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Against Fortress Europe – Resistance in Lampedusa

February 25th, 2009 · post by isy · Make a comment

Lampedusa is a tiny island with a population of about 6000 off the South coast of Sicily that the Italian government would like to see turned into a heavily policed, anti immigration fortress. However this has been met with sustained resistance, both from migrants who are detained upon arrival and deported as soon as possible, as well as the local population.

Several thousands of migrants arrive in Lampedusa on their way to mainland Europe every year, risking their lives on sinking boats, and the number of arrivals has doubled since border controls have made the crossing through Spain more difficult. The deportation prison had started to resemble a concentration camp and what has been described as a humanitarian emergency, with over 1800 people in conditions built for 450 to 800 max, with people sleeping out in the rain. Since the decision in December to detain anyone passing through the island, there have been numerous acts of defiance, including hungerstrikes and riots, a mass breakout of over 1000 detainees in January, who marched onto the Town Hall, finding much practical support and solidarity amongst the local population who have also demonstrated against the plans to extend the detention centre to a derelict NATO base, and gone on general strike over the issue. On the 17th February, prisoner rioting led to half the detention centre burning down. The guards and police however kept the prisoners locked inside the burning camp, resulting in around 80 injuries (20 of whom were police).

There have been solidarity actions and demonstrations in Italy on the streets and outside detention centres where migrants have been moved to after the fire, and hungerstrikes and cell rioting inside prisons. There is also a boycott of Legacoop who are involved with running the Lampedusa and other detention centres.

No Borders London have called a picket of the Italian Embassy in solidarity with the struggle against the island being turned into one huge concentration camp for immigrants.

Called by No Borders London and supported by No Borders UK groups, Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!, SOAS Detainee Support Group, National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns, Campaign Against Immigration Controls, No One Is Illegal.

Thursday 26th February, 4.30pm-6.00pm
Italian Embassy, London

14 Kings Yard
London W1K4EH
(Meet at the corner with Davies Street )
nearest tube: Bond Street

A video from an Italian news site: http://www.c6.tv/archivio?id=3017
and a video about conditions in the camp: http://www.bloghissimo.it/notizie/video-inchiesta-a-lampedusa-tra-gli-immigrati.html
More info: http://www.meltingpot.org/articolo13895.html

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