[ 05. Jul 2001 ]

Grenzcamp, 5.-12.7.2001 in Bialystok, Krinki, polnisch-weissrussischen Grenze

We see this as an especially important area for a no-border camp as EU politics demand that Poland take a tighter stand on people from the East, as Belarus heads more in the direction of xenophobic nationalism and as hundreds of thousand of people find it more difficult or even impossible to cross borders to earn a living, visit friends or family or just take a simple vacation.


Stop fortress Europe! Freedom of movement for everybody!

The main focus of this action will not be confrontational but more
educational; we plan meetings with the local population, we plan to make concerts, theater events, information stands, etc.. In addition, we would like to hold seminars and discussions on a wide range of topics.
We plan doing a lot of work with the local population and on making actions that will draw more attention to the border regimes of these two countries and to the problems of border around the world in general.
We invite people from around the world to take part in this project.

The project is initiated and organised by anti-authoritarian activist groups and people from many countries, mainly from Poland, Belarus, Ukraine and Russia (groups are not so big ones so any support and cooperation are very welcome!). Anti-Border Conference will consists of 4 days of workshops, lectures, exhibitions, performances, films, concerts, discussions focus on the border- issue (new visa regulations, closing future Eastern border of E.U. ), migrations, refugees, anti - racism, all types of discrimination (economical, political, sexual, racial etc.), feminism. There will probably be also an action day on the 1st July. Simultaneously (27-30 June)in Warsaw there will be International Anarchist Meetings "Anarchy 2003".

Report from the camp

7 July, Saturday: Police alert in the noborder camp in Krynki, on the Polish eastern border.
At 7 July up to 100 participants of the noborder camp near Krynki village, which is on the border between Poland and Byelorus, went to the centre of the village for making some artistic action/happening which could involve local population, directly affected by the border regime. There they met unexpectedly aggressive police action.

At first, some 50 participants of the camp came to the village centre, and some other groups joined them later. Also some people waited for the beginning of the action in front of the local shop.

The action had to be the artistic happening symbolising the border regime, and everyone was in quite nice, festive mood. But when people came, they met up to 12 police vehicle, 2 water cannons and at least one armoured personal carrier, if not to mention police officers who walked around. It"s quite unusual for Poland and was also shocking for local people who didn"t see such an alert for very long time. So when people gathered in the park, most of these police cars started to go around it, encircling the people and with very loud sound of all the police sirens turned on. Some people started to shout at police, and police attacked activists - not only those who shouted but also those who were simply sitting. Some scuffles began, 4 people were arrested, 3 of them from Krakow and 1 girl from Gdansk. They are released for now, except one Krakow guy who had previously problem with the court and was now transported to Krakow.

According to the information available, police 2 times used the tear gas to some persons. While some of the demonstrators tried to negotiate
with police, explaining that there is no need to provoke people who peacefully gathered for theatrical action, police verbally assaulted negotiators like saying "fuck off" (also in English) or threated with tear gas. When scuffles stopped, a lot of police vehicles, 2 water cannons and APC came to the noborder camp itself which is located some kilometres from the village. There they also made a big noise while, full of policemen, passing the location of the camp with open doors.

But finally they limited themselves to that demonstration of force, while in Krynki happening was anyway made despite strong police presence, and gave a lot of fun as to the camp activists, as also to the local people who watched or participated in it. The activists passed from tree to tree the striped tapes symbolising borders, which they took with themselves, and threw the cabbage and symbolic human heads over these symbolic borders one to another expressing the unnatural nature of the border regime. Everything was quite funny, despite the previous events there was a good mood, and also among local people involved. Also some discussion and speeches took place, in part - on the plight of Tatar people, but also general, with one of local man saying: "I went to Germany for work and was deported from there; now I"m living with small-scale trade with Byelorus and when the border will be closed within some years - I have nothing to live from". P

oland will close eastern borders within 2 years because of will to be EU member.
After the events activists decided to go back to the camp. These events became the prolongation of state services" campaign directed against the camp. While first organisers tried to cooperate with some local officials, they finally were denied by the mayor of the village of any place in Krynki or permission of make any kind of events - would it be demonstration, concert, happening or art exhibition. Afterwards the head of local Palace of Culture was fired from his job, while he tried to cooperate with camp"s organisers.

In Krynki campaign against "extremists who will come with the camp" was started. After such the events and information about "special interest" to the camp from UOP (polish security services) - while this "interest" is itself the source of troubles - camp"s participants expected some kind of pressure and provocations.

Anyway, from the beginning of the camp the noborder activists successfully made press-conference and demonstration in Byalystok town at 6 July. And the action of 7 July turned to our side: local population, while met face-to-face by camp participants, seems to be mostly on our side, while keeping very critical point on stupid and aggressive police activity.
The camp continues. Some 300 people take part in it.

8 July: artistic happening and concert is organised by the noborder activists in the polish village of Krynki. After the events of the previous day, when police aggressively behaved with
the participants of the noborder camp who participated in the artistic happening, the next day activists decided to make again some kind of political-recreational activity into the village park. The concept was to make a "Hyde-park" event dedicated to the border regime and noborder activity.

This time sound equipment was taken, so there was music - recorded and live, which was played by "Rtut"" band from St.-Petersburg, Russia, and by some polish people with the drum. Also there was happening which was organised by people from Byelorus and in which activists from different countries participated, and some speeches by camp participants from different countries, explaining why they came here to Krynki and which is the importance of this camp for them. Leaflets on Polish and posters on Polish, Russian and English were put around on the trees. At the end some people chatted and some danced.

After shameful police behaviour at the previous day, this time police presence was quite low-scale: only some cops and some people in civilian clothes who were evidently the police officers. Also all the time there were patrols of border police on the motorcycles and cars, and camp was closely watched by border police helicopters. Camp participants also visited local orthodox church. At the end of the event, again some 4 police vehicles came and encircled the park, but activists already went to the football game with the local youth which invited the camp participants.

Police made a video of the activists, but not interfered, while the football game was a complete disaster for the noborder activists: 7:2 for Krynki youth team :-)
The next day, 9 July, was mostly dedicated to the workshops and discussions, which also took place in the previous day, while visit to the local mosque was interrupted by the heavy rain.