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THE EUROPEAN Union’s border force (Frontex) and the system it spearheads should be abolished, activists at protests in cities across Europe demanded today.
Marking the launch of Abolish Frontex, an activist network comprised of over 50 groups campaigning against the EU’s border policies, demonstrators gathered outside the agency’s Brussels headquarters this morning, plastering it in red paint and posters with the campaign’s demands.
“The policies of Fortress Europe have killed over 40,555 people since 1993,” Abolish Frontex said in an open letter published today.
“Left to die in the Mediterranean, the Atlantic and the desert, shot at borders, died by suicide at detention centres, tortured and killed after being deported — the EU has blood on its hands.”
At the centre of this violence, the campaign warn, lies Frontex, which “has now secured a €5.6 billion (£4.8bn) budget until 2027 and, by then, will have its own army of 10,000 armed border guards.”
Elsewhere, today, life jackets were floated in the lake in front of the Dutch parliament in The Hague, Abolish Frontex’s message was spread at demonstrations across Germany, and protesters staged banner drops outside an EU building in Austria.
Campaigners also gathered outside Frontex’s local headquarters on the Canary Islands, where they highlighted the estimated 200 people that have drowned trying to reach the Spanish islands so far this year.
Human right campaigners and refugee rescue-and-support organisations have in recent years accused Frontex of aiding the forced returns of refugees to war-torn Libya.
Lawyers filed a case against the agency at the EU Court of Justice last month for its alleged involvement in the pushback of refugees from Greece across the Aegean Sea to Turkey.
“[Europe’s] policies are built on a narrative that frames migration as a security problem, depicting desperate people on the move as a threat,” Abolish Frontex said.
“They’ve been designed in close collaboration with the military and security industry, which is making billions of euros in profits as a result.
“These policies don’t protect lives. They put them in danger. They fuel the rise of the far right across Europe, they reinforce racism, and build on centuries of colonialism, oppression and exploitation."
As well as campaigning for the complete abolition of Frontex, the group is also calling for an end to deportations, the militarisation of Europe’s borders, the surveillance and detention of migrants and refugees, the criminalisation of solidarity efforts, the export of weapons to and support of repressive regimes, and for the regularising of migrants, the release of NGO rescue ships, and free movement for all.
Frontex has been approached for comment.
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