Leave 250 behind – the arbitrariness of (not) moving out of Lindenstraße

After the protests of the past two months, there are some changes in Lindenstraße: More and more people are moving out of the camp. It is very clear to us, that this transfers within Bremen are a direct consequence of our intense protests. Some people are sent to places like Zollhaus in Walle or to “Altes Versorgungsamt” around the main station, which is at least an improvement to the conditions in Lindenstraße. But there are also transfers within Bremen which actually deteriorate the situation of the persons affected. And there are many, 250 people, who will be left behind in Lindenstraße.

From one system to another: pushing refugees into the homeless emergency shelters

In the past weeks we could witness that more and more people were sent out of Lindenstraße into the system for homeless people. This happened to persons who got Hausverbot in Lindenstraße as well as to persons who were registered in Lindenstraße but did not sleep there for some days – because they were afraid to get infected, because they were in hospital or because of other reasons. In each case they were deregistered from Lindenstraße when coming back. Also persons that lived in Lindenstraße and already have a Duldung were sent into the homeless system and no longer to smaller refugee accommodations as before.
The system for homeless people is already at its limits. It is affected by the Corona pandemic just as much as the refugee accommodations, as keeping distance and having private space is not possible there. Also here people have to share rooms, but in this case with people they have never seen before and often cannot communicate with. In most of the places there is no possibility to cook and food is not provided. These places are not good for anybody. To empty the camps by sending people into the system for homeless people is just changing the name but not making anything better. It is even another challenge to the system for homeless people as another group – having different problems – is supposed to find a home in the accommodations. 

From one mass accomodation (= a camp) to another

Others are being sent to the camp in Alfred-Faust-Straße in Kattenturm/Obervieland. This camp is a branch of Lindenstraße as central reception center and currently the place where people who arrive in Bremen have to go to register. We estimate that 100-150 people are currently living at Alfred-Faust-Straße. We don’t know much about the situation of Corona in the camp, because there is no information available concerning this. But we are afraid that Alfred-Faust-Straße is the camp that will experience the next Corona-outbreak, because just like in Lindenstraße many people have to share the same facilities, new people are arriving every day and too many people live there already. Alfred-Faust-Straße is yet another big camp with conditions that make life unbearable.
How little sense it makes to send people to Alfred-Faust-Straße we want to explain with the example of three people from Together we are Bremen. Yesterday, the 3, together with 2 other boys from TWAB had just finished their quarantine of four weeks, the last two weeks in a place for homeless people in Osterholz-Tenever, run by Innere Mission. As part of the protest they have been talking at demonstrations, in videos, they have addressed many issues to the AWO-workers in Lindenstraße, one of them handed over our petition to the mayor – they have been visible and taking lots of responsibility. After refusing to get tested again and again whilst having new people join their floor in Lindenstraße, they were two weeks ago suddenly sent to this separate quarantine area at Osterholz-Tenever. Without any information what was going on but lots of police. 
Yesterday as their quarantine was over, 2 were given a paper to go to Zollamt. The other 3 however were told to go to Alfred-Faust-Straße – another crowded camp. They have suffered the uncontrolled outbreak of Covid-19 in Lindenstraße and four long weeks of quarantine and during this several times tested negative! To send them now back to another big camp is risking their physical and mental health. All our joint attempts to talk to social yesterday to convince them to send them to a smaller accommodation were not successful. To the affected persons this truly feels like another punishment for being active, for fighting for the rights of everybody in Lindenstraße. They decided not to go to Alfred-Faust Straße as they fear another quarantine, further punishments like transfers out of Bremen, and, they simply cannot bear the situation any longer.

And Lindenstraße itself?

At the moment of writing this report we don’t know the exact number of people left behind in Lindenstraße. We know that there are still women with very small children and pregnant women. We know that there are still ongoing quarantines. We already know that we have to expect the transfers into other accomodations in Bremen to terminate at a total number of 250 people living there. This is what the social administration has announced following the agreement of the three governing parties (SPD, Grüne, Linke).

Their compromise on the costs of the people living in Lindenstraße shows once again, that the government of Bremen and the social senator are not willing to end the system of inhumane and racist camps – what they could do, if they wanted to.

Refugees are forced to live in camps to isolate them, to break their resilience and to show everyone that they are not wanted. These camps destroy the health of the people who have to live there. Not without reason living in these camps is described as psychological torture by many people who face(d) camp life.

To maintain camps in times of Corona is more than irresponsible. Because we all know that there will be no “after Corona”. What we as people living in Bremen need from our government is a decentralized reception system and fast transfers to small and good accommodations.

This requires a fundamental change and not only some transfers from one system into the other. It is structural racism which is speaking from forcing people to live in camps, it is racism which is speaking from stubbornly insisting that refugees should even during Corona live in these camps. But besides racism, the current situation is also a consequence of misguided housing policies and a lack of cheap housing possibilities in Bremen as well as the restrictions in the access to state housing and state financed/owned flats (Sozialwohnungen) for people with a Duldung.

Therefore we demand: Shut down all camps!

Book hotel rooms now, for as long as the state has no other reasonable housing facilities! Create housing systems with humane living conditions, accommodations where you would send your beloved ones to live! Open the state financed and state owned houses for people with Duldung!   Shut down Lindenstraße! Shut down Alfred-Faust-Straße! Equal rights for everybody!