[ 19. Oct 2015 ]

'This border kills' - Demonstration in St. Pancras

The demonstration on 16th of Otober 2015 held at the Eurostar terminal in St. Pancras Station, London was a great display of solidarity with people living in Calais who are trying to reach the UK. The 'die-in' and rally of 500 or so people that blocked the station for several hours, caused delays on Eurostar trains, hitting the company where it hurts, which is also the only place it cares about.


Since June this year 15 people we know of have died trying to cross to the UK via the Eurotunnel in Calais, through which Eurostar trains run. The response from Eurostar to these deaths has remained largely at the level of apologetic statements to customers and the press about unfortunate and 'frustrating' delays. Seeing such loss of life as an adminstrative inconvenience (how dare people die on our tracks and delay our trains?) speaks volumes about their lack of humanity.

We were excited to watch coverage of the demo. We welcome similar events and hope that this protest acts as a builder to the one called for :: next weekend. We need to keep applying the pressure on Eurostar, and acts of civil disobedience and protest are important parts of that. The border is not just in Calais.

But some of the messages that the protesters hoped to convey were overshadowed by others. Sitting in pools of fake blood, surrounded by comrades holding up placards reading '15 people died since June' the message 'this border kills' was heard plain and clear.

This border kills! But this message alone can be dangerous. It has been and most likely will be used by the UK and French authoritities and the Eurostar to justify further militarisation of the border. The control logic goes: borders are erected, which makes crossing them a killer, which justifes further controls in order to supposedly protect lives. This border kills. And because of this we must erect more fences, bring in more sniffer dogs, use more tear gas to deter people from crossing, in order to save their lives. We run the risk of doing the states job for them if the message 'this border kills' is screamed alone, because we feed into the sick, skrewy logic that justifies more borders.

The demo didn't come bearing just this message though, but the other messages, conveying less of a strong image, were perhaps harder to make it into the final images of what happened.

The protesters also called for:

« - An immediate response to open the UK borders to migrants and refugees, and a safe and legal route of entry into the country.

- That the UK government stops funding the killing of migrants and refugees through sending money to spend on strengthening the UK/France border.

- The UK and the EU commit to resettling ALL migrants and refugees. The journeys of migrants is not without context, most are fleeing wars which European nations have been, or are still involved with. Not only do these countries have a moral duty to help, they also have the necessary resources and the capacity to do so.

- That the EU stops reproducing a "crisis" discourse to justify the inhuman treatment of migrants and refugees as criminals. It is time for the EU, and the UK in particular, to start fulfilling their moral duty as part of the inventors of the wars and hardships that people are fleeing from.

- That Theresa May shuts down all detention centres and ends the indefinite holding and deportation of vulnerable people. »

If our struggle against the border is to do something other than what works for the state / is compatible with the state, then we need to pay attention to the conclusions and the subsequent messages that 'this border kills' comes with. These other messages are essential to be heard alongside 'this border kills' because they demand other conclusions than the one that justfies further border controls. These other messages express a need for freedom of movement and not control.

Article published first on 17. Oct 2015 in ::