Svilengrad is a small town in the border region where alot of inward and outward migration takes place but without much active opposition to the nationalistic Bulgarian state attitude on migration and miltarisation of the borders. On Friday (26th August) hundreds of people from the No Borders camp organised actions in the town to demonstrate against Frontex who have a regional office in the town centre, to commemorate that hundreds of people have died trying to arrive in the region without official status and to discuss migration issues with people who live in the area.
Street displays A large world map was presented in different locations along the main street and people invited to draw onto it with pens their histories of migration. People who lived in the area often initially responded that they’d lived in the town all their lives, but it turned out to be more indirect than that. People from the No Borders camp got going discussions about why people move and why States try to stop people from free movement. There were lots of positive conversations and people taking part.
Demonstration against Frontex (more info about Frontex here). Hundreds of people gave out flyers with information about a detention centre recently built in the region and walked to the office of the Border Agency, who carry out joint operations with Frontex. Shoes were laid and candles lit to symbolically draw attention to the inhumane cruelty of Frontex’ s work. These actions made the front page of a local newspaper,with a photo and caption: “hundreds of young people from EU countries demonstrated yesterday for rights for migrants and refugees”. It ignored the political angle of border control systems and just went for a humanitarian focus, but is pretty good for a generally very very nationalistic country. Another newspaper reported that the young demonstrators broke windows, attacked people and were naked, which was definitely not true, but shows how much reporters can twist things! The possibility of suing the newspaper is being investigated by people at the Camp.