Calais. Restaurant owners summoned to court, Wednesday 10th August at Lille tribunal – Support needed

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UPDATE: The judge in Lille rejected the prefecture’s request the restaurants and shops are destroyed. However, they are still not allowed to sell food or other goods and the police have said they will go in the jungle more often, to check that they aren’t. A significant victory nevertheless. Read more: 

https://calaismigrantsolidarity.wordpress.com/2016/08/12/tribunal-administratif-decision-and-reasons/

This might not seem of much significance to those not involved in local politics, but the attack on the restaurants is the first stage of the eviction of the North side of Calais jungle. Currently, there are well over 9000 people crammed there after the destruction of the South side, including  865  children 78% unaccompanied according to the last census, and new people keep arriving, up to 100 per day. The associations have made a new count and they predict there will be 10.000 people by the end of the month. Trapped behind the fence by very violent police. Inevitably there are high tensions due to overcrowding and competition over scarce resources, resulting in fights both in the camp and for access to the motorway. Far from being an hazard the restaurants and shops provide some safety, besides providing 20% of the food in the camp. The restaurants have water, fire extinguishers and some even water hoses, so if a fire starts anywhere in the jungle they can help putting it down. The restaurants are full of people at all times, who often help stopping fights and attacks. People who have just arrived can go there and wait for their friends, or ask for directions. The restaurants and shops also provide sleeping spaces at night, up to 250 according to a count by volunteers. Since the raids on the restaurants began, queues have became much longer and the camp kitchens are struggling to provide enough food. The centre Jules-Ferry provide up to 3500 meals per day, once per day – they could provide more, and the queue lasts up to 4 hours. There are not enough shower in the J-F centre, nor enough sockets for recharging mobiles. In the restaurants people could recharge mobiles for free, relax, meet friends, watch a film, enjoy a delicious and cheap traditional meal…

 

The refugees selling food and goods accused of causing hazard e.g. fires and trouble to public order.  72 business between restaurants, shops and hamams (showers with barber shops) are threatened  closure and/or demolition and the owners – or those identified as that – threatened to be evicted and the makeshift buildings that host the restaurants destroyed !!! 

Please come in front of the tribunal and support! 

Legal defence is being organized.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-jJoWHesKIQ

See also:

 https://calaismigrantsolidarity.wordpress.com/2016/08/07/black-lives-matter-on-the-border-and-in-the-interior-of-countries/

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Patrick Visser-Bourdon (in the centre, wearing glasses, suit and tie) is the temporary head of Calais central police station and in charge of this ‘humanitarian’ operation of stealing food from refugees and children.

On Friday the police descended on the restaurants again, arresting some more people and serving everybody with orders to appear in court, charged with selling food without a licence, not being in line with hygiene and safety regulations and causing hazard and public order problems in the camp, totally outrageous –  no part of the ‘jungle’ is in line with any hygiene and safety regulations, police cause most of the fires by shooting gas grenades on roofs and into shelters that are highly flammable; maybe the authorities who are forcing thousands of innocent refugees to live in that appalling, unsafe and unhygienic slum should be brought to court, not the restaurant and shop owners. Even Sikander from the Kid’s Restaurant has to appear in court, yet they were not selling anything, they were just feeding hungry kids, most of whom are in Calais on their own. According to the association Help Refugees, 608 unaccompanied minors  live in the jungle (June count), the youngest 8 years old. The cafe provided free 200 meals a day, English and French classes, and asylum advice. It was set up after over 100 underage kids went missing during the eviction of the South part of the jungle, to offer them some protection and keep track of the minors. There is a petition to save the Kid’s Restaurant: https://www.change.org/p/sauvons-le-caf%C3%A9-des-enfants-save-the-kids-cafe

See also https://watchtheborders.wordpress.com/2016/07/22/967/

 

The associations have signed a press release, saying the closure of the restaurants threatens the food security of the camp’s inhabitants, as neither La vie active who manage the centre Jules-Ferry, nor the independent kitchen combined have the capacity to feed all the people – though La vie active could serve more meals, they are currently serving up to 3500 once a day only. Volunteers from the kitchens are saying since the closure of the restaurants the queues are much longer, and they can no longer feed everyone. The centre Jules-Ferry only provides one meal per day for 3500 people at present, the queue lasts up to 4 hours! People do not have enough plugs to charge phones, nor enough showers. The restaurants distributed food covering 20% of the camp’s needs. The camp kitchens 40% : Kitchen in Calais 1000 free meals per day, Belgian Kitchen 1000, Refugee Community Kitchen (Auberge des migrants) 2000, Ashram Kitchen 800, Kid’s Restaurant 200.

Please donate to the kitchens, and also to the restaurants and shops affected. Dozens of people were making a living from the restaurants, in the absence of any other prospect of employment they created their own autonomous activity, making a little living for themselves, sending money to their families, doing a great service to the community and employing other people too! Far from being a risk hazard, the restaurant and shops provided some security, there was someone to look on the streets at all times, many fights and assaults were stopped, and several fires in the camp put down. The businesses were full of people at all time, charging their phone, meeting their friends, sheltering from the rain etc.  Licensed shops are very far, the shanty town being 7 km from the town centre. The restaurants also provided some accommodation at night and were somewhere new people arriving could turn to for help and directions. When the restaurants are closed the streets are dark and empty and there is no one to look out!

 

Paris: call out to solidarity/appel à la solidarité (via la Chapelle en Lutte)

la.chapelleAfter 3 days of roundup of batons, tear gas to stop, search, of OQTF (obligation to leave French territory) (70 to 75 in 3 days) –

After a relentless hunt, come support the refugeEs Saturday 6 August at 15h at JAURES!

We need you !
Support needed in Flanders Avenue against these daily raids …

 

Après 3 jours de rafle, de coup de matraque, de gaz lacrymo, de fouille, d’OQTF (obligation de quitter le territoire français) (entre 70 et 75 en 3 jours)-

Après une traque incessante, venez soutenir les réfugié.e.s SAMEDI 6 AOUT à 15h à JAURES!

Besoin de vous !
Besoin de soutien, avenue de Flandres contre ces rafles quotidiennes…

 

Funeral of Mubarak Ibrahim

IMG_4154The funeral of Mubarak Ibrahim, killed on the motorway by an unidentified vehicle, took place yesterday in Calais North cemetery, Over 200 people attended, mostly from the Sudanese community but also other migrant communities, volunteers from associations, local anti-racists and international activists from the No Borders network.

New report on police violence

Read the full report here:

http://www.barhumanrights.org.uk/node/620

The report is based on evidence collected in March. We welcome the report and would like another one, though pessimistic the police will follow any recommendations.

To our knowledge police violence has gone up since, appallingly, especially when people go to try to get on the motorway or Eurostar: it is common practice for the police to move them by spraying them in the eyes, women and children included, and hitting them with truncheons but punitive beatings of people who have been caught are also commonplace.

Particularly worrying is that the police are firing gas grenades and rubber bullets directly at people including underage boys: a 17 years old from Afghanistan was shot in the head and taken to Lille hospital in serious condition, and an Eritrean boy had his eye socket blown off; plus many other horrendous facial injuries, plus injuries to arms, torso, limbs. Two volunteers (other than the volunteer mentioned in this report) were shot at, one hit on the shoulder. It is also commonplace for the police to hit people including women and minors on the head with truncheons, and many have broken fingers and sprained wrists. One man had an arm broken in several pieces and had to undergo an operation, he is still numb and cannot move some of his fingers; it is not clear in his case if it was the police or a paramilitary militia, probably police. Others had broken legs and dislocated ankles as a result of their encounters with police, but there have been at least 5 recent fascist attacks that we know of, they do not behave very differently.

The photos come from an independent medic who was working in the ‘jungle’

Two vigils

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Remember on every day after a death, we will meet again at 18:30 in front of the Richelieu Park monument.

The first vigil, 27th July was prevented from happening by a bullying action by the police – ‘good cop’ Patrick in charge of the operation ordered by the prefect Fabienne Buccio, who had forbidden the gathering on the pretext it could cause confrontations with the far right. People who gathered in solidarity were prevented from holding one minute silence in memory of those who died and rudely pushed away by riot cops armed to the teeth with flashballs and gas canisters, one activist was arrested without any reason and charged with rebellion and possession of a weapon, a small pocket knife, that is just good for cutting apples. She spent nearly 24 hours in the police station and is due to appear in court the 18th October. Please come to the tribunal in Boulogne from 9 am to support her.  People decided to turn up again the next day without announcing it. There were people from associations (Auberge des migrants and Secours Catholique), Calais anti-fascists and anti-racists, No Border activists and international volunteers).

We gathered again in the same place the day after, and this time, the turnout was even bigger and the activist who was arrested the day before came to join. The police did not arrive to stop the gathering, though there was some harassment of protesters, and cops taking photos. There were some speeches and a minute of silence. Afterwards, the long list of names of those who died at Calais border was read aloud, and the gathering peacefully dispersed.

https://passeursdhospitalitesenglish.wordpress.com/2016/07/28/associations-press-release-on-migrants-deaths-at-the-border/

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