Friday, September 3, 2010
Demo against discrimination on Lowlands festival -video + letter
Spirit Of Squatters Collective
Spirit Of Squatters Collective : This is solidarity action(like most of our videos). The solidarity is stronger when it is seen by as many people as possible.So...Please use it ! Pass this info to everybody who could be interested !!!
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Letter send to The Security Company:
Dear Sir, Madam,
Our reason for being here today is the fact that we are concerned about the events that occurred during the Lowlands festival regarding people, mostly with the Polish nationality, that had been collecting cups. We are shocked about the fact that employees of “The Security Company” had kicked out around 30 people of the Polish nationality from the festival terrain without their personal belongings. The reason for this being that they had been collecting too many plastic cups.
In our opinion it was a highly discriminatory practice!
One woman who was detained by “The Security Company” was treated brutally; she was thrown on the ground and searched by a male security guard . If the security guards had acted correctly, why did they delete all the pictures showing incriminating evidence from the mobile phones of other witnesses?
The first explanation that came from the side of the security guards was that the people removed from the festival had been collecting “too many plastic cups”- but when the organizers emphasized in their statement that there was no limit for collecting cups- the security guards changed their version of what exactly happened and claimed that these people were kicked out because of aggressive behavior.
All the victims had been kicked out without their personal belongings without the right to get them back from the festival camping grounds. A witness, who asked what was happening, was also removed from the festival after showing a Polish ID, despite having collected only two cups. Security randomly asked people that were collecting cups if they where of Dutch nationality. In addition, according to the witnesses of the whole event, the Dutch cup collectors had not been bothered by the security at all. Moreover, detained women were forced to use the toilet with open doors and security staff staring at them.
A female victim in her statement asserted: “I have been also kicked out as one of the first from the festival terrain. The first thing they asked was my nationality. Three security employees took me to a place which, when I think about it now, looked like a place prepared only for the cup collectors. All the people possessing hard drugs or acting very aggressive were took into some other place. I was treated without respect, they pushed me many times and didn’t want to talk to me or explain anything. I have seen somebody being beaten up by the security. I took some pictures of it but they confiscated my mobile phone and deleted all of them. I wasn’t allowed to go back to the festival camp to get my stuff back. One of the security guards informed me that we are treated like this because we (the Polish cup collectors) are the organized criminal group (!).”
One male victim who has been badly beaten up, has receive a fine for 500 euro’s and is charged with the attempted murder of a security guards and imprisoned for three days.
Lowlands Festival is described as a “paradise” by its organizers, but it turned out to be a nightmare for many participants. During this festival Polish people had been confronted with an unprecedented violation of their rights, discrimination and xenophobia. It is clear that the security guards abused their position, and thought they have rights that even the police don't have. To us it is unclear who has the final responsibility for these heavy handed tactics. Were these actions approved by the festival organizers or did the security staff act on their own initiative?
As a response to our accusations, we expect that especially a security company cannot wait until the court will do justice, and will investigate their own working process and company structure. As a security company you have the responsibility to guarantee the professionalism of your services, keeping in mind that you do not have the right to take away personal belongings, remove pictures from mobile phones and violate basic privacy standards. It is up to the professional mediation and natural authority of your workers, to guarantee a good and save environment. In the case of the Lowlands festival "The Security Company" failed to achieve this.
We hope that all the victims of that event will bring this case to the court, because in our opinion the members of the security staff acted unprofessionally and furthermore showed a high level of disrespect and xenophobia towards people of Polish nationality.
In our opinion the whole case remains unfinished and we as an international group of activists will seek to justify and clarify it till the end.
Social Initiative "Common Cause"