Tag Archives: Fortress Europe

No Borders Activists Arrested and Tortured in Belgium

7 October 2010

This is an urgent Pluto  Press action mail. It includes shocking details of police brutality towards one of our authors and others during the No Borders Camp in Brussels. We ask those who feel that the actions of the police are unacceptable to email the Belgian Ambassador in their territory.

Pluto author arrested and tortured in Belgium

Shocking news reaches us via Red Pepper about police brutality towards our author and other activists during the No Borders Camp in Brussels. Last Friday, October 1 2010, during the No Border Camp, a convergence of struggles aiming to end the system of borders that divide us all, Marianne Maeckelbergh (US citizen and professor at the University of Leiden, Netherlands), a former Red Pepper worker, current contributor and a long-time global justice activist and the author of The Will of the Many: How the Alterglobalisation Movement Is Changing the Face of Democracy, was arrested for taking pictures while police were making arrests in Brussels, Belgium.

Having just entered Belgium some two hours earlier, she witnessed violent arrests on the street. When Marianne began taking pictures, she was arrested. She was taken into police custody where she was violently dragged by her hair, chained to a radiator, hit, kicked, spat upon, called a whore, and threatened with sexual assault by the police. She also witnessed the torture of another prisoner also chained to a radiator.

This did not take place not in a dark corner of the police station but out in the open, directly witnessed by police station authorities, who gave the impression that this was standard practice. Police removed her ID card, USB stick, the camera with the photos on it, as well as 25 euros in cash – to date they have refused to return her property.

Roughly 500 people were arrested, many preemptively, including people involved in the No Borders Camp and other protest activities including an alleged attack on a police station. Marianne has now been released, but as of Wednesday 6 October, 2010 at least four people are still incarcerated.

Your help is needed to secure the release of the remaining prisoners and to demand that the police are held accountable.


  • If you are in the UK, call, email or fax Belgium’s UK Ambassador, H.E. Ambassador Johan Verbeke to demand the immediate release of all prisoners and express your outrage at the torture, abuse, and unjust incarceration of Marianne and others.
  • Ambassador’s Secretariat Tel: 020 7470 3700 Ann.Willems@diplobel.fed.be, Katja.Wauters@diplobel.fed.be
  • If you are based elsewhere, contact the Belgiam Ambassador for your country. A list of ambassadors can be found on Wikipedia, but please cross-check with another source before using, as it appears to be incomplete and out of date in some cases.
  • For more information, contact Adam Weissmanadam@wetlands-preserve.org.


Filed under activism, immigration, international affairs, open letters, manifestos, appeals, political repression, protests

Nigerian Asylum Seeker Dies in Switzerland

Nigerian asylum seeker dies in Switzerland


A Nigerian man on hunger strike has died on the tarmac at Zurich airport after Swiss authorities tried to deport him using a special flight to deport asylum seekers. Switzerland has since halted the use of special flights to deport asylum seekers following the unfortunate incident.

Hundreds of African immigrants and asylum seekers annually die while attempting to relocate to Europe and United States in search of comfort and better living conditions.

Swiss police say the 29-year old Nigerian man was shackled and was being forcibly deported along with 15 other Nigerians whose asylum bids had been rejected.

When he fell ill on Wednesday this week, the police took off his shackles and a doctor tried in vain to revive him.

Swiss authorities have launched an investigation into the incident.

Police said they had shackled the man because he had resisted deportation. Two Nigerian witnesses quoted by the Swissinfo news website accused the police of inhumane treatment.

“They treated us like animals,” said one, called Emmanuel.

“They shackled our feet, knees, hands, hips, arms and torso and made us wear a helmet like those worn by boxers. It was simply impossible to move,” he said.

Thousands of Africans have died while attempting such missions to relocate to Europe or United States in search of comfort and improved conditions of service.

Some have died of thirty in deserts, others have drowned in deep sea waters while others have suffocated while being transported to their planned destinations of choice.


National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns (NCADC)
86 Durham Road
N7 7DT

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Filed under immigration, international affairs

News from the Manifesto Club


Today marks the submission of the Manifesto Club petition against the points-based visa system to 10 Downing Street, with over 10,000 signatures. To mark this, we have released a dossier including the most striking cases submitted to us over the past year, of the artists, musicians, dancers, writers and academics who have been shut out of the UK by these suspicious and closed-minded visa rules. Read the dossier here, and read about it in today’s Guardian newspaper.


A final reminder about tonight’s meeting, run in partnership with the writer’s organisation English PEN, and the new hub for free thinking and exchange, the Free Word Centre. Speakers now include the human rights barrister Helena Kennedy QC, the Lib Dem culture spokesman Lord Clement Jones, English Pen director Lisa Appignanesi, and Josie Appleton.

Only a few places remain – reserve yours here.

ELECTION 2010: ‘BATTLE FOR POLITICS’ – Saturday 20 March

We will have a campaign stall at the Institute of Ideas’ pre-election summit, the Battle for Politics this Saturday. The event is co-organised by the Manifesto Club’s Dolan Cummings, and James Panton will be speaking at the session ‘The Welfare State: Grasping the Nettle’. It would be great to see you if you can make it – pop by to our campaign stall to say hello, and get involved in the debate about what the election should be about.

We intend to put freedom at the heart of the 2010 election debate. As part of this, we’ll launch the final series of our Thinkpiece series, citizens’ political proposals for politics and policy, and put pressure election candidates to come out against the vetting database. More later…


Adrian Hart’s report, The Myth of Racist Kids, sparked a great deal of media discussion when it was launched last year. Now it has received a series of critical responses from education policy circles, which are collated here.

We hear that the government wants to put children on ‘hate registers’ for comments judged to be racist/homophobic/sexist – see our response to this ludicrous proposal here. If you have examples of how ‘hate’ incident reporting is criminalising children, and taking the police into the playground, you can send these to Adrian Hart who is keeping track of all these developments.


Our Visiting artists campaign is on the French culture website horschamp.org; Josie Appleton criticises ‘hate registers’ for kids on First Post; Dolan Cummings writes the Manifesto Club submission to an Anti-CCTV strategy; Valerie Hartwich challenges the UK Visa system on CNN India; The Myth of Racist Kids is discussed in the Daily Mail and spiked-online; James Panton debates the ethics of supermarkets on BBC Radio 2’s The Jeremy Vine Show on March 4, and reviewed the newspapers on Sky News on 16 March; Josie Appleton was on LBC radio on 4 March discussing homophobic incident reporting…… More media news here.

That’s all for now folks. If you like what we’re doing and want to help us to continue doing it – join the Manifesto Club

Editors’ Note: We have reprinted this news from the Manifesto Club in gratitude for their support of comrades who have been refused entry to the UK or deported therewith. We do not, however, endorse most of the political positions taken in the club’s various campaigns.

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Filed under activism, immigration, international affairs