They decorated the razor wire for the holidays, too.
Image via Twitter
Across the world, political activists have found a powerful—and undeniably fun—way to protest border structures they find abhorrent, and it involves a ball. In 2014, across the heavily militarized Moroccan-Algerian border, activists played volleyball. In 2007 and then 2015, Americans and Mexicans came together for volleyball across their shared border. And now, this December, the latest match of border volleyball is taking place across the new razor wire fence that divides Slovenia and Croatia.
Slovenian authorities began building the fence in November. They insist that the razor wire is necessary to stem the tide of Syrian and Afghan refugees who are traveling through Greece to Croatia to Slovenia, most on their way to Austria or Germany. About 180,000 refugees entered Slovenia between mid-October and mid-November, Reuters reports.
But many Slovenians and Croatians dislike the fence. “They shouldn't have done it,” Croation sports shooter and Olympic gold medalist Giovanni Cernogoraz told a local paper, Mashable reports. “Especially now before the holidays, so that tourists can see it.”
Which brings us to the volleyball. Slovenians and Croatians came together for the game on Saturday, December 19, and though the whole thing was pretty short, it sent a firm but joyful message: Razor wire will not bring real peace to either nation.
Protesters also decorated the fence with Christmas ornaments in symbolic blue and gold, the colors of the European Union. Others took to the fence more forcibly—with wire cutters.
Image via Twitter
Slovenian and Croatian politicians also have protested at the fence. “We condemn the act of placing wires along European fences,” Nina Kamber, the cultural director of the Croatian city of Pula, told Total Croatia News. “Our aim is to show that all conflicts can be resolved with cooperation, creativity and, as you've seen today, sport.”