Banner drops along Amsterdam Light Festival route

Today, 2 December, 100 activists from Alarm Phone hung 12 banners with lights on bridges along the Amsterdam Light Festival route. With texts like “Bridges not Borders,” “No One is Illegal” and “Break Down Deadly Borders,” the activists criticize European and Dutch migration policies.

Founded in 2014 as a 24/7 hotline for people on the move in distress at sea, Alarm Phone is in daily contact with people facing non-assistance and violence at the EU’s external borders. The Alarm Phone seeks to organize rescue and meanwhile document the human rights violations that have become normalized.

Banner drops were done during the Amsterstam Light Festival to emphasize that not everyone travelling on a boat is warmly welcomed and given a guided tour. While, for tourists, boats are waiting to be led through the city’s beautiful works of light art, people on the move in the Mediterranean face ruthless and racist policies. Too many of them don’t get off the boat alive. According to the UNHCR, more than 3,000 people died in the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean in 2021. This makes the EU maritime borders the world’s deadliest borders.

Spokesman Toine Hagens said: “From the pushbacks by Greece to the refusal of rescue ships by Italy and from the Turkey deal to the fences in Bulgaria; everything is aimed at stopping people on the move. That the Netherlands is not in the Mediterranean does not mean it is not part in the creation of deadly borders elsewhere. The harmful EU-Turkey deal, for example, was driven also by Dutch politicians, with catastrophic consequences for people on the move in the Aegean Sea.”

The Alarm Phone fights for freedom of movement for all.