Kehl – Strasbourg: report of the first two days of the March 2 Freedom

Nieuws, gepost door: JK op 20/05/2014 05:11:11

Wanneer: 20/05/2014 - 22:49

1 PM Sunday May 18, Kehl – We came running, 26 people from Freedom Not Frontex NL, refugees from We Are Here Amsterdam and sympathizers, all of us activists against the borders, the fortress of Europe. We came running, and we just made it in time after a 7 hours bus drive to this small town on the German side of the river Rhine.

On the bridge to Strasbourg

Here, the river is the border, but it’s not as deadly as the human made borders, and we were about to cross that border, with about 300 people that were already gathered in a manifestation in front of the train station of Kehl. They started walking as we approached and we joined them just in time, unfolding our banners and joining in the singing ‘Ooolalaa Ooolelee refugees are welcome here’.

The spirits were high, expectations uncertain. What would happen the moment we set foot on the French side of that border? None of us was carrying any papers. We were a large group of people without identification, in solidarity with those who are undocumented, without rights. I realized then and now that this will never make us equal, no matter how hard we want it. We can leave our passports at home, but we will not leave our status behind, nor will the refugees suddenly gain status. An outrage that is, it is the one we are fighting. However, it is a statement to make: not to carry our passports.

We walked onto that bridge, excited. It was the amazing beginning of the March 2 Freedom. So many people united for freedom of movement. To me, this is the ultimate no border action. There is no place as relevant to fight the borders as on one of them. No Borders, no nations, stop deportations! Singing, chanting, yelling, we walked until right at the middle of that bridge and then stopped. Some people spoke of the struggle, of the right to exist, in different languages, powerful, strong, determined, anyone could feel that, and with this, the language barrier was broken as well. We could all feel it as one of the speakers asked for a moment, a minute, of silence, for all those that didn’t make it in to the Fortress of Europe, or made it, and then were victimized inside Europe. A moment of silence for all those drowned in the Mediterranean Sea, suffocated in the back of a truck, died of any of the many causes, by starvation, suicide, untreated illnesses, by barbed wire and camera’s, by fences and prisons and deportation, that are the result of Europe’s border control, the works of Frontex and Eurosur.

We all sat down. And it was quiet. Not a word was spoken. Banners laid down on the asphalt of the bridge. A lot of us must have thought of someone they once knew, a person searching for a better life, the right to exist. Someone murdered by the European Union, it’s politics, it’s parliament that meets once a month in Strasbourg, the city on the other side of the river. That moment of silence, I thought of a man I once met, shortly before he was coerced to leave the Netherlands, not awaiting deportation and hoping to find his wife. There had been a goodbye meeting and I’d been invited. I will never forget that moment, that man, that one night of goodbyes. Years later he was murdered in Kabul, Afghanistan. Another victim.

And then we got up. We started walking. To cross the border. It was powerful. The silence turned into a massive cheer as we entered France, like a victory. We did it! We crossed the border. This may not be the high fenced and barbed wired border of Ceuta or Mellila, but we did cross it and no authorities were standing in our way. Surely, permission was given to demonstrate from Kehl to Strasbourg, but that did not automatically mean that entering France was allowed without any identity checks. without demanding to see those damn papers we do not want to need. But we were not surrounded. We were not checked. Police kept at a distance. And we continued into Strasbourg, into French. It is hard to believe that by crossing a bridge laws have changed, language is no more the same. But we were there and Strasse became Rue and slogans were yelled in an even larger variety of languages. “Feuer und flamme der abschiebe behörden!” “Liberté pour les Sans Papiers!” And a lot more. We were one, and we were heading for the city center of Strasbourg.

It was a long demonstration. Every now and then we sat down somewhere and there were speeches. It turned out that at the same time there was a marathon in Strasbourg. Some streets were guarded by French riot police. No entrance there. They look pretty heavy duty and someone called them cockroach cops because they carry their protection armor on the outside of their uniform. Seriously, they were standing heavily packed and in the 30 degrees Celsius heat of Strasbourg! To protect what from whom? Even right in front of the museum of modern and contemporary art. Was the art to be safeguarded from us?
Right behind the museum the demonstration ended. There was music and time to relax. That same night there was a theater play. I missed that one. We set up tents near the place where we have all been eating and slept before midnight.

Monday May 19, Strasbourg – Another hot day but even more: another day of action. We went to a ‘centre de retention’, a detention center outside Strasbourg. Two high fences separated us from the incarcerated refugees inside. It was a small camp. From the outside the cell blocks looked like houses, there was a yard in the middle. Quickly upon our arrival, in response to our banners and slogans and our waving people came out. They were mainly men. Since I only speak Dutch and English, I could not talk to them myself, they spoke French, Italian, Arab. Some people managed to get in touch and have a talk. Guards nervously watched us from behind their secure fence. At some point for some reason it seemed possible that people could go in and visit, but the demo had to end and those who could not visit because they did not have an ID with them had to keep a distance. That meant the end of the demonstration. We discussed this, and many people considered this an opportunity to be able to make more contact, to write down the stories of the people inside. Some people were going to a nearby Roma camp (I don’t know how that ended).
How could we be so naïve… Some of us left tot go to Strasbourg. Since I still had no papers whatsoever on me, I left as well. On our way back we saw a little beach with a lake. Right behind the center it was. We were wondering how anyone could enjoy it, knowing that very close to that lake there was that center.

We went back to Strasbourg. There was another action going on by that time, and we wanted to see if we could still join that. Later on we heard that after all, nobody got in the detention center to visit. One person was let in, searched and frisked and sent back out again. People have been talking with the refugees through the fence though. The refugees are being held there for 45 days and then either released or deported. There was one woman inside that had to shower with the men. The showers were only cold water. That doesn’t matter on a 30 degree day, but in the winter it is cold as well… Someone wrote down a lot more. The stories will come out!

The other action was on a square called Place Kléber. The List of 17306 documented refugee deaths through Fortress Europe, dated 01/11/12, was rolled out over the square. It reached all the way from one side of the square to the other…
You can download the list here:
The list is not complete. Only recently lots of people died in the Mediterranean Sea, and people will continue to die as long af Frontex and Eurosur have not been burned down to the ground.

On the place Kléber, named after some French first World War hero, represented by a large statue on the middle of the square, colorful slogans and drawings were made with chalk, again in many languages. Activists were sitting in the shade. I added ‘Liberté pour les sans papiers’ to the pavement. People were passing by, walking over the slogans and drawings, passing by the list of deaths. It’s a sad thing to observe, but nevertheless the day ended in high spirits, as some refugees started playing and singing ‘Get up stand up, stand up for your rights’. We all know: this is a battle that will not be won in one day, or one week, one month, or one year. But things need to change, sooner or later.
As most of us from Freedom Not Frontex left that same night, back to the Netherlands, four of us stayed in Strasbourg to walk the march. Before we got on the bus, one of them, a refugee of We Are Here, said: “I don’t care if I get arrested. It’s for the revolution”. That’s the spirit!

Freedom Not Frontex NL intends to take part in the action week in Brussels, June 20 – 28. If you want to join, mail to:

JK, may 20 2014

More info on the march:
Freedom Not Frontex NL:
March to Freedom:
More reports on:


May 20, a report by Gert Jan vd Vaate:

Sundaymorning we left Amsterdam to Kehl and arrived just before the action started, or no, we arrived just at the start of the action, or no, we arrived just after the party had started. But we could manage to be in the action right away. The March was bigger than we expected, people were saying 500 people had joined the March. It was a short walk, but a giant walk for all the refugees in this March. And they celebrated it, but not after we did a moment of silent first for all the victims of the European Migration Policy . In this one minute of silent Europe `s History of his Worldwide Wars were remembered in the introduction to this minute of silence. People were silent and it was impressive. Moved into this emotion the walk begun, a walk over a historical bridge between France and Germany. In wartime borders do matter, in peacetime we don´t need any borders. Like Europe is not having any borders anymore whitin Europe. But only for European citizens. Not for refugees, and that was were this action was for. At the time we arrived at the other side, the refugees were celebrating. A moment of shivvering emotions.

All went well, no problems. Monday May 19th was a day of action. Several actions were prepared, the detentioncenter, in France called a retentioncentre was on our schedule. Migrants locked up like Blijdorp Zoo locks up its animals. And we could get a close as you can get to the lions. These lions were about to get deported, to Algeria or so. An Italian supporter in our group of the March was able to talk to one of these guys. I talked to friends os another Algerian fellow, they were standing outside just like me. Their friend was going to be deported the next day, tuesday, and they were standing there to say goodbye. The man was in France for seven years. His brother and a friend were standing next to me at my side of the fence. The Italian guy was talking for more than an hour with another Algerian guy. Algeria is a former colony of France, but a lot of them are not welcome in France. In Holland people can´t get deported to Algeria because their President is not giving Laissez Passer to Algerian people living in Hoilland. But France does have special agreement with the Algerian authorities. So Fortress Europe does have different policies to the world outside Europe in each country. I told the Italian guy to translate a message from me the Algerian men. I told them to stay strong and to keep having confidence in themselves. Its the system that is doing bad things and not them. Like I use to say in the actions at the Rotterdam detentioncenter I told them to believe in themselves. "One day you will be free and remember you are a better person than The System is." The Italian guy translated this message to the Algerian men and got an answer back : "Thank you very much. You activists give us the right spirit we do need that. One day we will be free and we will see each other again under the Wings of Freedom."

Tuesday May 20th : The March started on an extremely sunny day. At first we went to the European Parliament. Am impressive pressconference just in front of this huge building. and like other passionate actions we rarely see in Holland we started the March. In the lunchbreak the latest news came in : Bruxelles and Rome will join the March tomorrow. Not expected that these groups will join so soon. Everybody was happy hearing this anouncement. London and Vienna had also a special message. They were going to do an action today especially for the March of Freedom, in solidarity. The March went well today. The first walk was 15.7 km, from Strassbourg to Furdenheim.Tomorrow it will be 18km to walk. In very extreme weather, something like the first day of the Nobordercamp Rotterdam when we had build the camp together in 40 degrees. Today it was 10 degrees coller than that. Tonight we´re gonna sleep in tents in a tennispark. We shower in the local footballaccomodation. All well set by the mayor of this little town. He just made the WiFi more convenient, just by himself in corporation with another inhabitant he just asked for this corporation.

More reports to come, planning to stay at least for a week, maybe longer, I will see day by day.

Gert-Jan van de Vaate.

freedom not frontex!

Pictures of May 20


freedom not frontex!

Picture taken in Strasbourg, Place Kléber, monday May 19

Names of 17000 refugees killed trying to enter Europe.



May 21st,

General Meeting last night was in the dark, just after my report of the first days. In the general Meeting it was said that Arte has been broadcasting the pressconference in front of the European Parliament, in long reports at the news. As well in France and in Germany they´ve reported the whole conference. All the demands of the refugees. They even broadcasted the refugees telling they know what´s going on in Europe, about the existing System of slavery. The refugees has demanded no less and no more than an ending of this Capitalistic System of slavery.

The March of Freedom wants to end this system, the walk of freedom is a walk of freedom for everybody in Europe and in the world. The gap between the different worlds has to bridge, by ending Capitalism, to share all sources, goods. Freedom of movement is nothing less or more than freedom of settlement.

Today we have been walking from 11.00 oclock uptill 19.00 hours, within one lunchbreak, 18km.. People in he villages heard us coming singing all the way. Some moments were unforgettable. Like the old lady who came to dance with us in the middle of the street (who´s streets ?). All nationalities were dancing and singing together all day. The sphere is great, if we continue this March all the way it is now, it will succeed.

Last night we have been debating about a mainstream newspaperreporter, who is willing to join us. We've decided that she may come joining us, but we want to see the article written first before it´s published. We haven´t been attacked yet, nothing negative has happened. Coming night I will be in the securityteam. Together with a refugee from Tsjaad.

So today we marched from Furdenheim to Marmutier, tomorrow we go to Phalsbourg, another 16km. New songs are coming up while we are marching. We do have a trumpettist, guitar, beatbox, people with huge bikes , dogs (Cora and Bambi) and we have lots of water. On the way farmers sell strawberries, (fraises), life is good in France, if only . . . give up those borders for the refugees. I haven´t forgotten those Algerian refugees in the retentioncentre last Monday. We are here because everybody wants to be free.

Freedom Not Frontex

● Doe mee met de MARCH 2 FREEDOM aktieweek in Brussel!

March 2 Freedom: Doe mee met de actieweek in Brussel van 20 – 28 juni

[English below]

Terwijl de March 2 Freedom goed onderweg is en op maandag 26 mei voor de tweede maal een grens overgaat (Duitsland – Frankrijk: Saargemünd – Saarbrücken), maakt Freedom Not Frontex NL zich op voor deelname aan de actieweek in Brussel. Aan de eerste grensoversteek naar Strasbourg namen 26 mensen vanuit Nederland deel. Vier van hen, waaronder twee vluchtelingen, zijn gebleven en lopen op dit moment mee in de mars.
De grensoversteek naar Strasbourg was een bijzondere ervaring. Een No Border actie precies waar die op zijn plaats is, van naar schatting 500 gelijkgestemden. De groep bestaande uit vluchtelingen en sympathisanten, allen zonder ID bewijzen, ging joelend en juichend de grens over. Dát is vrijheid van beweging, en dát willen we!

Vanuit Nederland organiseert Freedom Not Frontex NL vervoer naar de actieweek in Brussel waarmee de mars wordt afgesloten. Het is de bedoeling om er op 20 juni heen te gaan en de aankomende mars die dag te verwelkomen in Brussel. Op 28 juni gaan we terug. In de loop van de week zijn er demonstraties, workshops en acties. Op 26 en 27 juni is er een EU top over migratie.
De concrete plannen voor de actieweek worden nog verder ingevuld. Zodra er wat bekend is plaatsen we dat op de website en op onze facebookpagina Ga ervan uit dat je in elk geval een tent en slaapspullen mee moet nemen.

Wil je je vast aanmelden om mee te gaan?

Doe dat zo gauw mogelijk! Mail naar:, dan weten we hoeveel vervoer we moeten regelen. Wil je korter gaan, bijvoorbeeld alleen het begin of het eind? Laat dat dan ook even weten. Mogelijk kunnen we voor een groep mensen die alleen een deel van de actieweek kan meedoen apart vervoer heen en/of terug regelen. Vertrek is in elk geval vanuit Amsterdam.


Vluchtelingen: gratis. Supporters: we vragen een donatie om de kosten te helpen dekkken. Richtprijs: 15 euro. Heb je minder maar wil je wel graag mee, dan kan dat. Kun je meer missen, dan is dat zeer welkom.

Intussen op de hoogte blijven van de mars?

Dat kan op verschillende sites en facebook pagina's:

De website en facebook pagina van Freedom Not Frontex NL: en De internationale website en facebook: en Facebook documentary:

Freedom Not Frontex NL.


March 2 Freedom: Join the action week in Brussel, June 20 – 28

As the March 2 Freedom is well on the way and about to cross a border for the second time on Monday May 26 (Germany – France: Saargemünd – Saarbrücken), Freedom Not Frontex NL is preparing for participation in the action week in Brussels. From The Netherlands 26 people took part in the first border crossing to Strasbourg. Four of them, of whom two refugees, have stayed and are currently walking in the march.
The border crossing to Strasbourg was a special experience. A No Border action right there where it is most into place, joined by an estimate of 500 like-minded people. The group existing of refugees and sympathizers, all without ID, crossed the border bawling and cheering. Thát is freedom of movement and thát is what we want!

From The Netherlands Freedom Not Frontex NL organizes transportation to the action week in Brussels that closes the march. It is our intent to go there on June 20 and welcome the march that will arrive in Brussels that day. On June 28 we go back. During the week there will be demonstrations, workshops and actions. On June 26 and 27 there is a EU summit on migration.
The concrete plans for the action week are yet to be completed. As soon as we know things, we will publish it on the website and on our facebook page Assume that you need to bring a tent and sleeping gear.

Do you want to sign up at this moment?

Do this as soon as you can! Mail to:, so we know how much transport we need to arrange. If you want to go a shorter period, for example just the beginning or the end? Let us know. Possibly we can arrange separate transportation to and/or fro for those who can only participate part of the week. Departure will in any case be from Amsterdam.


Refugees: for free. Supporters: we ask a donation to help cover the costs. Indicative price: 15 euro. Do you have less but do you want to come, that’s okay. If you can spare more, it is very welcome.

In the meantime, to stay informed about the march?

There are several websites and facebook pages: The website and facebook page of Freedom Not Frontex NL: and The international website and facebook: en Facebook documentary:

Freedom Not Frontex NL.

Global IMC Network Afrika Ambazonia Canarias Estrecho / Madiaq Kenya South Africa Canada London, Ontario Maritimes Quebec Oost Azië Japan Manila QC Saint-Petersburg Europa Abruzzo Alacant Antwerpen Athens Austria Barcelona Belarus Belgium Bristol Brussels Bulgaria Calabrië Cyprus Emilia-Romagna Estrecho / Madiaq Euskal Herria Galiza Duitsland grenoble Hungary Ireland Istanbul Italy La Plana Liege liguria Lille Linksunten Lombardia London Madrid Malta Marseille Nantes Napoli Netherlands Northern England Norway Nottingham Oost-Vlaanderen Paris/Île-de-France Piemonte Poland Portugal Roma Roemenië Russia Scotland Sverige Switzerland Torun Toscana Ukraine UK-GB Latijns Amerika Argentina Bolivia Chiapas Chile Sur Braszilië Sucre Colombia Ecuador Mexico Peru Puerto Rico Qollasuyu Rosario santiago Uruguay Valparaiso Venezuela Oceanië Aotearoa Manila Melbourne Perth QC Sydney Zuid-Azië India Verenigde Staten Arizona Atlanta Austin Baltimore Big Muddy Binghamton Buffalo Charlottesville Chicago Cleveland Colorado Columbus DC Hawaii Houston Hudson Mohawk LA Madison Michigan Milwaukee Minneapolis/St. Paul New Mexico New Orleans NYC Philadelphia Pittsburgh Portland Richmond Rochester Rogue Valley San Diego San Francisco Bay Area Santa Cruz, CA Sarasota Seattle Urbana-Champaign Worcester West Azië Beirut Israel Palestine Process FBI/Legal Updates Mailing Lists Process & IMC Docs Projecten Print Radio Video Regio's United States Topics Biotech