Despite the committed efforts of some local residents to end our presence at the border, by erecting a fence two months ago, that has been sealing off the space that we previously used, we have been active on the border again since July 6th. On July 6th and 7th, a 48-hour observation of the PAF (Police aux Frontieres) took place, which was organized by CAFFI (Coordination des Actions à la Frontière Franco-Italienne) and which was supplemented by the presence of lawyers and members of various NGOs. During these two days, the number of “push backs” taking place per day was 38 and 45. In the following days we realized a two to three times increase in the daily “push backs”. On Sunday July 12th we met as many people as never before, a total of 142. After that date, we met an average of around 100 people a day at the franco-italian border.
The number of meals served during the evening distribution in Ventimiglia varied between 40 and 120, but currently we meet around 70 to 80 people, almost all of whom live in the city on the street or on the beach.
In addition to that work itself, we have more frequent problems with authority issues, as for example the Mayor of Ventimiglia came to one of our food distributions, to express that it was unacceptable to give out food and we were not allowed to continue our activities. This was said, while the police assured us that it would be okay to distribute food in our usual place, but we were not allowed to distribute food within the city, at the train station or on the beach. Since neither party was able to show us anything written with a legal background, we continued with the meal distribution, which has since been accompanied by checks of our documents, as well as photos of the distribution and our vehicles, taken by the police. Similarity is now as well at our activity on the border, where the police have been visiting us almost every day in the last two weeks. In addition to checking our documents and being aggressive in verbal- and body-language, the police also asked us to stop our activities there, which we did not.
Since a few days the italian police is escorting the bus from the border to Ventimiglia in order to either control Masks and Tickets of people, or just legitimate the bus to not stop at all, which is forcing the people released out of detention to walk back 8km to Ventimiglia, despite a valid bus ticket and proper hygiene measures. At this point we would like to emphasize that we as a collective take the corona situation very seriously and that we pay attention to the minimum distances and the avoidance of large accumulations. On the other hand this is very different at the border itself, where the previously mentioned 100 people per day are are held and crammed into a confined space for up to 24 hours by the french police. These officers do not take any account of the risks resulting from such aggravation of people, as well as the lack of hygienic preventive measures.
In addition, to us unknown people, who seem to be passionate about excrement, have come up with a completely new form of protest, with which we have not been confronted in the past.Yesterday morning, the place where we are active at the border was found modelled, excrement of unknown origin was spread on benches and walls that usually serve us well. We are impressed by the effort of one person to collect excrement and to distribute it in neat and tidy paths on humanitarian land. After intensive cleaning, however, this is also complete and we will continue to be active, at the border and in Ventimiglia itself, despite the efforts made to decrease the humanity at and around this border.
As our expenses have increased recently, due to the complicated, Covid 19-related restrictions, such as an increased number of people, we would be happy to receive a donation or your personal support.
Bank account: GLS Bank
Depositor: Frederik Bösing
Iban: DE 32 4306 0967 2072 1059 00