600 Km For a Better Life

“In my country they kill you with guns, in this country they kill you with detentation centers“, says Omid, a 28 year old political activist from Iran who is demanding asylum in Germany. Omid is part of a group of asylum seekers who arrived from Würzbug (Bavaria) in Berlin last Friday, after a 600km food walk through the whole country. 

The protest started after another suicide of 29 year old asylum seeker in Würzburg earlier this year. The situation in a asylum center is described by a protester who arrived eleven months ago from Iraq, „ In my center I am sharing one toilet with 20 people. There are three bathrooms for 66 persons.“ He continous by explaining that in Bavaria asylum seekers cannot buy their own food, but get pre-bought packages, the exclusion from the society, as many centers are in the countryside and working is not allowed. This and the contionous fear of being deported leads to life under continuous psychological stress. Often for many years.

In my center I am sharing one toilet with 20 people. There are three bathrooms for 66 persons.

Four main demands are formulated by the asylum seekers. These are the stop of all deportations, the closure of the detention centers and instead accomodation in normal flats, the stop of the Residenzpflicht, a law forbiding to leave the area of detention and the stop of degrading measures, such as the food packages.

In order for these demands to be realized they have to be heard –  and they are heard. The protest group began their 28 days long walk with 20 people. During this time, they visited other asylum centers. When they arrived in Berlin, the group grew to 70 people, as more asylum seekers and German activists joined on the way.

The walk from Würzburg to Berlin is part of a German wide protest movement, called „The Refugee Camp Action“. There are actions in several German cities; Bamberg, Berlin, Düsseldorf, Regensburg, Osnabrück, Nürnberg and Würzburg. One of those actions is a camp in Berlin – Kreuzberg, where activists had been protesting and informing the public since August. When the walker from Würzburg arrived in Berlin, they stayed for a night at an institute of the Free University and moved then to the camp in Kreuzberg. The highpoint of the action will be a demonstration in front of the Bundestag on the 13th of October. After that, the protest will continue, because as Omid says, going back to the asylum center is no solution.

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