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Migrants in a tent camp on the Belarus-Poland border near the Bruzgi checkpoint told Ruptly on Tuesday how they obtained a Belarusian visa and what they expect from their stay at the border.
Aman, a migrant woman from Iraq, said her family members and she received their visas in Turkey and only then came to the territory of Belarus.
In addition, the woman said that all migrants at the border intend to go to Germany. According to Aman, transport to pick them up had already been sent from Germany.
“Germany sent cars for us but the Polish police refused [them] to go,” the woman said, noting that she learned about it from the news.
Another migrant from Iraq, Mohammed, said he had purchased a so-called visa ‘package,’ a visa, a 14-day hotel stay, and health insurance for 2.600 dollars (2.242 euros) per person. However, after three days in the hotel, he and other migrants who used such a service were kicked out.
“I paid 2.600 dollars for a visa for everyone, for me, for my mom, my wife, and my brother. There are 12 people, we have two families, me and my brother… It’s for a visa, hotel, and health [ insurance]. And they said that the company said, ‘You have 14 days to stay in the hotel, in days three get out [inaudible],’ they said, ‘Your time is finished in the hotel’,” Mohammed said.
The migrants also point out that they have nothing to eat or drink and that their camp has run out of food for babies.
The Belarusian side delivers water, tea, and food to the tent camp, but there are huge queues for food.
According to the State Border Committee of Belarus, there are about two thousand people in front of the fences on the border with Poland.
Tensions between the EU and Belarus have been escalating in recent months, with the EU accusing Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko of deliberately sending migrants to the border in response to sanctions imposed by the EU.
Germany and Poland strengthened joint border patrols on the frontier with Belarus on October 20 and put a barbed wire fence in place to prevent the illegal flow.
Earlier Lukashenko had stated that he would weaken control over migration at the borders with Western countries.
SOT Aman, Migrant from Iraq: “We got a visa and came to Belarus.”
Reporter: “Yeah, but where did you get the visa?”
Aman, Migrant from Iraq: “In Turkey.”
Reporter: “In Turkey? So first you flew to Turkey?”
Aman, Migrant from Iraq: “Yes.”
Reporter: “And what’s [how] you get a Belarus visa? Where? In the embassy?”
Aman, Migrant from Iraq: “Ankara of Turkey. We go there and we get a visa and come to Belarus.”
Reporter: “Why do you get Belarusian visa in Ankara, not in Iraq?”
Aman, Migrant from Iraq: “I don’t know.”
Reporter: “Do you have a Belarusian visa in your passport right now?”
Aman, Migrant from Iraq: “Yes.”
SOT, Mohamed, Migrant: “I paid for everyone. I paid 2,600 dollars for a visa for everyone, for me, for my mom, my wife, and my brother. There are 12 [people,] we have two families, me and my brother. My brother is now imprisoned in jail in Poland.”
Reporter: “So you’re saying you paid 2000 dollars for one visa?”
Mohamed, migrant: “For one visa 2600 dollars. It’s for visa, hotel, and health [ insurance]. And they said that company said, ‘You have 14 days to stay in the hotel, in days three get out [inaudible],’ they said ‘Your time is finished in the hotel’.”
SOT Aman, Migrant from Iraq: “They said that Germany sent [buses] for us but the Polish police refused [them] to go.”
Reporter: “Who told you that Germany sent cars to pick you up?”
Aman, Migrant from Iraq: “The news.”
SOT Mohamed, Migrant: “Poland [police] hit me. Hit me, hit my mom. And they said you are not going to Germany [through] our land. [They] hit me, hit me by [inaudible], hit my mom, a policewoman hit my mom.”
Reporter: “Belarusian police or Polish police?”
Mohamed, Migrant: “Poland police. Yesterday they gave us in [our] eye a gas. These guys yesterday 10 times fell down because of that gas. Now he’s saying, “My old body needs a medic, one doctor” if he can’t come to [inaudible] to take medicine for them because then they will fall down. Many, many guys have their eyes become big and [inaudible] coming down and can’t breathe because of that gas.”
Video ID: 20211109-042
Video on Demand: https://ruptly.tv/videos/20211109-042