On September 30th, many people decided to take the streets to protest the unfulfillment of the European governments’ commitments with refugees.
Europe got connected from tens of different places to denounce the failure of the relocation scheme, the slowness of the family reunification processes, the scarcity of pledges in the resettlement program, the total absence of legal structure to back a dignifying existence for many people in the European territories, the consent of the deaths, the violence, the lack of responsibilities and accountability, the abuse of power, and, finally, the constant violation of human rights.
Civil society gathered under the same motto, TIME IS UP!, because we are #SickOfWaiting for the institutions to assume their responsibilities and overcome the lack of political will to build a society that is in for humanity.
The action happened through a transnational event in which the persons decided to build bridges between Athens, the heart of the protest as the emblematic place of the wait and arrival to Europe, and several European locations. For so, we raised a giant sculpture in the shape of half a bridge in the Greek capital city, which found its other half in many spots of the European geography, connecting symbolically these places by means of bridges built among the participants of the events. Bridges for people made by people: TIME IS UP! LET’S BUILD BRIDGES!
In Athens, we organised a march where 800 to 1000 persons from all ages and more than 30 nationalities demonstrated together through the streets of downtown. From Omonia Square to Pedion tou Areos, we could listen to claims like “Open the borders”, “Sick of Waiting”, or “Azadî, Azadî”, requesting the opening of the borders, claiming for an effective protection of our fundamental rights and asking for freedom.
"We are here today because the European governments are constantly failing us all and we are sick of waiting.
We want a world for the people to live with dignity. We want a world where governments protect our human rights, not violate them. Where families can be together, where people can choose where to live in freedom and peace, without borders that stop our lives.
The family reunification is going very slow. The relocation program is not working. The asylum is going wrong. Many people are left out of any systems. The governments want to steal our time, our opportunities and our lives. But they cannot. Because the world belongs to the people, not to the governments, because they don’t have humanity.
Where is the humanity?
The humanity is here!
We are the humanity!
Wake up Europe! We are Sick Of Waiting!!!
Time is Up! Let’s build bridges!”
Once the march was over, a set of activities took place in the park, including the joint construction of the sculpture in the shape of half a bridge designed by the Italian architects Bonaventura Visconti di Modrone and Edoardo Giancola. Solid metal and flying fabric have laid a solid and dreamy path for people to continue on their way.
Thanks to the preparation carried out in two fab labs (Athens Makerspace and Astrolab) during the previous days, we managed to raise the structure on time, so the attendants to the event could paint the bridge that would reach the other places in Europe, projecting our illusions and wishes for the future by means of paintings that cross borders.
While our imagination was drawing new connections in the European geography, the children enjoyed transforming themselves into other beings, discovering the world through the amazing eyes of the clowns from The Flying Seagull Project, and taking part in the collective art creation. Music, information, and links to what was going on simultaneously in the other places in Europe were the ingredients of an afternoon and an evening in which the richness of multicultural diversity and Arts were the main characters.
The peace of this free and respectful coexistence was intentionally interrupted by the moment of the loud protest. At 18:00, Athens time, we, the peoples of Europe, had coordinated to ring the alarms in the whole continent against the unfulfillment of European institutions’ and governments’ commitments with refugees and migrants and against their migration policies.
And Athens got really loud! TIME IS UP! WE ARE SICK OF WAITING!
And the sound spread throughout Europe, and it also arrived in Madrid, where we were moved by different actions starred by persons. We started sharing the experiences lived by refugees and volunteers.
We could get a closer look at what has been happening in Lesvos from 2015 to date, the experiences that build the way from Sudan to Spain, or the day to day in Melilla regarding the wall and the detention centres. Together with the attendants to the event, the artist Ana Caos built a sculpture in the shape of half a bridge to connect Madrid with Europe.
Different people left their message of solidarity with the refugees in a structure that reflected the number of people that Spain should have hosted using the ropes that created the bridge as they interlaced.
The info points in which the participants could get information about the status of the hosting programs and about ways to collaborate were really successful; they were constantly crowded and the citizenship proved that Europe does want to welcome the people who have been waiting for a solution for years while fleeing a conflict that has split their lives into two.
At five o’clock, after a minute of silence, we formed an enormous circle symbolizing the clock that denounces that the time for the governments is over, and Madrid rang their alarms with the rest of Europe. Around 300 people attended the event, where we could also enjoy drums, pipe bags, and the concerts of Rosalinda Galán, VON, and Amigo Buster.
In Amsterdam, we built the other half of the bridge that would join the Dutch capital city with the Greek one with a giant bamboo structure designed by Narda Beumer.
In a day presided by the social protest, Amsterdam’s bridge was a real example of collective creation.
Once finished, lots of photographs of members of Let’s bring them here! and of refugees appeared on the bamboo structure, and, as they were displayed, they formed the faces of other people, taking over the bridge and transporting them to other places. At 17:00, Amsterdam time, the alarms started sounding out loud, connecting us with the rest of Europe.
Santiago de Compostela built a musical bridge from the joint choral action in which five choirs interpreted a simple arrangement of a theme of Lenine called A Ponte.
Coro da Ra, Coro Encaixe, Picoro, Coro sin Nombre, and Coro da Escola Estudio, accompanied by the audience, turned into positive energy a brief and intense moment in which the loud protest and the bridge initiatives merged into one, creating one of the moments with more rhythm of the transnational event.
The TIME IS UP! LET’S BUILD BRIDGES! gathering in Lyon started as a challenge due to strong and unexpected rain, but we managed to overcome it and it ended up being a success. We had to readapt the event because of the sudden change of weather but, once more, the people gathered to make the best of themselves and among several organizations and individuals, we managed to build a great and colourful woollen bridge designed by the artist Sofia Yanes Buraya.
At 17:00, the noise took over the streets of the Place des Terraux to wake the European governments and the people who live in the continent up. The rumble conquered the surroundings of the square and it could be even heard from the town hall.
In Donosti a poetic-musical recital was organized with the title "Acogida sí, Guerra no. Poetas y artistas unidos” (“Yes to welcome, Not to war. Poets and artists united”) 30 poets recited, a musician of the symphony orchestra enlivened the act with the bell and the guitar. A duet of poets made a small recital accompanied by piano inside the recital. Refugees and volunteers shared their experiences and recited some poems in Arabic, Spanish and Euskera (Basque).
Each one of the participating children made an artist's book based on the story "the journey" by Francesca Sanna, which was taken to their homes. The bad weather didn’t allow us to set up a photo exhibition on the street. Throughout the recital, Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” was sounding the whole time, reminding us that we only have one Moon, one Sun, and one Planet for all, and still we insist on filling it in with borders.
In Benasque, Pyrenees of Huesca, we gathered fifteen people in the main square, next to the bridge. We demonstrated for fifteen minutes, we read a manifesto that we also spread in the social media, and we finished taking a picture on the bridge.
From this corner of the Pyrenees, we want to join different mobilizations in support of refugees, not only stuck in Greece, where several volunteers from the valley have been collaborating, but stranded in other places. As our manifesto says "It is not a humanitarian crisis, it is a Crisis of Humanity".
In Alicante, the protest’s motto was”Trae tu silla vacía” ("Bring your empty chair"). It consisted on bringing to the event empty chairs that represented the people who are yet to arrive and be relocated by the government; on them, we placed photographs and names of the refugees we are waiting for. Several volunteers spoke and denounced the situation, providing information and data to all those attending. We also read various poems, proclaiming peace, solidarity, empathy and the desire to unite the peoples, to live with the whole humanity, and to treat all human beings as equals. A refugee, who is currently in Alicante with his wife and children, told us his experience and expressed a deep appreciation for having been able to reach Alicante and start a new life; it was very moving.
We also marched in community through the streets of Valencia.
Besides reading the manifesto, we carried out a theatre play and several artists shared poetic readings about exile. Live music, performances, and lots of artistic expressions gave shapes, sounds, and colours to the energy that we shared and that was travelling free to other Mediterranean coasts, connecting people, joining the peoples.
Rome was connected from the camp of Baobab Experience and, from the sound of their alarms, an energy arose so strong that it awoke the consciences of the worst kind of blind people, those who do not want to see.
From Córdoba we wanted to build bridges through music thanks to the cantaora Anabel Castillo, who sang her own creation, a fandanguillo claiming for equality and oneness among the human beings who inhabit this planet.
We also carried other demos out in Darmstadt, León, Ferrol, Mérida, Como, Zaragoza, Cádiz, A Coruña, Logroño, Alàquas, Vigo, Pontevedra, Ourense, Cangas de Morrazo,... Each one showed and proved the will of the citizenship to make the brotherhood of the peoples a reality . Every gathering dismantled the hate-fear-separation-death speeches, and filled its space with understanding, with love, with unity, with life.
In London several families gathered in a square, where we drew a world with chalk and the kids and other participants filled it in with play-doh bridges, connecting the different countries do the people could cross the borders.
Listening to the sound of drums, the neighbours showed their interest and willingness to dialogue. They could express themselves freely about the migrants and refugees topic and many people reinforced their will to keep on generating awareness about it.
In Sevilla, we gathered at the emblematic Triana Bridge, from which we connected the transnational call by means of performances, music, texts and poems. Guadalquivir River became the Mediterranean Sea thanks to the voice of Abraham Carmona, to denounce the migration policies and the unfulfilment of our governments.
The bridge was filled in with words, with information, with opportunities to know what’s going on and how we can collaborate to avoid it.
The people who attended the call in Bilbao not only faced the institutional incompetence and the lack of solidarity of the European governments, but also the inclement weather. The social claim and the request of dignifying hosting conditions were the mottoes of a demonstration of a society who is searching for justice and solidarity, not for charity, to be the engine for our development. As citizens, we are not gonna keep silent while we see the weapons leaving our port to kill our brothers and sisters in exchange for money.
The people carry on arriving to Europe, they keep on fleeing the wars and the alarms continue ringing out loud because the Time is Up! Ongi Etorri Errefuxiatuak!
Peñafiel also joined TIME IS UP! People who were linked to solidarity groups to support refugees, among whom there were 140 scouts from Castilla y León and some volunteers, gathered to back the ost of migrants and refugees in Europe through a performance symbolizing the opening of the borders.
In Huesca we marched noisy and energetic, being aware that time is over, that we cannot wait any longer, that our governments are not complying with their commitments and that we want a world without borders for the people.
The alarms of Europe need to be activated to wake up the citizenship, to avoid keeping the injustices silent, to express our disagreement with the inhuman behaviours, and our will to stand together with the others.
From Salamanca, we completed the bridge that was joining us with Athens with one full of wishes, welcomes, and statements against war and pro refugees. The protest became a loud claim for solidarity and hosting.
We asked where are those who are still to come, we made our willingness to meet them visible and we stated that we all want to be able to continue with our lives with dignity.
The French capital city also chose to build a musical bridge and in Paris we could enjoy the concert La Gamelle de Jaures, in which the people gathered to support the refugees.
There was also an exhibition in which the artist Laetitia Lesaffre showed some of her photographic and painting artworks about the topic of exile. Time is up and Arts, once more, has given us humanity back and connected us all beyond the borders.
Elche stood up for solidarity and we expressed solidly our commitment to welcome refugees and our disagreement with the institutional management. We counted on drums group to put a powerful sound to our protest and, following the rhythm of the drums, our hearts vibrated with the rest of Europe.
A woman walked during an hour through the Elsenbrücke Bridge in Berlin with her umbrella. She had written on it #SickOfWaiting and, with this simple action, she tried to bring the protest closer to the people crossing the bridge. She wasn’t alone, she was with all of us, because we were merging our hearts with hers, beating together following the rhythm of humanity.
Santurtzi joined Time is Up! by means of a tender performance that showed the welcoming spirit of their citizens.
Love and solidarity presided an event that transmitted the frustration that the situation the people, who come to Europe looking for a home and the hope of a multicultural society that wants to live in peace, are currently facing.
All throughout Europe we could also hear the voices launched from Malaga favouring the host of refugees and the oneness of the peoples. We expressed the absence of sense in the fact that origins are the determining factor of the way people fleeing violence will be treated in the new place.
In Munich several people, by bicycle and on foot, rang the alarms at 17:00 so Europe could hear out loud that we are sick of waiting for our governments to assume de facto their pending commitments with the refugees.
Asturias also raised the voices of the people to protest against the aberrant treatment that Europe is giving to those seeking refuge to carry on with their lives. Time is up, the situation keeps on being dramatic, and the alarms are ringing because the institutions keep on avoiding to warrant the human rights.
In Valladolid we also gathered to demonstrate for the refugees and against the unfulfillment of the governments’ hosting commitments. We would have loved to do so in an atmosphere of freedom and for a longer time, but some other people showed up and surrounded us to prevent us from it.
They popped up spontaneously to demonstrate for a different cause at the same time and they proved their need to learn how to live in community and to tolerate, as they wanted to conquer the place, forcing us to leave escorted by the police, who rejected identifying the members of the other demo who were insulting us. Have a look to the news here.
Our demo, which had been called according to the legal proceedings and before the other, was very quick, but we managed to set up a photo exhibition and to gather respectfully and peacefully. The forced fugacity didn’t prevent us to be the example of the society we are, a society that places the people before the territories.
* This is a peaceful movement that respects humanity in its diversity and the planet in which it lives. It rejects violence, unsupportive, xenophobic, sexist and irreverent behaviors towards different sexual choices and religious and spiritual beliefs. Any demonstration of support that moves away from this line of action is obviously automatically excluded from #SickOfWaiting.