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Fortress Europe: Bare Life kicked out of Morocco

Report about the work with refugees and migrants of Bare Life. Fortress Europe and the state of Morocco don’t want to have any eyewitnesses so Bare Life was kicked out of Morocco.

Originally published by Bare Life. Image above: Border wall in Morocco. Image by Bare Life.

Note: Enough is Enough is not organizing any of these events, we are publishing this text for people across the US and Europe to be able to see what is going on and for documentation only.

Fortress Europe: Bare Life kicked out of Morocco

On their way to Europe thousands of african refugees,mostly subsaharians,pass through Morocco,.Although there is no official number,there are estimated to be tens of thousands every year.The vast majority of them are illegalised and have no rights.Life and survival in Morocco is hard for them and varies from one city to the other.In the bigger cities they have some small protection such as housing or social centers,however,in the coastal,border town of Nador the passengers of the forest survive (when they manage to survive) in inhumane conditions residing in make shift camps.

Althought this situation in Nador has already existed for more that 25 years the european media stay silent about it.This shouldn’t bring anyone to surprise since it is Europian Union itself that is funding the harassment and oppression of the refugees in order to keep them as far from fortress Europe as possible.Morocco receives big sums of money to be the watchdog of Europe,guarding its borders.

Since Europe and Morocco want to keep the refugee crisis as secret as possible there are no official registration and deportation centers .The migrants live there without having any rights and get deported to the south borders of the country whenever they get tracked down by the cops and arrested, so they cannot go around to the town.A part of the money that Morocco receives is spent on brutal police raids in the forest where they camp.Raids happen several times per week. They aim to arrest people,evict their livingspaces and sustain them in a state of constant fear and instability. The police destroys and burns everything that people leave behind when they flee towards the mountains to hide and protect themselves.

Another part of the money goes to making and guarding the fences of Melilla,the nearby spanish enclave,higher and more difficult to cross.Melilla is the second way the migrants try to enter Europe,apart from crossing the Mediterranean by paying several thousands of euros to smugglers.Whenever there is a crossing “action” hundreds of people form crossing groups in the hope that some of them will manage to reach the other side of the fence while the police is distracted.There,they are either deported back to Morocco or are taken to CETI,Melilla’s registration center,a place that is very little taken care of and the conditions for the migrants in it are so bad that some people prefer to live in the streets.

Even more,apart from the state and police repression the subsaharians are confronted by everyday racism and violence by some of the locals.

Under these circumstances we decided to start a refugee support project in Nador under the name Bare Life.After realising that in every neighbourhood there are many police informants and the police knows and controls everything about the subsaharians and the people that are in contact with them,we decided to proceed legally and try to create a social center.

We rented a house in Xchadia,a small village next to the forest where the passengers have the safety to walk around during the day.For several months we were trying to negotiate with the local authorities to allow us to open the social center without any risk for the passengers.This process was very tiring and frustrating since the authorities were very negative towards us and were mostly trying to mislead and intimidate us.They were afraid of us being journalists since journalism is illegal without permission in Morocco and they did not want us to expose the situation in Nador and the violations of human rights that are happenning there.Simultaniously,we were being checked and intimidated by the police on a regular basis.

After being fed up of waiting,on the Tuesday the 3rd of April we decided to open up the social center only for the locals of the village in an effort to show our willingness to to be cooperative with the officials and create a bond of trust.However,a few hours after our opening the local authorities came accompanied by the police and forced us to close the center.Within a few days after that, our house owner was threatened by the police in order to kick us out.From that moment we realised we would never get the permission by the authorities and decided to change the nature of our activities into driving to the forests and distributing food,clothes,blankets,tarps for their tents and anything else they needed.However,unfortunately we never managed to do so.
Only 3 days after we moved to a new house in a different area inside the town of Nador, the cops showed up in front of the house and arrested an algerian friend of ours that was staying with us.We went to the police department to find out where he was being taken and the police once again lied and intimidated us.The next morning,on Monday the 16th of April,we went there again and requested to be informed where our friend was.The police’s response was to give us 24 hours to leave the country or otherwise they would arrest us,keep us for 72 hours which they would make very hard and unpleasant,deport us and ban us from the country.They didn’t give any reason or explanation for this whatsoever.We immediately contacted our embassies, only to find out that they have no power at all on this matter and this is something that happens very often there.

We all decided to leave the country within the 24 hours.We are all safe and we have had contact with our friend,who,as we found out later,was deported to Algeria, and confrimed he is also safe.However, the migrants still live there,they still need help and the situation in Nador and in Morocco is not changed.

Europe is using its colonialist power to opress,isolate and kill people while it wants to maintain the wealth and the priviliges it has for itself.In the meantime hundreds of thousand of people are going through a living hell in their effort to cross its borders.





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