A few days ago, I posted a series of photos of the refugees who are hunger-striking at the Brandenburg Gate in protest of their living conditions. I took those photographs on Wednesday. In the brief moments that I was there, I found a member of parliment speaking with the protestors and watched an ambulance take away one of the protestors who had fainted. I photographed one man who was lying, huddled, the last image in this post. Rain was coming and going.
A protesting refugee is brought to the hospital after several days without food or water (Wednesday).
I returned Friday morning to find a situation, sombre if less dramatic. By then, there were more helpers – many of them students in Berlin – than protestors. These supporters are organizing blankets, umbrellas and first aid, and handling the constant flow politicians, press, supporters and tourists.
Two of the helpers survey the encampment as a group of striking refugees sit and talk.
The protestors who are still there have an extraordinary strength to them. They have gone without water for days, food for more than a week. Everyone is speaking in soft voices, nobody has the energy for more than that. I asked about half of the people who are still there if I could take their portrait. Two men told me they were too weak, maybe later. Those who said yes did so in the hopes that their faces reach beyond their encampment in Pariser Platz.
A group of refugees have come to the Brandenburg Gate in protest of their dire living conditions, explaining it to the world with a hunger strike. The demonstration began about a week ago on 9 October and shifted to exclude water on Tuesday. The extremity of the strike reflects the dreadful conditions which these people are facing. In many cases, a visa was issued on humanitarian grounds – but one which excludes the right to work, leaving the person with few choices. By the night of 16 October, a large number of the protestors had been taken to the hospital. I’ll leave the rest to the photos.
The group on the first night of the strike, with the Brandenburg Gate lit up for the Festival of Lights behind them.
A request to not enter the encampment’ a no-water area
Green Party member of the Bundestag Hans-Christian Ströbele visits the refugees at the Brandenburg Gate.
A banner behind the group reads “No Person Is Illegal, We Are All Staying”.
The Brandenburg Gate on the night the hunger strike began, lit up for the Festival of Lights.
A striking refugees on day 8 without food, day 2 without water.