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Barchem 4 - The case

Netherlands

On a night in late October 2009, an incident occurred at a mink fur farm in Barchem (East-Holland), resulting in the release of 5,000 mink, most of which were never re-captured.

The Dutch police subsequently arrested four people who were accused of releasing the mink from the farm. The police proceeded to raid three apartments, taking all computers, digital devices, shoes, and various other items.

Three of the four defendants were remanded in prison (for between 4 weeks - 3 months), with strict restrictions and inadequate food. They were then released on bail pending a court case. The fourth was released from police custody after three days.

The defendants have been on bail for over 2 years, pending a court case on the 25th and 27th of September 2012.

 

Below you can read the official statement from some of the defendants of the "barchem 4" case.

These words are for every one of us who has ever felt helpless against an enemy a thousand times larger than yourself.

In the last years the repression against every liberation struggle has increased. In different countries the attention of the authorities has focused on different movements, but the substance remains the same: state and governments protect the abusers, not the abused. They protect the perpetrators, not the victims. They protect those who rape, kill and enslave. Not those who challenge the very existence of the cages.

To do this, they are using new laws, special police units, more and better surveillance techniques.

In this recent case against the animal liberation movement, those who write have been accused of a crime: to allegedly have set free almost 5,000 minks from their cages, where they would have lived a life of fear, distress and confinement before being killed and made into fur coats, at a fur farm in the dutch village of Barchem.

For this reason we will face trial the 25th and 27th of September in Holland.

We’ll not spend more words on this specific event, considering that the trial is yet to come, but we’d like to offer our perspective to the movement, about what repression is doing, about what repression really means to us.

Repression needs to be dealt with head on. It needs to be expected, we need to be prepared and ready to accept the consequences of challenging the actual state of things. Without this awareness we are going to live our lives in fear and not fight in any kind of effective way. Repression is born out of effectiveness. Every action has a reaction, that is why governments and police step in to stop effective ways of achieving our aims. If we were being ineffective, then nothing would be done to stop us because the authorities would not care.

We need to accept the idea of repression, if what we want is to create a struggle that will make any kind of change. Repression and effective change are basically two sides of the same coin. The worst reaction to repression is for us to run scared. This gives repression it's power. We as a movement choose how we react to repression, and whether we can allow it to affect us or not. Continuing with the campaigns they try to stop is the absolute best way to challenge and fight repression. Come back harder, better, more organized, stronger, and more prepared. Expect and deal with repression in order to lower the impact when it happens.

Learn from each others mistakes and empower our strategies. Otherwise, we leave the authorities with a blueprint that they can use to trample out any other kind of dissent, in any other kind of movement.

This is the way they work: they hit one of us to teach a thousand. This is the very aim of arrests and house raids, of isolation and imprisonment. It’s their best weapon: to instill the fear in our heads to make us harmless, to make us silent.

For this reason, while we face this trial we’d like everyone to remember that we, too, have our weapon. Is a weapon stronger than theirs because is built on compassion and rage, it’s based on dedication and sincerity between people who share the same sense of urgency: it’s called solidarity.

Solidarity means supporting each other in times of need, but also fighting back, not letting the fear win over our lives or stop us being effective. It means coming together as a movement, with all our strengths, skills, and abilities. And ultimately, coming togethe through our shared aim; ending the ruthless exploitation of our fellow living beings and of the planet that host us all.

Solidarity is the key to keep every struggle alive and to create amovement that they’ll never be able to break.

Because no one is free, until ALL are free.

 

Some defendants in the "Barchem 4" case.

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