After the Rebellion of the Voiceless, the Trial comes – FREDOM FOR THE HARMANLI 21


Original publication here

On April 24, 2018 in the local court of Harmanli the first hearing of the process against the arrested during the uprising in the detention centre in the town during the autum of 2016 will take part. Remember these people? They were treated as animals by the state and its repressive machinery – unlawfully put under quarantine, later brutally beaten for daring to resist being treated that way and finally – charged and sent to court. Of course, you won’t see persecuted the cops perpetrators of brutal violence during these days or the nationalists, which stirred anti-migrant sentiments and ultimately resulted in the quarantine and the uprising against it. How did that happen?

The camp in Harmanli was built in 2014 as an open reception centre, where the living conditions were extremely basic. By 2016, only two years after the construction of the camp, hot water, basic sanitary facilities and medical help are absent in the camp. On 02.10.2016 nationalists, among whom MEP Angel Dzambazki, the current minister of defence – Krasimir Karakachanov and MP Magdalena Tasheva, marched through the small town with demands the open camp to be turned into a prison and the migrants not to be let out.
One of the reasons quoted were „diseases“ that allegedly were spread by the migrants. A month later, after the nationalists had stirred the hysteria around the camp, the state put it in full quarantine, completely imprisoning all of its inhabitants with a police siege. On a sanitary or a medical level it was proven that such measures were absolutely unnecessary and the whole „spreading diseases“ situation was just like coming out of a Goebbels propaganda book. The migrants, now imprisoned without any right to leave the camp, rebelled on 22.11.2016 bulding barricades and fighting the police with stones. Against them was mobilized the gendarmerie, which got to try its new water canon. However, later on the police raided the camp and brutally and indisciminately beated hundreds of migrants in their rooms and beds. Only in the Afghan wing the injured, among whom several – very seriously, were 125. 21 were sent to court despite the clear evidence of the police brutality and the random mass beatings after the riot. No police was investigated.
We call for actions in solidarity with the 21 rebels from Harmanli. Bulgaria, currently heading the presidency of the EU, its institutions and politicians should be exposed for their total crackdown on migrants and the repeated use of brutal force. Solidarity, justice and freedom for the Harmanli 21!


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