I am Jennifer Kamau from the IWS, a group that was formed from the Oranienplatz movement. This movement also includes the occupation of the Gerhart Hauptmann school which lasted for 17 months. One of the political reasons that was given to evict the people from the school was that there were people selling drugs. The actual political demands of the Oranienplatz movement were very different from their allegations.

In this time, we were fighting for: abolition of the Residenzpflicht, the voucher system, the right to study the German language, the right to work and study, and abolition of Lagers – to break the isolation all asylum seekers are placed into.

In this way they were criminalizing the political movement and the political work as a whole showing how much they wanted to suppress the movement. Drugs have always been used to undermine political movements and uprisings.

So this is when racial profiling subtly started. The denial to access the school which they so much wanted was one reason why they did not enter to do the arrests. When the police came, 3 men ended up being arrested and were put into prison for 5 months while the investigations took place.The justice system claimed that they were trying to run away but the reality is that they were actually protesting in order to get their right to stay. This was a whole 5 months of detention without trial!

Through the Oranienplatz movement, we were able to abolish the Residenzpflicht and the voucher system and got the rights to study, which is what the asylum seekers today are benefiting from.

But now the situation is different – there are the Dublin regulations which are what are being used to illegalize people. This is a law that dictates which country will be responsible for your asylum application. In reality, it has meant that once you enter a European country you have to go through the asylum process there, in the country of arrival. If you try to go to a 2nd or 3rd European country and apply for asylum, they can and will deport you back to the country that you arrived in. This is a tactic the EU is using to deport people.

Because of the Dublin Regulations, many people have become illegalized or undocumented, forcing them into an even more vulnerable situation. This exposes people to all sorts of violence: sexual exploitation, forced prostitution, poor working conditions, and unpaid work. It’s also why some people are forced into operating from this park to earn a living.

And this is how the state uses the vulnerability they create to criminalize people. With laws like Dublin and the criminalization of drugs they are able to justify racial profiling – to stop and arrest people who they suspect are selling drugs or who are here quote ‘illegally’. These criminalizations happen in the streets and it always come with immense police violence and racial profiling.

Now there is a new outcry on the war on drugs and the face of crime has become black or Arab men.

Our question is: Who brings the drugs here and who uses them? Who are the real consumers of these drugs?

When we go back to history, with evidence from the film ‘Wir Kindern von Bahnhof Zoo’, we can clearly see the history of drugs here. There was no Görlitzer park but drugs were still being sold and from the film the peddlers of the drugs were the Germans themselves.

Berlin is heavily publicly commercialised as a great tourist attraction – a place for the European tourists to come and celebrate the ‘multikulti’ and the free drug atmosphere. On the other hand, this same freedom is not applied to the people who are forced to engage in drug peddling.

So we stand here, almost ten years after the Oplatz movement and occupation of the school began, still fighting for the end of the racist asylum and migration policies of the EU – and the end of the policing, racial profiling, and criminalization we experience.

The right wing is using migration to create fear, if you do not want migrants, let us address the reasons as to why people flee because right now the unwanted migrants are fleeing because of the economic and political chaos and turmoil created by Europe.

As we will keep saying: We are here because you destroy our lands.

Let’s vote wisely! Let’s join forces and let’s not stop demanding for a more humane asylum system until we achieve a dignified life for all!