusa to Calais or in Greece, people are risking their lives in search of safety; all across Fortress Europe, thousands have been killed by the border. But despite the theoretical existence of a Schengen Area without internal borders, in reality freedom of movement is not so simple in Europe. The number of internal border controls is continually increasing and at the border of France and Italy, many migrants who recently succeeded to make it across the Mediterranean then found themself stuck as they tried to continue onwards.

Since the No Border Camp, solidarity networks from different territories have been working to build a permanent laboratory of resistance to the repressive politics we see in action at the borders. On their way from Lampedusa to Calais, passing through Ventimiglia, migrant people do not have freedom in their everyday life and are not free to move around Europe in search of a life beyond merely surviving.

The No Border Camp has hosted different collectives and individuals coming from different backgrounds, but who all have in common the desire to oppose the discriminatory logic of power and to fight for their freedom of movement, not only for migrants but for all those people that are suffering from the restrictions of freedom.

Recent Situation: Repression, Raids and New Evictions
The camp was evicted last September and since then the No Borders group decided to rent a place in Ventimiglia in order to make it into a point of reference for activists and for migrants; something like the info-point in the Calais jungle. They call it “freespot” in symbolic opposition to the system of hotspots, situated in the south of Italy and in Greece islands. Given the fact that the local (banal and conservative) newspaper started to cover the issue of migration in Ventimiglia again, as it does every spring, the No Borders started to experience some pressure from the neighbourhood and from the police at the “freespot”.

One day the police arrived with the Boss of the Carabinieri and a big van of firepeople to prevent people from cooking inside for the migrants at the station (this is because the major in Ventimiglia made it against the law to distribute food at the station, which is the place in which migrants were pratically living without any kind of support). Once inside, a police man with a camera started to waste the camera’s storage filming some carrots on the table. The story ended with pressure from the owner of the freespot: he didn’t renew the contract of the place after the 15th of may. In one week we had to find a new place, move from the previous and face the arrival of the Interior Minister in Ventimiglia.

About a month ago the Interior Minister arrived in Ventimiglia and said that by the 15th of May the Red Cross center had to be closed and all the migrants in Ventimiglia would be forced to give their finger prints and be deported to hotspots. And this more or less happened.

The center has been closed. Not that it makes much of a difference – The Red Cross center was accessible only for the people who left their fingerprints in Italy, but in Ventimiglia nobody wishes to do this. That’s why all the migrants stayed around the train station and the Red Cross center was already useless by itself.

What’s more, we have seen the use of more and more force on migrants: they have been taken to the station, brought to police stations and beaten there – seriously BEATEN. We saw the signs on their body. One guy went to the hospital because he drank the ink used for taking fingerprints. A policeman squeezed the testicles of another person. 50 migrants have been deported to a hotspot in Trapani from the airport of Genova and with the airplane of PosteItaliane.

Dramatic, but this was just a show. Not all the migrants have been deported because the system of internal deportation is not sustainable (see the XXmiglia blog for more exhaustive info on this).

Starting a few weeks ago, a small camp started again under a bridge near the station and there have been demonstrations in the center of XXmiglia and more migrants are coming since it’s impossible to truly stop a movement.

However, the police ordered everyone to leave the camp by last Sunday, May 29, and it has now been destroyed. On Monday, the city became militarized with raids hunting down migrants taking place at the station and other points throughout the city, with those caught being sent away to centers throughout Italy. Some migrants were able to stay in a nearby church.

The limits of these days are obvious. The Catholic Church and the Red Cross are continuing to shift the public discourse to that of needs, avoiding the central question, that of the border and its closure and seeking not to denounce violence and deportations. For the police the day was all too quiet, with two hundred persons protected by the church, while they raked the streets to take migrant in small groups and those waiting / and arriving at the station.

But possibilities remain. People sought refuge in the church to escape deportation and have been in a permanent assembly for the past day. The government’s strategy is a failure, there is no doubt about this, and people continue to arrive in Ventimiglia and to burn the border every day.

Why We Are Asking for Support:
We are trying to relaunch our campaign for the freedom of movement and need financial support to get back on our feet.

Together with all this, the financial situation of the No Borders group in Ventimiglia is really weak. There is – for now – no flow of donation as there was last Summer. It is getting more and more difficult to raise money from social centers in other cities given that in the cities we are also facing also a great repression and constant evictions.

The group needs funding in order to get the necessary supplies to relaunch our campaign supporting the freedom of movement and get a solid base for No Borders in XXmiglia. Among other things, we need money to repair our colective car, to rent a new social center, buy generators, tents, sleeping bags, cameras (for documenting police violence), tools and more.

Crowdfunding for Financial Support:
For More Info and New Updates (in Italian):
Some information on the raids in French: