01 November 2016
BULGARIA: Over the Line: Bulgaria Welcomes Refugees With Attack Dogs and Beatings (The Intercept, link):
"Bulgaria’s border police are engaged in a game of questionable legality, both when they force asylum seekers out and when they let them in. They routinely use violence — not only to send particular asylum seekers away, but to make sure that the larger stream of refugees turns elsewhere. Unless the refugees pay.
...The land border between Bulgaria and Turkey is about 160 miles long, and currently only the western half of it is fenced. This side consists of rolling, arid farmland. The unfenced, eastern part spans nearly 50 miles of low, forested mountains whose thick, tall trees are intercut with winding trails. Refugees and smugglers call this “the jungle.”
Sometimes, the smugglers explained, groups of refugees would try to cross through the jungle without paying the police. Sometimes, the smugglers would deliberately not pay, having kept the passengers’ money for themselves. If the passengers were caught crossing without paying, they said, Bulgarian police would always return the group to Turkey, often violently.
That, the two smugglers said, was official policy."
And see: Frontex: Joint Operational Flexible Operational Activities 2015 Land: South Eastern borders operational area: Serious Incident Report: Alleged violation of fundamental rights: censored and uncensored (pdfs)
FRANCE: After Calais, police move in to clear encampments in Paris
"French police begun Friday a major operation to move thousands of migrants who have living on the streets of northeastern Paris, just over one week after thousands more were moved from a larger camp in Calais.
Officers backed by riot police converged early on Friday morning on the streets around Stalingrad subway station, where an estimated 3,000 migrants and refugees had been living rough.
A total of eighty-two buses were used to transport them to eighty different temporary shelters around the French capital."
See: French police clear thousands of migrants living rough on streets of Paris (France 24 link) and: Paris Is the New Calais, With Scores of Migrants Arriving Daily (The New York Times, link): "In a pattern that has not varied for months, the migrants establish themselves on the sidewalks of Paris, their numbers gradually swell over a period of weeks, and then the police come to clear them out."
Migrant crisis: 'Hundreds dead' in shipwrecks off Libya (BBC News, link):
"More than 200 migrants are believed drowned in two shipwrecks off the coast of Libya, migration officials say.
The UN refugee agency was told the news by survivors brought ashore on the Italian island of Lampedusa, spokeswoman Carlotta Sami said.
Twelve bodies have been recovered."
EU: 725 More Mediterranean Migrant Deaths Than This Period Last Year (IOM, link):
"An estimated 725 more migrants have died in the Mediterranean so far in 2016 compared to the same period (January to 4 November) in 2015. This is after 240 migrants went missing and are presumed dead after two shipwrecks on Wednesday (02/11) in the Mediterranean between Libya and Italy.
These latest tragedies bring the grim tally of migrant deaths in 2016 to 4,220, making this already the deadliest year ever recorded. In 2015 some 3,770 migrants and refugees died trying to cross the Mediterranean."
Italians throw party to welcome migrants in Milan (The Washington Post, link):
"More than 1,000 Italians on Tuesday threw a block party featuring a pasta lunch, a brass band and crafts to welcome some 80 migrants to the neighborhood in Milan, contrasting with rising anti-migrant tensions throughout the country including a protest at the barracks the night before.
Shouts of welcome went up as a small contingent of about 30 migrants came out of a recently repurposed army barracks for what was billed as the first welcome party of its kind in Italy."
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