Clampdown on restaurants and shops

UPDATE: the police have kept coming regularly in the ‘jungle’ ever since,  in ever larger numbers, and full riot gear. A truly intimidating presence – they were not coming to the jungle before normally, or they were sometimes doing patrols  in smaller numbers.

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Thursday 21th July 2016, a third mass descent of robocops to clamp down restaurants and shops. ‘Good cop’ Patrick is in charge of this glorious operation consisting in requisitioning food from the refugees, children included – on the first day they snatched all the food from the kids’ restaurants and arrested Sikander who looks after the kids together with 12 shop and restaurant owners, most have been released. 5 more were arrested the day after, always at random apparently: they just took one person per restaurant, some were charged with selling tobacco without a license and some were summoned to appear in court.

IMG_3905People had all their merchandise confiscated, and some have lost all the money they invested. Many had their papers and personal belongings confiscated. So life in the huge shanty town risks becoming severely restricted now, without shops, restaurants, clubs, bakers and barber shops plus showers. These amazing places for social life are now facing closure, the authorities do not want people to try and replicate some normal life in the jungle,  buy cheap cigarettes or enjoy a tasty meal in a restaurant made of pallets and tarp and nicely decorated inside with whatever cheap materials, people have to walk nearly an hour to the nearest supermarket, sun or rain or queue for food but the lines are already very long and without the restaurants people will go hungry.

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The restaurants and shops put a nice front to the horrible ghetto, making it look like a city, almost. As they were open until very late, some all night long, they also provided shelter and security to the people in the camp, there was someone to look out at all times and somewhere to stop when it rains, meet with friends, play cards, charge mobiles (free of charge),  etc.

Another good report of the restaurants clampdown can be found here:

https://calaismigrantsolidarity.wordpress.com/2016/07/20/robbery-in-the-jungle/

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