Archivio mensile:dicembre 2015

Police violence gallery / Repression of migrants and whomever helps them in Calais

CVEGtX2XIAkb8SKMassive escalation of already appalling violence by police (CRS) in recent months. The use of CS gas and truncheons is the ‘normal’ way to control the movement of people at the Calais border. Injuries on a sharp rise including injuries requiring hospitalization. Excessive and illegal use of force both against people who are trying to cross and against people who organize peaceful protests. Sometimes people are attacked for no reason at all: some local people report seeing migrants being attacked when walking back from the Eurotunnel in direction of the jungle including women, one pregnant.  People are hit with truncheons on the head including women and minors: I saw a 17 years old from Afghanistan and a 16 years old from Syria with head injuries requiring stitches.


CS gas in fired in the camp

The police use gas grenades to disperse people who gather on the motorway – CS gas of very nasty quality. The 12 million fence the UK government paid for with taxpayers money can be cut like butter, even a small wire cutter does the job. So people cut holes in the fence and run on the motorway. Police reply with batons and CS gas. Police spray people in the eyes at close range and they often fire gas grenades directly into the crowd – a young man has recently been hit on the mouth by a grenade and his jaw is shattered. Many refugees have been hit by rubber bullets. On the site of the Eurotunnel there are lines of fences and police violence is even worst, as there is nobody to see it. The police also use helicopters and a water cannon. Some people have broken ribs because some policemen kick and stamp on them when they are on the ground, including an middle aged man who was previously tortured by Daesh, suffers from PTDS and has tried twice to commit suicide. If nobody intervenes,  police often leave injured people on the ground for up to 2/3 hours before calling an ambulance. The police fire gas grenades into the camp where people are sleeping: there have been a number of gas attacks on the jungle, most on the side of the motorway (rue des Garennes)  where there are numerous Eritreans including women and some children, and on the Afghan camp where there are hundreds of underage boys, the youngest are 8 or 9. Often roofs catch fire because of gas grenades falling on them. On one occasion hundreds of grenades were thrown on the other side of the camp (chemin des Dunes) where numerous Kurdish families live, many young children and babies, the youngest baby was three months old and a gas grenade fell approx 2 meters from the tent where his family were sleeping. Clouds of CS gas were so dense and so toxic everybody had to get out and an English volunteer collapsed to the ground. I saw other people collapsing and unconscious for the effects of gas on different occasions. People have the habit to gather numerous and very closely around the fallen because they are concerned, but it is not really helpful and we need to try shush away these little crowds so the injured can breathe.

The families organized a peaceful protest against the violence and the terrible living conditions but the police ordered them to go back to the jungle, and when they refused they attacked them with batons and CS spray, also on the children. Several children had to seek medical help because of respiratory problems lasting for days and burns on their skin caused by CS gas sprayed at close range, including a little boy who is one year old; some children had nightmares afterwards and kept crying at night…


Children gassed at close range during a peaceful protest of the families

I do  not know how people can sleep in the jungle, the noise of gas grenades being fired can start any time day or night and can last for hours, even if the grenades do not fall directly into the camp the motorway is at the camp’s edges. Most injuries happen at night when usually there is no first aid post open nor medics. People blow cigarette smoke in the eyes of those who have been gassed, it is very effective to reduce the irritation. No Borders activists provide some first aid and also document the violence, thus they are often present when there are incidents on the motorway. They have been therefore accused by THE FRENCH GOVERNMENT of inciting riots on the motorway. A No Borders activist has been charged for violent disorder and inciting unrest, and is to stand trial the 14th December; two English volunteers were arrested before him and released without charges. People do not need to be incited to riot: when police throw gas grenades at them, or in the camp, they throw stones at the police, a few policemen have been injured by flying stones  but many more migrants have been injured by police and nobody counts them or complain about, Some are so desperate to get out the jungle and into the UK they do things like surrounding lorries in dozens of people, or blocking the motorway with improvised barricades or fires. Not everybody agrees with such tactics and there are constant and often heated discussions between different communities. To cross has became very difficult and only a few manage, due to increased controls and fences and very violent police; people often organize mass ‘invasions’ of the motorway in order to be able to stand up to the police. The bottleneck so tight that it is creating a disastrous situation for everybody, migrants for the first: there have never been so many people killed or injured at this border; but also for drivers, emergency services and local people. The Kurdish mafia is doing really well, after the government and local authorities pushed all the people into their hands, and made it so difficult to cross independently; smugglers can now charge up to 6000 (six thousands) euros for going to England in the back of a lorry. The UK government and the French government are responsible for this situation. Blaming the migrants and who helps them is shifting the blame, and no doubt the government and the police are very keen to get rid of witnesses. Many volunteers who provide essential humanitarian help have been harassed, their cars stopped by police, they have been given fines and lost points on their driving licenses for ridiculous reasons; for some time the roads to the jungle have been closed to all traffic except emergency vehicles, which has been successfully challenged but occasionally they still close the roads under a pretext or another. On the other side of the Channel, some activists and volunteers have been stopped under Section 7 of the Terrorism Act on their return, and some Muslim or Asian volunteers have been prevented from travelling to France! And with the state of emergency in France civil liberties are curtailed and police have more powers.

Call out to fight against borders and repression/ 14th December trans-national day of acton

Collective statement: t-event-and-accusations-from-the-french-authorities/

Here are a  few reports and film of police violence:




A 9 years old boy from Afghanistan shows the gas canisters that fell on of near the part of the camp where he was living




Repression and resistance

Autonomous, self-organized demonstrations from the jungle


There have been several autonomous, self-organized protests by people in the jungle in recent months. Their main demands: open the border, stop deportations and a safe home for all (safe and humane living conditions).
Actions, like blocking the motorway:



Peaceful marches from the jungle to the centre of town, to put pressure on the French authorities and demand people’s rights:


These peaceful demonstrations were very successful at the beginning – on one occasion the mayor of Calais even went to meet the protesters in front of the town hall, an unprecedented move. However the protests were soon met with increasing repression.



Hundreds of refugees of all nationalities gather in front of the Town Hall. For some time there were gatherings like this every week, and up to three times per week.



The Syrians organized a number of protests of their own. On one occasion they wanted to spend the night in front of the Town Hall, but  they were attacked by police and pushed back, in direction of the jungle. The drive is to keep people invisible and keep them segregated.

May be worth of notice that the self-organized peaceful protests, apart from steady support by few no borders activists, had little or no support from local association, anti-racists, international volunteers, for reasons I do not quite understand. May be an effect of the segregation? Many anti-racists refuse to accept the existence of the shantytown, and do not go there. Volunteers are more concerned with distributing humanitarian aid. Other reasons? Please feel free to comment.

For reports of the autonomous demonstrations, see


Demonstration in London 12t September

Tens of thousands gathered in Whitehall under the slogan ‘REFUGEES WELCOME‘. The newly elected Labour  leader, Jeremy Corbyn, joined and did a speech.


Demonstration in Calais 12t September, to coincide with the one London

It was much smaller, just a few hundreds, but people took the centre of the town, despite efforts by riot police to stop the demonstration and push people back to the jungle  . Two contingents of protesters joined, managed to break through, avoiding the police cordons, and ended up holding a sit in and rally in the middle of Calais’s main street for about two hours, with speeches, chanting,  dancing.  They stayed there until they decided to leave.



Report of the event by CMS (I re-publish in its entirety because it gives a very good description of what these self-orgnaized protests were like, and the increasing repression )

From Calais to London… Transnational demo for the freedom of movement


Today saw a demonstration in Calais, organized by people in the jungle. The protest was planned to coincide with the massive rally held in London, and to bring attention back to the refugees already in Calais while the UK decides to accept more from overseas. Today’s march adds to the almost daily protests by people in Calais in the last week.

Early this afternoon a group of three hundred left the jungle and began walking into town. They were demanding an end to being forced to live in the jungle, freedom of movement for everyone, and to open the border to the UK. Many others joined during the way or in the centre of town. The protest brought together people from all the different migrant communities in the city. As is past through the jungle, with people singing dancing, chanting, playing music and calling to others to join in, it felt as much like a party as a protest.


Calais’ mayor Natacha Bouchart, who yesterday put more pressure on the prefect to increase the policing of the recent wave of peaceful demonstrations, had fencing erected around the Mairie, and hired private security guards to stand behind it. Because of this, the demonstration, which in previous cases had rallied in front of the town hall, was this time stopped by the CRS just before getting there. The result was a stand off between protesters and police that saw the police use CS gas on the protesters, some of which were children.

no.jungle 157no.jungle 139bis

After this attack everyone sat down and began to hold a rally. People took turns speaking into the megaphones and leading chants, dancing, and singing. During this time the Syrians walked down from where they are staying in order to join the demonstration. This continued for around an hour until the police began to start pushing people back, trying to move them on. The protesters responded by running past their lines and into the center of Calais, where they occupied the Boulevard Jacquard. The police, while at first trying to prevent them from occupying the street eventually had to retreat and surrender the main shopping street to the group for a couple of hours while another rally was held. There was a lot of engagement here with the local Calais people who stopped to watch and listen to what the demonstrator’s were demanding.


After the rally, people returned to the jungle, largely at a time of their choosing shouting all the way back. The feeling in the group was really positive as even though they had been stopped from marching down one street they were able to get around the police and occupy and disrupt Calais’ main shopping street. There was a lot of really positive reactions to the demonstration from the people of Calais, and it was really encouraging for the protesters to continue their struggle and demonstrations in the coming days

September 19, 2015

“Refugees Welcome” demo: why numbers aren’t everything

It was organized by English and French volunteers, mainly London2Calais with Aubege des migrants and Secours catholique  The main problem is that it was organized without even consulting  the people in the jungle who had been organizing their own demonstrations for weeks – for reasons I do not quite understand. Many of the migrant activists boycotted it, as a result of being excluded from its organization. Many of the migrant activists boycotted it, as a result of being excluded from its organization. Despite that, it collected up to 5000 people between refugees, English supporters, local associations.  It is clear that the people in the jungle feel safer demonstrating with the support of White/ European people. The demonstration went to the ferry port and not to the centre of town, as the migrants  organizing their own demonstrations would have wanted, and thus it had very little visibility. It was mainly a big peaceful march from A to B,  without spectators, and the only action was to paint slogans on a fake wall that was later taken away. Only four migrants were invited to speak at the rally, that was mostly monopolized by people with papers.


At the same, time a group of 200 women went marching on their own and were stopped by police . It was the first demonstration by women only.

There was hardly a mention of the demo in the French media, no mention at all in the British media.


I am aware that some do not agree with my, mainly negative, views on this event, and they are welcome to express their views if they so wish. I have even been accused of being divisive,but all I am lamenting in fact is the lack of unity The State and the authorities are very well organized and capable to repress people’s struggles, that is why they stay in power despite the fact that ‘we are many, they are few’. From our side, unity is strength, and divided we fall. And, most sadly, a  magic moment in which we could really put up a struggle in Calais and challenge the authorities has passed.


The following Monday  planned evictions went ahead, with a lot of violence and total disrespect for migrants and associations .




Calais.horror 013



All 5 camps in town evicted in one day. Over 300 people were pushed into the jungle with violence and use of  CS gas, also on a sick man from Syria who could not move fast enough and collapsed after being tear gassed. The makeshift Syrian camps in the port area and by the church in Calais North were evicted, but also the Sudanese who were sleeping outside the old cold weather shelter (BCMO). The evictions went ahead despite the fact big fights had just happened in the jungle. The segregation in Calais is now complete and everybody is in the shantytown. The associations were given minimal time to help people move. Furthermore, the tents of the Eritreans who were past the bridge were evicted and destroyed without any warning, so people lost all their belongings.

Simultaneous demonstrations 17th October


Lively demonstrations on both sides of the Channel.


In Dover 500 people marched from the centre of town to the ferry port, blocking the traffic and causing major delays. Several migrant support organization were present, from Kent, Folkestone, London2Calais brought 3 coaches full of people, Brighton Antifa came.

Protest in Calais organised by Stand Up To Racsim & refugee groups 17-10-15 Refugees marched around the town and then went to the port where they overwhelmed police and got inside. There was a stand off and a few scuffles.

Protest in Calais organised by Stand Up To Racsim & refugee groups / photo by Guy Smallman copyright

In Calais about 1000 people from the jungle marched with some 300 English supporters. The refugees took the lead of the demonstration and some 7-800 broke into the ferry port, families with children in the first line. Most of the English supporters followed. They were met by lines of police in riot gear who used tear gas to disperse them, even spraying the children. People got angry and threw gravel at the cops, there are no stones or other projectiles there. Some got in between and shouted to stop. It is clear to everybody present that the police used violence  first, even gassing  women and children. The debate between non-violent protesters and those who are prepared to fight the police was very lively. Eventually people decided to leave. There was a rally outside the ferry port, with music, inspiring speeches by refugees and dancing. Eventually everybody went back to the jungle.
Media silence was almost total, not even the local newspaper wrote a line despite having a journalist and a photographer there. It looks like  news are censored.
If anyone has film or photos of the families and children getting tear gassed please send them to me (my SD card broke and I have no pics of the demo).
VIDEO- it is pretty, but it does not show the tear gas

Facist and racist  demonstrations

There were two marches of the Calaisiens en colere, a gruoup of local residents who claim to be ‘apolitical’ but in fact are very racist. Some of their leaders have links with the FN, the party of Le Pen. The first demonstration collected about 300 people, who marched in Calais North along the beach. The second,  31/10/2015, attracted about 1000 people who went marching through the centre of town.



More worrying, PEGIDA tried to organize a demonstration against migration and against Islam 08/11/15 with the local far right collective Sauvons Calais, the EDL, other far-right c groups. They were hoping to get 380 people, they only managed 60 but they ddmarrch and they did burn a Q’aran in the centre of town, under the eyes of the police who arrested no fash but arrested two anti-racists, one for no reason and one for nicking a flag from the fash, a third person was later charged with assaulting a policeman.

Full report here: heand-against-islam/

In the evening of the 08/11/2015 there was a mass action of migrants on the motorway trying to break the siege and go to England. Full report here:

A Night of Collective Defiance/ Une nuit de défiance collective

However the collective action on the motorway led to an escalation of police violence and the criminalisation of the No Borders movement, it was followed by a week of unrest and gas attacks on the jungle itself. We were under intense attack from the French State and police who had accused No Borders of inciting the riots, one of our commrades was arrested, see post above, and they were threatening to arrest others.

The next thing that happens is that terrorist attacks happen in Paris, and the state of emergency is proclaimed.


There were vigils and prayers in Calais jungle and in the jungle in Dunkerque, as the people who are fleeing Daesh / ISIL feel for the French people too.


During emergency all demonstration are forbidden and the demo on the 22/11/15 in solidarity with migrants and Sans Papiers was forbidden too, but people marched anyway, 500 people braved the riot police and were met on arrival by many more thousands, see a report here: