[13.09.2017] people got kicked out from camp in Krnjaca

Today, Wednesday, 13.09.2017, SCRM (“Serbian Commissioner for refugees and migrants”) kicked out numerous people from the camp in Krjnaca.
Krnjaca is an Asylum center* close to the city center in Belgrade where according to official numbers 665 children, woman and men are accommodated. The camp has a capacity of 900 places. No more new registrations for this camp are done.
This morning when most people where still sleeping in their rooms members of the commissariat knocked the sleeping room’s doors and checked every single persons’ camp registration card. Those you could not show a valid ID for the Krnjaca camp had to leave the camp’s area immediately and got told to not come back. Children, woman and men got expelled. Also they canceled several valid registration cards from people who let unregistered persons sleep in their rooms and kicked them out as well as punishment.
Now some sleeping barracks in the camp are completely empty and locked.
Anyway some of the people want to try to enter the camp unseen in the evening again in order to sleep there, others decided to sleep in Belgrade city center on the street for fear of getting deported to the closed camp in Presovo if they show up in Krnjaca again.

*There are five “Asylum centers” (AC) in Serbia and 13 temporary centers called “Transit centers”(TC) or “Reception centers”(RC): map of all refugee camps in Serbia (July 2017)

[10.09.2017] locals protesting against enrolling refugees in regular schools

For students in Serbia the new school year started on the first of September. Among them over 150¹ school-aged Asylum seekers and people on the move who are currently accommodated in camps in Serbia are enrolled for the next term. In around 50 regular elementary schools all over Serbia they participate in classes since last week together with the local children.

According to UNHCR almost half of the 4000 people registered in Serbia’s asylum and temporary centers* are children, 1500 of them in school-age. Last year just a couple of the kids attended schools, this year much more, but out the of for this year planned 800 school enrollments only 150 children are actually going to school so far.

The chosen schools are located close to the camps. SCRM (“Serbian Commissioner for refugees and migrants”) is responsible for the transportation between the centers and the different schools, providing lunch boxes and supported by some NGO’s equipment and materials which the students need. As it is all regular local schools and therefore the lessons just held in Serbian, the attempt is to give a special training to English teachers who should join the classes as interpretors and translate Serbian to English for those who do not speak Serbian. However also many of these kids do not speak English as well and there is anyway a lack of English teachers and not at all enough translators to cover all the lessons. Pupils report that they are sent to the classes without interpretor no matter if they understand or speak Serbian which is OK in subjects as maths, art or foreign languages but difficult in many other lessons. Some NGO’s and volunteers offer extra Serbian language classes but as they are only active in Belgrade and a very few camps just a minority of the students has the chance to make use of that.

Not only the limited number of enrolled students and the language barriers already became apparent. The public reaction on locals and migrants joining the same classes is alarming!
In Visnjicevo, a small town with less then 2000 residents, about 200 locals protested in front of a primary school where now kids who are living in the camp in Adasevci are going to school. It were parents of the school’s pupils and other locals who wanted to reported their “concerns” about refugees going to this school, presenting themselves as “neither racists nor fascists”, just “worried parents” but arguing with “worries about the hygiene and safety of their children”.²
Visnjicevo is in West-Serbia close to the transit center in Adasevci* where after the camp in Krnjaca* the biggest number of school-aged children are staying.
Also in other schools for example in Belgrade parents were raising concerns such as worries that teachers might focus more migrant kids then other students due to language problems and therefore neglect the local children.

*There are five “Asylum centers” (AC) in Serbia and 13 temporary centers called “Transit centers”(TC) or “Reception centers”(RC): map of all refugee camps in Serbia (July 2017)


[18.08.2017] Serbian NGO’s pressured to campaign for president Vucic

4500 Asylum seekers and people on the move are currently staying in Serbia. Since last summer this number has not been that small. After the quantity rose up to 8000 in winter 2016 it is constantly decreasing since March.


The story of a 10-years old boy from Afghanistan who is residing since last winter with his family in Krnjaca AC* in Serbia and remarkably talented with portraying and drawing fascinated media and people not only in Serbia, but made headlines in whole Europe. After he had an exhibit  last week (09.08.) in a café in Belgrade to raise money for a Serbian child’s post-cancer therapy, last Wednesday (16.08.) he and his family were invited by Serbia’s president Aleksandar Vucic. Personally Vucic promised a scholarship for Farhad and offered the whole family the Serbian citizenship in case they decide to stay in Serbia which would be a great honor for his country. As well he praised Serbia as a nation that would “sincere welcome” Asylum seekers and underlined the perspectives for the family to built up a great future in Serbia.¹
Volunteers working with Serbian NGO’s report that their organizations get pressured by representatives to spread the news of Vucic’s offer and publish pictures of the meeting on their social media platforms and web sides if “they want to stay in good terms with [the Serbian authorities]”².
After NGO’s felt pressured to delimit their humanitarian aid to people in the move in Belgrade city center after an open letter by the Serbian government in November, the same ones are now used to spread political propaganda³ for the autocratic president who is besides all his other blemish one of the political forces responsible for general and concrete iniquitous misdoings in Serbia’s migration policy. Vucic who by law also has not the authority to grant international protection, Asylum or citizenship to anyone takes advantage by the wide media attention and uses people who are directly affected by his regressive policy for advertising himself as a philanthropist, putting his person and politics in a positive light also in front of the international community. The offering was a symbolic act without consequences first of all complimenting the president.


*There are five “Asylum centers” (AC) in Serbia and 13 temporary centers called “Transit centers”(TC) or “Reception centers”(RC): map of all refugee camps in Serbia (July 2017)

¹ http://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics.php?yyyy=2017&mm=08&dd=16&nav_id=102086
² AYS Daily digest 17.08.: https://medium.com/@AreYouSyrious/ays-daily-digest-17-08-17-new-old-route-spain-8b1149847fd5
³ Infopark FB post: https://www.facebook.com/infoparkserbia/posts/1404751789579081

[15.08.2017] Current situation in Sombor TC: rising tense

supplement to report about racist violation against refugee in Sombor [03.08.2017]

In the fringe area of Sombor, a charming Serbian town with around 60.000 habitants, less than 20km to the Croatian and less then 40km distance to the Hungarian border, a temporary refugee camp (Transit Center*) opened in the beginning of November 2016 as one of nine temporary shelters built up from autumn 2016 until spring 2017 in order to accommodate the increasing number of refugees in Serbia at this time.
Since several weeks people staying in Sombor TC feel more and more stress triggered by enforced relocations to the closed camp Presovo, the presence of fascists & racist violations from locals and pressure from the camp’s authority.

From the beginning the Sombor Transit center was one of Serbia’s smallest camps. Mainly families were and are living there, usually between 80 and 150 people all together.
It is located ca. 5km from Sombor’s city center, in a pretty outside district, surrounded by wood and fields and like all camps managed by the “Serbian Commissioner for refugees and migrants” (SCRM).
The camp consists of quite a lot of open area with some single trees and wild growing grass, an office house for the administration, a bigger shelter house for families and unaccompanied minors and a big white tent for alone-traveling-men. Generally single men are not allowed to enter the families’ house. While sanitation for families are in the shelter house, those who sleep in the tent use toilets and showers installed in some containers outside. Even for eating they stay outside or in the tightness of their bunk beds in the tent after the food distribution. Residents claim that the food is bad and not nutritious (lunch delivered by an external caterer seems to be okay, but breakfast and dinner is always just few slices of white toast and tasteless tea). Often people decide to buy food in a supermarket 10 minutes by foot from the camp and cook themselves. Privacy is rare especially for those staying in the tent, hygiene is good – also due to the Commissariat’s daily order with some residents to clean and tidy up rooms, “garden” and washing rooms. Every day from morning until 5pm there are some doctors available in the camp who however only provide painkillers and are not equipped for serious cases of injuries or sicknesses. Regularly also a couple of policemen is present in the camp usually doing nothing. Aside of accommodation, toilets, showers, food and free Wifi, the camp’s offering is very poor, especially in sense of “free time” activities. Apart from a meager outside play ground for kids and a simple football or basketball ground there is NO kind of offer from the camp’s side such as language or school lessons, separate children or woman spaces, workshops nor any happenings or events. People do not receive any pocket money or materials (f.e. for recreational activity). The daily life is in a bad sense extremely boring, people feel completely out of opportunities. The center’s administration’s comment: they were responsible for accommodation and food in the camp but nothing else.¹

TC Sombor: terrain next to the white tent

TC Sombor: bunk beds in the white tent

Tc Sombor: containers with showers and toilents, family-house in the background

TC Sombor: inside the shower container

The whole camp area is surrounded by a shoulder high fence with two gates from which one is usually closed and the other one in front on the administration house in the Commissariat’s field of view but open during daytime. Only residents and people who are working inside the camp are allowed to enter. Officially the camp is currently not receiving new people. But although the Commissariat refuses to register more refugees or to distribute more meal vouchers they do not make any effort to keep an overview who is staying in the camp. As there are several big well-known wholes in the fence and the commissariat is not checking people’s registration cards lots of people without registration are entering, staying and leaving the camp without any problems.
As the capacity of the camp is still far from being reached, as inhabitants report, people suppose that the camp’s leadership does not cancel old registrations which means that quite a lot of people are registered in Sombor who are not staying there (anymore) and consequently that the official number of residents is much higher then the actual which might be the reason why new registrations are not possible anymore. Generally people describe the camp’s management as corrupt and unfriendly. Showing no interest for the people’s needs they are sometimes threatening for example with deportations to the RC in Presovo in order to create pressure and obedience.

As this blog already reported about current enforced relocations to the closed camp in Presovo  (click here), also residents of Sombor TC are affected by that. People staying in the camp report about policemen irregularly coming in the very early morning hours (2-5pm) inside the camp and forcing some single men sleeping in the tent into buses that drive them to Presovo: The police is surrounding the tent, blocking the entrances to prevent escape and beat those who try to resist. Some people got already deported several times, as some succeed to come back from Presovo to Sombor, but again were relocated, some of them even two or three times. After a couple of this incidents people are very afraid and leave the camp over night. Only the families in the shelter house and some single men who are badly injured (Hungarian border police violence) or seriously sick are still sleeping in the white tent. Also sleeping in the surroundings of the center is not safe as police is also targeting for people in the jungle and fields in this area. It is assumed that SCRM wants to transform the center to a shelter just for families and unaccompanied minors via that relocations.

Another development stoking fears and insecurity is the increasing presence of racist Serbians in Sombor. A report about a racist attack by locals on a migrant  describes the current xenophobic atmosphere and incident recently going on in Sombor (click here). Generally people are threatened not to leave the camp after 7pm by fascists “patrolling” as an informal “vigilante group” the street leading to the city, taunting, forcing people to go “back to the camp”, offend people with insulting prejudice and allegations, pushing and physically badgering. Also physical or verbal attacks during nighttime on people sleeping outside of the camp is increasing and getting more and more brutal. About those incidents the Center’s leadership does not feel in charge as well, even does not interfere when they witness violent attacks and accuses the migrants that they should not leave the camp especially during the night. Also the police sends people away who try to report an offense about violations just blaming that migrants should stay inside the TC. This atmosphere also creates an even bigger isolation between migrants and locals as people living in the camp get unconfident about going to the city center at all or getting in contact with Serbians.


*There are five “Asylum centers” (AC) in Serbia and 13 temporary centers called “Transit centers”(TC) or “Reception centers”(RC): map of all refugee camps in Serbia (July 2017)
¹ Report about racist violation against refugee in Sombor [03.08.2017]

[06.08.2017] violent “push backs” from Croatia increasing

(detailed report written by Rigardu)

Among Serbia’s neighbouring countries especially in Hungary and Croatia border police is guarding the border areas to Serbia, as well as patrolling roads, woods and fields in order to catch people who irregularly crossed the border to Hungary or Croatia. It is common practice that in such cases police often refuses the peoples’ claim for their right of Asylum and International protection and instead irregularly and illegally pushes the persons back to Serbia which marks a violation against Human Rights, International and European law. It is not an uncommonness that refugees get physically and psychically harmed during that incidents.
Since May of this year the force at the Croatian border increased massively again. Lots of people who got detected and push backed currently tell about Croatian border police beating with batons or hands on every part of the body, kicking, dragging people across the ground or shining with flash lights in people’s eyes. Often people come back from the border side with bad injuries that must be treated by doctors. As well there are reports about scanning people’s bodies, checking baggage, looking at private chats in messenger apps and private pictures on mobiles, teasing, shouting and insulting, threats not to come again to Croatia, stealing money and mobiles, spiting on people and taking pictures of the torture. Then police drives them to the border and forces them to run to Serbian territory. The supporting group Rigardu active in Sid (Croatian border) is collecting testimonies concerning this violations (click here).

Fresh Response is documenting cases of violation at the Hungarian border
(click here).

[03.08.2017] racist violation against refugee in Sombor

A racist act of assault took place last evening (Wednesday, 02.08.2017) against a refugee in Sombor. A young men got badly injured by a group of young local men armed with knifes and a metal punch. I.a. he got hit with a knife close to his eye. At the moment he is in ambulant treatment. Doctors affirm that he will convalesce.
The incident happened when around seven drunken Serbians went on the Sombor Transit center‘s ground (camp’s area is surrounded by a knee-high fence) where outside of the camp’s building at the edge of the terrain some single men are sleeping in big tents.
The camp’s director answered the people who announced the incident to the center’s administration that he is responsible for accommodation and food in the camp but nothing else.
There were already some racist incidents happening to people sleeping outside of the camp‘s terrain like damage of tents, theft of valuables or other assaults by apparently mostly drunken locals. People guess that this are impulsive actions done by people coming out of a pub just a few meters away from the camp. Still this especially cruel and violent physical attack is a new level of force against migrants and xenophobia in Serbia. Besides since several weeks migrants staying in Sombor detail about a small mass of Serbian people protesting every evening close to the TC against the camp and migrants in Serbia generally. Usually accompanied by police, sometimes by journalists they show banners and do not let people supposed being migrants pass the street towards the city center by verbal abusing and aggressive gesture and even pushing.
Many people who stay in Sombor claim that they do not feel safe anymore.

The Transit center (TC) in Sombor (border triangle between Serbia, Croatia and Hungary) was opened in November 2016, according to UNHCR currently accommodates around 150 people, mostly families, and is located outside of the city center in between of fields and wood. There are also quite of lot of people staying without registration outside in the fields in the surrounding mostly because they are afraid of transfers to the camp in Presovo.

[29.07.2017] number of refugees in Serbia descending & involuntary relocations

According to the UNHCR reports 5200 people on the move and asylum seekers are currently living in Serbia. Since March 2017 that number is descending constantly coming along with a decreasing number of migrants arriving in Serbia primarily from Bulgaria and Macedonia. After the eviction and destruction of the „barracks“* in Belgrade in May 2017 more than 1000 refugees who were living there have been relocated from the city center to official camps all over Serbia. Since then most of the people are accommodated in the 18 asylum and transit centers**, approximated less then 200 people are staying without registration outside of the camps, mainly in Belgrade’s city centre. As Serbia is currently able to provide 6000 hard-shelters in total the state is now organizing reallocations to fit the capacities of the camps (which varies from less then 100 up to 1000 places) after many camps were overcrowded during winter and spring. Therefore people staying in crowded shelters get transferred to not fully occupied ones, as well as people who used to life in the transit center in Sid (Croatian border) which got shut, people who get new registered and people who get picked up by police without valid registration. The registration in a camp expires when a person is absent for more then 72 hours. Besides numerous of those who got accommodated in the course of the barracks’ eviction still do not have a proper registration. Requests for a (re)registration for a special camp are usually disregarded. As the conditions in the different centers are very unequally in terms of facilities, favourable locations, leadership and structure, freedom of movement etc. and as most people still wish to move on to other countries many people are afraid of an involuntary relocation, which is why in extreme cases several decide to stay outside of official camps on the street. The center in Presovo (Macedonian border) for example which has a capacity of 1000 spaces and is only half occupied is dreaded as a camp where many people get transferred to and which is known as practically closed and starting point for illegal pushbacks to Macedonia. Lacks of hygienic facilities, proper food distribution, physical or psychic violation, sexual abuse are reported regularly from several camps. Transfers are also used as punishment for different kinds of violation of rules which also creates tough atmospheres in the affected camps. The two centers close to Belgrade’s city center (Obrenovac TC and Krnjaca AC) for example are popular because of their advantageous location but Obrenovac TC is known for big and crowded sleeping rooms (up to 42 beds), a suspect, corrupt leadership and destination for punishment relocations for example from Krnjaca AC.

*area behind the main bus station in Belgrade city centre where from autumn 2016 up to 1300 migrants without valid papers stayed under inhuman conditions in underused warehouses, old wagons etc.
** There are five “Asylum centres” (AC) in Serbia and 13 temporary centres that are called “Transit centres” (TC) or “Reception centres” (RC)
Link: location of the 18 Asylum-,Transit- & Reception Centers in Serbia (July 2017

Police operations and violent relocations to Preševo / Policijske racije i nasilne relokacije za Preševo

(tekst na naškom u nastavku)

As it has been already stated, violence, repression and persecution has been growing since the squatted barracks got evicted and demolished on May 11th.  Before the elections the serbian police was more reserved but now is using violence openly. In the last two weeks there has been three physically violent police operations, forcing people to be taken to the infamous Preševo closed “camp” near Macedonia. Although is it presented as a reception center, the unspoken reality is that of a detention camp. The approx.  1000 people imprisoned there are not allowed to go in or out, except for a very restricted special permission, and the only way to leave the camp is to be pushed-back illegaly to Macedonia, which happens regularly.

The first of these operations took place inside the official refugee camp in Obrenovac, near Belgrade. The police came to the camp at 5 o‘clock in the morning on June 10th and forced 103 random people inside waiting buses. Those who were resisting got violently beaten up and abused verbally. The approximately 50 policemen neither told anyone where they would be brought, although they were constantly asked to do so. People didn’t have time to take their personal belongings with them, not even their phones. Among them were families and minors who got separated.

On June 16th at 4 am, there was another police operation in Sombor Camp, near the Croatian and Hungarian border. This time all 148 single men were rounded up in a similar violent fashion and brought to Preševo as well.

On June 22nd also at 4am, the police literally hunt down approximately 100 people staying in the area of the former refugee camp near the Croatian border in the city of Šid. People were beaten and forced at gun point to leave their belongings and get into buses and were brought to the prison camp of Preševo.

Acting as spokesperson, being part of the decision making and putting himself in the spotlight is the minister of labour, employment, veteran and social policy, Aleksandar Vulin. He is openly using racist rhetoric as he referred to the operation in Šid as “cleansing”1 the area and justifying the actions with the usual lies of a safer environment for both residents and refugees by locking them up in, as he cynically put it: “in camps of the highest international standards”.

The pretending of the serbian authorities that these violent operations were conducted “in a human way”, saving migrants from the smugglers, locals from migrants, and the rest of europe from the “spread of the refugee crisis” is totally disgusting. As long as this racist border regime exists there is constant oppression and violence.

In solidarity with all people on the move

1 http://www.novosti.rs/vesti/naslovna/politika/aktuelno.289.html:671825-Vulin-Ilegalni-migranti-ne-smeju-ugrozavati-zivot-gradjana-Srbije


Od rušenja skvotiranih baraka (10.maj 2017) jasno se oseća rast nasilja, represije i progona od strane državnih organa.  Pre predsedničkih izbora srpska policija se ponašala rezervisanije, bez jasnih naredbi, zato sada otvoreno upotrebljava silu. U protekle dve nedelje su vlasti tri puta organizovale nasilne policijske operacije i prisilno premestili ljude u zatvorski logor u Preševu.  Taj logor se zvanično vodi kao prihvatni centar otvorenog tipa, ali zapravo je tamo oko 1000 ljudi (uključujući i porodice sa decom) zatvoreno, neki od njih već više od godinu dana. Izlaz i ulaz u logor je zabranjen, osim za limitirani broj osoba sa specijalnom dozvolom, koji ponekad mogu da izađu radi kupovine. Vlasti redovno “prazne“ logor, tako što deportuju ljude (ilegalno) za Makedoniju, a oni koji su uhvaćeni u begstvu se takođe kažnjavaju deportacijom.

Prva operacija se desila u zvaničnom prihvatnom centru u Obrenovcu, blizu Beograda. 10. Juna, u 5 sati ujutro se pojavilo oko 50 pandura u kampu i prisilili su ljude ( 103 nasumično izabranih) da uđu u autobuse koji su bili organizovani za ovu operaciju. Oni koji su pružali otpor su pretučeni i verbalno vređani. Na pitanje gde ih vode, i da li će ih zatvoriti u Preševu nisu dobili odgovor. Ljudi  su  bili uterani u autobuse, nisu imali ni toliko vremena da pokupe svoje lične stvari, čak ni mobilne telefone. Tokom ove operacije familije i maloletnici su razdvojeni.

16. juna, u 4 ujutro je bila još jedna policijska operacija u drugom prihvatnom centru u Somboru. Ovoga puta su ljude okružile policijske jedinice uteravši ih u obruč. Slično kao u Obrenovcu oko 150 osoba je nasilno preveženo za Preševo.

Treća operacija se desila 22. juna u blizini Šida, takođe u 4 ujutro. Policajci su doslovce pošli u  lov na ljude koji su još spavali na otvorenom prostoru, gde su se skrivali pokušavajući da napuste Srbiju. Oko 100 ljudi je odvedeno u zatvorski logor u Preševu.

Čovek koji  sebe stavlja u sjaj ove “uspešne operacije” je  ministar rada, zapošljavanja, boračkih i socijalnih pitanja Aleksandar Vulin. Vulin se koristi otverono rasističkom retorikom, u svojoj izjavi1 za medije kaže da su  “pripadnici Ministarstva unutrašnjih poslova očistili Šid od nelegalnih ”. On je ovu policijsku akciju predstavio kao uspostavljanje bezbedne sredine i za lokalno stanovništvo  i za migrante,  zapravo su ljude stavili pod ključ kako je ministar rekao u “ kamp u skladu sa najvišim svetskim standardima.”

Pretvaranje srpskih vlasti da su ove nasilne operacije bile sprovedene “bez primene sile, na ljudski način”, i da su spasili migrante od krijumčara, lokalce od migranata, a ostatak evrope od “ širenja izbegličke krize” , znači sve su spasili, više je nego degutantno.

Sve dok  rasistički režim granica postoji,  nasilje i tlačenje je konstantno.

Solidarno sa svim putnicima bez putnih isprava!

1 http://www.novosti.rs/vesti/naslovna/politika/aktuelno.289.html:671825-Vulin-Ilegalni-migranti-ne-smeju-ugrozavati-zivot-gradjana-Srbije

After eviction of the squats more and more repression:

Attack by policeman on 02.06.2017 in the centre of Belgrade

— Read Serbian version below —

A violent attack by a policeman on refugees happened in the park Luke Ćelovića, also known as Afghan Park or Ekonomski park, on June, 2nd.

Before the violation the atmosphere was quite relaxed and calm, around 80 people were hanging out in the park. Shortly before 4 pm a local woman took a seat next to the people. As they reported the woman asked them for money and frightened them with calling the Serbian Mafia on them. As they tried to explain to her that they don’t have money, the woman accused them loudly of being refugees and “destroying the country”. Suddenly she calmed down and started joking with the young men. Confused with her behaviour, they tried to ignore her as much as possible.

At 16.21 pm a policeman came because the woman had called the police. The policeman yelled at the group of people accused by her and suddenly punched one young man with his fist in the face and chest. The policeman also tried to kick him, but as the beating was so strong the young man felt backwards from the bench and could get himself out of the situation. Within a few seconds the policeman was surrounded and confronted by the people affected, which stopped him to attack further. He was yelling aggressively to the crowd, took his name away from his uniform (!) and walked away. Two locals in solidarity were arguing full-throated with him and manged to stop him again in the middle of the park. The statement of the policeman was: “I told the boy he should get up, but he didn’t show any respect. For sure he understood me. / I am here to protect Serbia not foreigners. / I can do whatever I want to. Who are you to hold me back of it? / The refugees do have bombs and are selling drugs so they are a bad example for our children. / If you want to see the bombs you can come and have a look at the Police station. / If somebody here will die because of them, it will be your fault.“

Meanwhile another policeman, was asked for help but he left without any response, as well as the rest of the people in the park, who acted as nothing had happened. After a few minutes of the tumult the policeman walked away and left an agitated crowd back. About 90 minutes later, he came back and tried to explain his despotic behaviour to the same locals in a “friendly” way: It was his duty and his reaction was justifiable because many refugees were thieves and because of them many gays and prostitutes were more attracted to the park, but still he understands “their situation”.

Such visible aggressive violation of the police does not only leave physical injuries as their goal is to intimidate and increase the repression. As it´s usual, this policeman got away without any consequence, the only one who would get them would be the person affected if he denounces him.

This is not the first time it happens! Zero tolerance with police and state despotism!

This is being published in a context of high repression against people on the move in Serbia. This park has always been a meeting point but after the eviction of the barracks, for a few days, it was deserted and slowly we gather again. About hard conditions and abuses on refugees and migrants in Serbia, read the recent statement of one person from the camp in Obrenovac


We encourage everyone to step in when racist and other forms of violent behavior is happening.
An injury to one is an injury to all!


Nakon izbacianja ljudi iz skvotova, sve više i više represije:
Napad policajca 2.6.2017. u centru Beograda

Nasilan napad policajca na izbeglice se desio drugog juna u parku Luke Ćelovića, takođe poznatom kao Afganistanski Park ili Ekonomski park.

Pre nasilja, atmosfera u parku je bila poprilično opuštena i mirna, oko 80 ljudi je bilo u parku. Malo pre 16 časova, lokalna žena je sela pored ljudi. Kako nam je rečeno žena je tražila pare od njih i zastrašivala ih je govoreći da će im zvati Srpsku Mafiju. Kad su pokušali da objasne da nemaju pare, žena ih je glasno optužila da su izbeglice i da “uništavaju zemlju”. Iznenada se smirila i krenula da se šali sa njima. Zbunjeni njenim ponašanjem, pokušali su da je ignorišu što su više mogli.

U 16:21 policajac je došao zato što je žena zvala policiju. Krenuo je da viče na grupu ljudi koju je ona optužila i odjednom udario jednog mladića svojom pesnicom u lice i grudi. Policajac je takođe pokušao da ga šutne, ali je od jačine njegovih udaraca pao sa klupe i nije mogao da se izvuče iz situacije. Za par sekundi policajac je bio okružen od strane oštećenih ljudi, koji su zaustavili dalje napade. Vikao je agresivno na te ljude, sklonio svoje ime sa uniforme (!) i otišao. Dvoje lokalaca u solidarnosti su se raspravljali glasno sa njim i uspeli da ga zaustave opet u sred parka. Izjava policajca je bila: “Rekao sam dečku da bi trebao da ustane, ali nije pokazao poštovanje. Sigurno me je razumeo./ Ja sam ovde da zaštitim Srbiju ne tuđince./ Mogu da radim šta god hoću. Ko ste vi da me sprečavate./ Izbeglice imaju bombe i prodaju droge tako da su loš primer našoj deci./ Ako želite da vidite bombe možete doći i pogledati u policijskog stanici./ Ako neko ovde umre zbog njih, to će biti vaša krivica.”

U međuvremenu još jedan policajac je bio pozvan da pomogne ali on je otišao bez odgovora, kao i ostatak ljudi u parku, koji su se ponašali ko da se ništa nije desilo. Nakon nekoliko minuta policajac je odšetao i ostavio uznemirenu grupu ljudi. Posle oko 90 minuta, vratio se i pokušao da objasni svoje despotsko ponašanje tim istim lokalcima na “prijateljski” način: To je bila njegova dužnost i njegova reakcija je bila opravdana jer su puno izbeglica lopovi i zato što su veliki broj njih gejevi i prostitutke su više privučene da dolaze u park, ali on i dalje razume “njihovu situaciju”.

Tako vidljivo agresivan postupak policije ne ostavlja samo fizičke povrede jer im je cilj da zastraše i povećaju represiju. Kao i obično policajcu je to prošlo bez ikakvih posledica, jedina osoba koja bi ih imala bi bila ona koja je bila napadnuta ukoliko policajac odluči da je optuži.

Ovo nije prvi put da se ovo desilo! Bez tolerancije za policiju i državni despotizam!

Ovo se izdaje u kontekstu visoke represije nad ljudima koji se kreću kroz Srbiju. Ovaj park je uvek bio tačka sastanaka ali nakon izbacavanja iz baraka, nekoliko dana je bio napušten ali polako se opet skupljamo. O teškim uslovima i zločinima nad izbeglicama i migrantima u Srbiji, pročitajte nedavnu izjavu jedne osobe iz kampa u Obrenovcu https://noborderserbia.wordpress.com/2017/06/03/if-these-laws-stay-in-power-maybe-tomorrow-you-will-be-in-my-positionako-ovi-zakoni-ostaju-na-snazi-mozda-ce-oni-i-vas-uskoro-ugroziti/

Mi pozivamo sve da se umešaju kad god primete rasistička i druga nasilna ponašanja.
Povreda jednog je povreda svih!

Evictions start in Belgrade: enforced mass transfers from Belgrade to Preševo

On November the 10th in the middle of the night, a big police operation took place behind the main bus station in Belgrade and the parking lot near the so-called “Afghan Park”. 109 people were put into buses and brought to the closed camp in Preševo near the Macedonian border. From here, people are being pushed back on a constant basis. Behind the bus station at the moment more than 700 refugees remain in empty warehouses and around 30 people are currently sleeping in the parking where night temperatures are at an average of 1 degree. During the whole operation, although the people were very scared, they stayed remarkably calm and peaceful. Police did not use actual physical force, but were sometimes deceitful towards the migrants by threatening them and lying over the buses’ destination in order to get them to move from the city.

From around 3.30am until 5.50am there was police, civil police, SAJ (Special Anti-Terrorist Unit), Commissariat, Intervention Brigade and Gendarmerie roaming around two of the three main sleeping places of the refugees in Belgrade, trying to persuade them to get into the buses. It is estimated that the forces amounted 300 individuals, altogether. Most of them were wearing helmets and shields. The majority stayed in around the warehouses behind the main bus station but there were also a few in the parking lot next to Afghan Park. There was however no Police presence in the parking lot near the Info Park, where around 120 people sleep. This, most probably in order to keep the action silent and without publicity, as the parking lots are the most visible spots and as in the parking next to Info Park a bigger number of people sleep.

Different methods of getting the people out of their living quarters were used. In the parking they got woken up rudely and were kicked, but fortunately according to the people most refugees left hastily, leaving all their stuff, before being surrounded and thus meaning that nobody was taken. In the warehouses, some groups were woken up by civil policemen or UNCHR members who asked for somebody who speaks English, questioned if they wouldn’t prefer to go to a camp considering the current weather conditions and the fact that in the next days the buildings would soon be torn down. They said they would bring them to Preševo Camp and when asked, they promised they would not get deported as long they remained peaceful. Others were told that they would get transported to a camp, unclear which one, but were promised a good and open space. They were told that if they refused, they would be all deported to Macedonia. This all happened while the police and SAJ completely surrounded the complex of warehouses. Members of the UNHCR were part of the negotiations with the migrants also, as they were the only ones allowed to enter. For the few NGOs present, the only possibility to observe the events was from a distance of 50 meters away. Outsiders were given no statement about the whereabouts of where refugees would be brought, nor given any information about the entire operation. Instead police simply noted personal data and pushed people away who were trying to get closer.

Many refugees came out of the warehouses to see what was happening, others, as they were terrified and in order to escape and to hide, got on the roof or left the area while it was still possible. After a while, people were told to leave the buildings and waiting outside – in middle of the night with temperatures bordering 2 degrees. Inside the buildings people made many small fires for heating. At some point, blankets were thrown on some of the fires – the windows were ablaze with light and smoke rose up. Only one firetrack was present. It was thankfully not needed in the end. It should be noted that the refugees, despited being attacked in this manner, remained calm, only giving out sporadic shouts.

Next to the 300-men police chain, there were eight buses parked and one next to the Afghan Park. Six of these drove away empty, minutes after 5am. Three of them went half full containing a total of 109 people. One family was confirmed present, the rest were unaccompanied men and some minors. Only very few left voluntarily, the rest were forced by the polices‘ threats.

Those in the buses arrived in the late morning in Preševo and were registered there. The camp was previously told to be prepared to register 600 new people. In light of this fact, and the of the huge effort that was planed to be made, in order to take in a lot of people, it is likely that the police will continue to raid the sleeping places in Belgrade in the coming days. According to the Commissariat, the UNCHR organised the buses (from the company “Lasto”). But the fact is that such raids need a lot of planning and a bigger structure behind them, most likely to be from the Ministry of Labour itself, which is in charge of the Commissariat, and the UNHCR was just used as an intermediate.

After the buses left, the tension was slightly relieved. Some people were again able to move in and out of the building. But as the people tried to come down from the roof, some fell down and injured themselves. This left people with broken legs and one with a broken arm and several other light injuries. It is worth mentioning that during the whole action there was no emergency nor medical support and help came only once it was privately called. MSF showed up and provided medical help after the police were gone.

At approximately 5.40am and with the early signs of daylight, the first media channel showed up, conveniently just a moment after the police and buses had left. Migrants gave general information about what had just happened and asked questions about what could happen in future, considering the current situation in Belgrade.

According to an NGO, some policemen stated that they would be back in the coming days. Several refugees started to discuss about a protest/march to the borders due to this information and members of the present NGOs tried to convince them not to. One reaction after hearing about how dangerous that scenario could be was: “I am not afraid. What else could happen? They even could shoot on me, shoot, just shoot. I cannot lose more.”

Comparing the atmosphere of the March of hope in July from Belgrade to the Hungarian border where in the camp Horgoš people shouted “Thank you Serbia” and wrote “Thank you Serbian police” on their cheeks and said: “Bulgaria, Hungary – big problem, Serbia good!”, the situation has now changed completely. One refugee said: “It is dangerous everywhere: in camps, at the borders, in Belgrade. Serbia is a big problem for us”.

It is a well-known fact that since the beginning, migrants who stay for longer periods of time within the city of Belgrade are an inconvenience for the government. As they often don’t want to stay in camps, people on the move in Belgrade are either in public parks, in squatted old warehouses or in parking lots, all located within 500m from one another in the center of the city. Therefore, they are not only too visible but hard to control. In this regard, there have been different attempts from the authorities to reduce the numbers of migrants in the city, such as, in the end of October, revoking the permission for distributing food, and the latest and most direct one, the partial eviction of the main living space of the migrants. With the rapidly falling temperatures and the fast-approaching winter as reasons, it is the government’s and NGOs’ target to place everybody in camps, regardless if that means to overcrowded, lack of basic conditions or push-back “Camps”.


Abandoned sleeping places in Afghan Park’s parking lot I


Abandoned sleeping places in Afghan Park’s parking lot II


Bus next to Afghan Park waiting for departure


Massive police presence


Police chains surrounding the squatted warehouse I


Police chains surrounding the squatted warehouse II


Buses waiting for departure next to the squatted warehouse


The firetruck next to the squatted warehouse


Inside the transfer buses to Preševo