Archivi categoria: Migration

After the jungles. Calais, Dunkirk, Paris: many hundreds sleep out without shelter, children included. New report on police violence in Calais.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: THE TOWN HALL TRY TO STOP ALL FOOD DISTRIBUTIONS IN CALAIS JUNGLE except the 6pm distrbution WITH USE OF VIOLENCE AND ARRESTS BY CRS 

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30/06 Police cleared all the area around the place of food distribution rue des Verrotiers, all tents, blankets, tarpaulin destroyed. People however returned and they keep occupying the woods and industrial wastelands where this bizarre non-camp exists. Many are minors.   In the evening there was a shower of gas grenades thrown near the place of food distribution where people had returned, and people had to run for cover.

31/06 CRS stopped the food distribution of Salam about10.20 Philippe Mignonet the helper of the mayor Natacha Bouchart and the young chief of police were present. Police told the associations food and water distributions are no longer allowed but no order was produced. Utopia56 and Calais Refugee Kitchen were also stopped from giving food near the ‘jungle’ and one volunteer arrested – for trying to feed some people: as usual, she was assaulted by cops and accused of assaulting them; however there were many witnesses and the scene has been filmed.   5 or 6 refugees were arrested that I have seen, some got gassed in the eyes or hit with truncheons. It is Ramadan with no food no water. Inhumanity and this is totally illegal as a judge has already ruled associations cannot be stopped from feeding people in the streets. Again, the pretext is security because the police say distributions attract crowds.

Refugees protesting against the police stopping food distributions:

02/06 The illegal ban against food distributions in the jungles is still being implemented with lots of CRS and great display of weaponry, they are also stopping volunteers from giving water, blankets and all aid. Associations are still doing distributions (usually at different hours) when CRS find out they are doing a distribution they arrive and brutally disperse everybody also using CS gas and truncheons on many occasions. Last night 6 people were arrested around 1 am –  three were minors, according to some of the arrested who were later released. Earlier on the same evening police threatened people with a dog -there was a large group including minors and some women who were about to leave to try to go UK. Today after morning distribution 6 people were arrested but one managed to run away. 25 Afghans were arrested on rue Garennes. There are so many arrests it is really difficult to keep track. Very important to keep watching and filming, usually filming is quite easy during distributions but the police may want to see your documents. Blankets are very scarc because the police spray them with CS gas rendering them unusable, associations have no blankets to give. Please donate.

On the night between Friday 02/06 and Saturday 03/06 police go in the jungle, rue Verrotier and bois Debruille, during the night and early in the morning,. many people sprayed with CS gas in their sleep and many people arrested. All day gendarmerie and CRS patrolling the roads and stopping food distributions, gendarmerie vans in the area of food distribution all day preventing people from going there. Volunteers do distributions by stealth, arrive in small cars, give out pre-packed food and bottles of water and leave quickly. The only distribution allowed is the 6 pm, no trouble but gendarmerie stop people from going there until 5.50 pm and fewer people than usual attending.

In Calais, Dunkirk and Paris we are witnessing a succession of evictions concerning thousands of migrant people. The creation of thousands temporary accommodation places in CAO (Centes d’accueil et orientation) spread all across France goes hand in hand with  zero  tolerance policies for camps and squats. CAO are not a solution for everybody and there are never enough places for everybody. Most people who have newly arrived in France, all those who do not find place in CAO end up sleeping rough, as well as those who do not want to stay in CAO  (because they do not want to apply for asylum in France for instance). They are pushed into ever more insecure, dangerous and even life-threatening situations, sleeping in the woods or by the side of the road without even a shelter, women and children included,  condemned to invisibility and exposed to violence by police, racists, smugglers and other criminals. 

Some good news: the 27th April the UK government announced they will take 130 more unaccompanied minors under the Dubs amendment to the Immigration Bill. Transfers under Dubs had been stopped for months on pretext there were not places for the kids by local authorities, a fabrication since many local authorities had offered places and the report according to which there were not places was old and out of date. Though 130 objectively is not many compared to the huge and increasing number of minors arriving in Europe alone, this announce is a life saver for those 130, and further opens the door to the possibility of more transfers. Please keep putting pressure on the UK government. Transfers of children and other vulnerable people under family reunification are also being hindered both by the French and UK authorities: for instance the French bureaucrats do the paperwork so badly that the UK just send the applications back to France and the people are left hanging. 

Please come to Calais if you can and help us monitor the situation! Demonstrations in Calais are forbidden under state of emergency but demonstrations are not forbidden in the UK! (direct action even better).

Please donate here:   https://www.gofundme.com/calais-rain-emergency-fund    All money donated is to buy tarpaulin or goes directly to help migrants with what is most needed and where the associations do not reach. Filling the gaps is something No Borders have always done until recently but I have always found it very difficult to get money from Calais Migrant Solidarity so I am doing my own crowfunding. Some associations i.e. the Auberge des migrants/ Help Refugees stopped giving tents because the police destroy them, saying tents render people more visible therefore more vulnerable to police attacks but it should be the people’s choice if they want to have tents or not. Some associations e.g. the Auberge openly collaborated with the government evicting the ‘jungle’ in October, therefore they cannot be trusted. My anger and frustration is with the management not with the volunteers who are doing a wonderful job. We are already doing independent distributions of tents, tarp and materials and we always need sleeping bags and blankets. And money to buy.

Food donations: Calais Refugee Kitchen prepares 2000 meals per day that are distributed in Calais and Dunkirk by various associations. Please support them (even if they are based with Auberge des migrants) http://refugeecommunitykitchen.com/

 

CALAIS

Destroying people’s shelters does not make them disappear. Seven months after the destruction of Calais ‘jungle’ there are several hundreds of people sleeping out in Calais’s streets, woods and wastelands. Many are unaccompanied minors and there are women too – volunteers and local people try to shelter the women and the youngest children. There is a shelter for minors but in St Omer not in Calais, kids can only stay up to 5 days. Police destroy any tents they find, leaving people to sleep rough with only blankets and sleeping bags that are often damaged or destroyed – for instance police pepper spray blankets rendering them unusable. Police violence is appalling . People, including women and minors, are sprayed in the face, beaten, hit with rubber bullets, have their shoes taken away, are subjected to insults and racist abuse; there are at least two allegations of people deliberately ran over by police cars. Most of the violence happens when people try for England, and police use gas grenades to disperse people but people can be attacked any time they encounter the police, kicked or sprayed in the face when they sleep and so on. Arbitrary and repeated arrests are very common. The Refugee Rights Data Project have recently conducted a research in the Calais area. They denounce the insecurity and danger for people in the absence of a camp or structure. The unaccompanied minors are the most exposed to sexual violence, exploitation and trafficking, according to this research. 89 per cent of people interviewed said they had experienced police violence during their time in Calais.  82 per cent described police treatment in France as “bad” or “very bad”. 84 per cent had experienced tear gas, 53 per cent other forms of physical violence and 28 per cent verbal abuse. Broken limbs, facial injuries and severe bruising were found to be ‘typical injuries’. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/refugees-calais-northern-france-police-brutality-daily-basis-unaccompanied-minors-children-a7696076.html

Full  report (in French):                                                                          http://refugeerights.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/RRDP_SixMoisPlusTard.pdf

This report is  mostly based on testimonies, hard evidence is needed. The French authorities are in perpetual denial of any wrongdoing by police. And there is violence by fascists and racists, and in some cases by lorry drivers. A young man had an arm broken when a driver pushed him from his lorry. And there is the violence of the border. Three people  have died trying to cross this year, that we know of.

2 May, at Paris’s Gare du Nord, after succeeding to climb onto the Eurostar’s roof an exile was killed by the electric arc from the catenary system above the train.

http://www.leparisien.fr/paris-75010/paris-gare-du-nord-un-migrant-meurt-electrocute-sur-le-toit-d-un-eurostar-02-05-2017-6908805.php

This is the third exile to have died at the border so far this year. On the 21st of January Johnsina was run over on the motorway near Calais. On the 11th of March, another exile died near Dunkirk following an attempt to cross the border.

A 17 years old from Eritrea was in a coma for two weeks, suspended between life and death after being hit by a lorry. He survived but with severe head and facial injuries, was unable to talk or to walk unaided and only able to feed through a tube inserted in his mouth. The local press have just started a migrant-blaming campaign because of a small barricade people made with some  branches to try stop some lorries. One lorry driver was lightly injured and the Nord Littoral run a front page,  2nd and 3rd page, with the dramatic title: End of the Truce – as if it was a war! The Nord Littoral has turned totally racist. I never remember seeing three front pages when somebody died or was maimed for life. But deaths and serious injuries happen only to migrants, who are not treated as humans.

 

 

I probably need to stress, since it is not obvious to everybody, that people are actually being treated in the most abysmal manner, it is not me who is ‘representing them as victims’. People are braving the most appalling violence and surviving the most appalling conditions in their struggle to cross this border, and they are bearing with the most amazing courage and dignity, you see many smiley faces and very little desperation but the situation in Calais is really terrible. We need more political action to challenge this situation.

No more showers. People going to take a shower have been arrested, there is a scabies epidemic, and Secours Catholique, who were providing some showers, had to stop, though they manage to open a day centre.  Local people try provide some showers in their homes, and an American woman started renting some AirBnB, offering people showers, causing a little storm in the racist local press after racist neighbours reported unusual activity to the police.

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Food distribution

 

The mayor of Calais Natacha Bouchart tried to stop food distributions but her order was overturned by the judge when the charities took the mayor to court: there is no law that stops charities feeding hungry people. The mayor has appealed against the sentence but in the meantime distributions continue. Police are however disturbing food distributions in the jungle: they arrive at 7 pm and herd everybody in the woods under threat of violence and CS gas; anybody who has no papers can be arrested. At 7 pm people are still eating or getting blankets or playing football with their friends but they have to run and hide in the woods like hunted animals. Volunteers are also controlled, harassed and intimidated. This video taken by a volunteer shows the violent arrest of a minor (minors are not supposed to be arrested)  https://www.facebook.com/lucie.favry/videos/10212790256256282/

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End of food distribution

 

Police have stopped food distributions near the train station altogether, saying they cause a security hazard by drawing crowds near the station. No written order was ever produced. Volunteers giving food and tea near the station were also able to monitor arrests, and provide some support, advice and information to people who just arrived.

Food distributions near the park or in other places in the city are being disturbed by police too. It is so lovely to see the parks full of migrant people again, after many months of total segregation in the ‘jungle’. Young Africans play football with local kids, young mothers disturb the Afghan cricket by passing in the middle with babies and prams –  they are clearly not afraid, elderly residents play boules next to the migrants… and people make friends, meet girlfriends, sometimes have babies, it is how integration begins. Police, however, have carried out some raids in the parks too, asking everybody for papers and arresting those without papers. Some African teenagers were sprayed in the face and told to go to the jungle. Local people and volunteers keep watch: many Calais people also hate the police and like the migrants. But police keep going there. The 25/05 there were lots of arrests in Park St Pierre. The day after police returned but they found nobody except people with papers, happily sitting around, chatting or playing cricket. The police, some big bullies armed with gas, looked baffled. All those without papers had disappeared, and returned to the park later…

However things are getting worst. A new order has been produced forbidding everybody to sit or lay on the grass, eating in the parks, sleeping on benches.  New security has been hired and we are expecting repression to rise in the next weeks.

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Happy hours: Afghans playing cricket in the park

How many migrants in Calais? It is a guess. 350 according to the police, between 400 and 600 according to some associations, 800  according to others but with so many people coming and going and hiding it is totally impossible to make a count. I personally think there are more than 800 people. Refugee Calais Kitchen (RCK) prepare 1300 meals per day but the meals are distributed in various places and not all at once: some people eat twice, others do not eat from the kitchen but rely on friends or on their own resources. Most people are from Afghanistan, the Eritreans who dominated the Calais scene for a while are still numerous but fewer, there are very few Sudanese, there are quite many Ethiopians including many Oromo, few Kurds, Arabs and others. Lots of tensions and fights, also big ones, usually on the lines of different ethnic groups. Access to the ex-jungle that was razed in October is forbidden  and large swathes of the Dunes are off-limits now because  of the extension of the ferry port that is underway. There are too many people crammed in a relatively small area. They are competing for territory and for the few points of passage, any lorry park, any junction or petrol station – very ugly scenes when the police arrive and disperse them with gas and truncheons. Alcohol and frustration add to the problem. The facebook page of the fascistic militias Calaisiens en colere has been taken down recently but they are still active hunting migrants and passing information to the police. The Voix du Nord published an article with a map of where most people sleep, in case anyone did not know, indicating that migrants are a problem for businesses and local people – no voice given to the migrants, they are not humans, they are just a problem.  http://www.lavoixdunord.fr/166504/article/2017-05-22/quatre-lieux-de-calais-ou-les-migrants-se-regroupent-et-s-abritent# People who sleep in the parks or in other places are not counted in the article.

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Police operation 25/05: some tents were destroyed and an African man allegedly ran over by a police vehicle on this spot

 

GRANDE SYNTHE (DUNKIRK)

A makeshift camp at Poithouk (a very Flemish word meaning ‘pond’),  near Grande-Synthe, was evicted on the 19/05.  About 250 people including many families with young children slept there. The majority are Kurds from Northern Iraq but there are also many Afghans. https://www.facebook.com/adrian.torres.71868964/posts/10158815083145061?pnref=story

People returned, sleeping without tents and without shelters.  On 24/05 police returned to the camp at 7 am, ordered everybody to leave and destroyed the only shelter, a very tiny shelter where two girls aged 3 and 6 slept. People went to sleep on the side of the motorway or hiding in the bushes Most families (15) who were there had been moved forcibly to a CAO in Lille but new families keep arriving. Children end up sleeping in the woods with no shelter.

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After being moved by police people rest by the side of the motorway, in the middle a family with two little girls. Others have gone to hide in the bushes

A video worth a thousand words: https://www.facebook.com/solidarityforall.be/videos/1849873178607175/  living conditions  are in the middle section of the film.

 

A camp of 300 people not willing to disperse was evicted and destructed shortly after the demise of the official camp.

http://www.lepharedunkerquois.fr/fait-divers/grande-synthe-300-refugies-dans-un-camp-sauvage-photos-ia685b0n205669

The ‘humanitarian’ camp of la Linière (Grande Synthe) was burned to the ground during a fight between Kurdish and Afghans. The ‘official’ camp was obtained by the mayor of Grande Synthe Damien Careme – the government  did not want any camp in the area, and represented a more humane alternative to an informal camp at Grande-Synthe’s Basroch neighbourhood, where thousands of people including families camped in the mud, with rats running about, with a half a dozen showers and a dozen chemical toilets. In the new camp there were plenty of showers and flushing toilets; pity women and children were raped in the showers and the women’s toilets were built next to the men’s and had no keys. Volunteers from the Women’s centre started putting locks on the toilets and employees from Afeji tried to stop them. What were smugglers doing in an official humanitarian camp is another question but effectively the camp was run by Kurdish mafia and the mafia in Grande-Synthe have always been the craziest and the most dangerous.  The association Afeji who replaced Utopia56 in the management of the camp did a thoroughly bad job,  they had absolutely no experience but got a lucrative contract in the refugees business – like the association La vie active who managed the Jules-Ferry centre and the containers camp and had never worked in Calais before. The main mistake, however, was to amass all the people in Grande Synthe.  Women and children could not go out their tiny huts at night for fear of being raped. Rather than demanding more security and that women and children are separated from single adult men, as by all child protection rules, charities like Gynecologie Sans Frontieres started distributing diapers for the women and children to wear at night so they did not have to go out to use the toilets. I really do not know what would be the ‘international standards’ by which this camp was supposedly built: the wooden huts were very small, windowless and not waterproofed, most huts were rotting with mold; fire regulations were not respected and the huts were too near to each other.  I cannot understand how Medicins Sans Frontieres, who do such amazing work in other places, did such a  bad job in Dunkirk with the construction of that camp. At least in Calais ‘jungle’ huts were nice and covered with tarpaulin, that could also be painted over with beautiful graffiti, huts were built where the jungle’s residents wanted them, not on endless rows of huts with numbers, people could sleep where they choose and next to their friends and so protect each other, and there were mosques, churches, restaurants, shops and even clubs and a cinema… In Grande-Synthe’s Linière Muslims  prayed in the open air and there were no places for social life, apart from the communal kitchens, where people ended up sleeping, head to feet and on top of each other, on the tables, under the tables, on the floors, wherever they could squeeze in because the administration wanted to reduce numbers so some huts were removed and no new huts were built. Calais ‘jungle’  was pretty shit, but still better and a bit less dangerous than the ‘official’ camp at Grande Synthe. That was really made of the stuff of nightmares, but still better than everybody sleeping rough in the woods here and there and everywhere with police chasing them. And nobody to see what happens to them!

Adieu la Linière:

On the 10th April there was a big fight in the ‘humanitarian ‘ camp  between Afghans and Kurds that started on  around 6 pm, with stones being thrown and men running after each other with knives. Children were terrified and screaming, parents desperate to get them out the camp. By 8 pm most people were outside the camp. At 9 pm gunfire was heard inside the camp and fires started: first burned  the first of  three communal kitchens  where Afghans slept, and where the 6 pm fight had started. The Afghans retaliated and there were molotov cocktails flying everywhere and the entire camp started burning. Police did nothing except throwing  gas grenades that notoriously cause fires too.  By 10 pm 80% of the camp had gone up in smoke and everything was quiet again. Many people lost everything. It seems that the origin of the big fight was tensions and rivalry between Kurdish and Afghan mafia inside the camp.  Shortly before the fight that destroyed the ‘humanitarian’ camp there was another fight between Afghan and Kurdish smugglers for the control of a certain lorry park.

Video taken by some of the camp’s residents:  https://www.facebook.com/chiara.lauvergnac/videos/10154831564969092/

People were moved to shelters improvised in crammed sports halls, except most Afghans, including many unaccompanied minors, spent the first night in the woods hiding from the Kurdish mafia who had threatened to kill them and they have many guns. It was cold and they did not have blankets but the day after most Afghans turned up in the shelters. – there were shelters especially for Afghans who had to separate from other nationalities. The Kurdish families did not want to stay in the sports hall, they went and sat with their children  in front of the riot police who were stopping access to the camp demanding to  re-enter because the overcrowding in the sports hall was extreme and they had no privacy at all . They were not allowed in. 

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/12/riot-police-stop-refugees-returning-to-dunkirk-camp-destroyed-by-fire  The article is quite imprecise but the pics are very very interesting.

 1200 people were later transferred to CAO by coaches, dispersed across France. There were over 1600 people in the camp. Some of the unaccompanied minors who were in the camp went to shelters but others disappeared. There were at least 120 minors according to the children’s services and the Dunkirk Legal Centre. Many of the people who were sent to CAO have  left  already and have returned to Calais or Dunkirk to try pass to England.  The authorities announced there will be no more official camp in the Dunkirk area.

https://passeursdhospitalitesenglish.wordpress.com/2017/04/17/fire-at-the-grand-synthe-camp-minors-have-been-abandoned/

UNICEF ‘concerned’ about the minors evicted from the official camp, reports of violence and exploitation http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/child-refugees-migrants-dunkirk-calais-france-unicef-people-trafficking-smugglers-a7689051.html /but not ‘concerned’ enough to do anything about it, they are not even here, like the UNHCR, the Red Cross and all big NGOs, all absent from Calais, Dunkirk etc.

 

NORRENT-FONTES AND OTHER CAMPS AND SQUATS THREATENED WITH EVICTION

Norrent-Fontes (Isebergues) is also threatened with eviction. The camp has existed for over 20 years and is hosting about 70 people mostly from Eritrea including many women. The association Terre d’Errance provides help to the camp and not only in terms of blankets and food: people are also supported in terms of accessing services and defending their rights. Terre d’Errance have written a letter to the new President of France asking not to destroy the camp until real solutions are found. The letter is signed by other associations too. Steenvorde (Hazebrouk) camp, also in the region, has been destroyed again and again but people keep returning – good news has it that over 20 people have recently passed to England from there. Similarly, people keep returning to Calais and Dunkirk without even a tent to sleep in.

Elsewhere, at least fifteen camps and squats are threatened with
destruction and several hundred men, women and children
fear eviction: in Champs sur Marne, more than 90 people
are targeted by a  scheduled eviction .                                                                                                     In Choisy Le Roi, 80 people are threatened with eviction.
In Sucy en Brie, 30 people are threatened with eviction.
In Alfortville 15 people could be evicted at the end of
the school year.
In Rungis, an eviction of 180 to 200 people has been announced for the
end of school year.
In Evry, 80 families are threatened with eviction.
In Osny, a hostel of 11 people and another of 4 people, all citizens of the European Union could be evicted.
In Triel sur Seine, 42 families are afraid of being evicted.
In Villeneuve Saint Georges the Town Hall have  issued an
eviction order that concerns about a hundred people.
In Aix, Arles, St Denis, Lille and Ronchin, evictions are also announced.

Source: Terre d’Errance, Norrent Fontes

 

PARIS LATEST EVICTIONS

1600 people were evicted on the 12th May, kicked out early morning from their tents at porte de la Chapelle under threat of violence by numerous riot police and put into buses for CAO. All tents and bedding were destroyed.

Photos and report of the eviction:

thttps://www.facebooe com/rose.lecat/media_set?set=a.10155343680986602.1073741919.626931601&type=3&pnref=story

See also: https://passeursdhospitalitesenglish.wordpress.com/2017/05/10/eviction-of-porte-de-la-chapelle-camps-when-insufficiency-calls-for-violence/

But people keep arriving. The official ‘humanitarian’ camp opened by the ‘socialist’ mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo (400 places) absorbs only a minority of the numerous refugees who arrive in Paris. People queue all night to get in. Often they still are told there is no place and to come back the day after. Very ugly scenes every morning when people who have been queuing all night and are told to go away try to enter anyway and are attacked by police, watch the video:   https://www.facebook.com/edu.granados.9/posts/1442504379171264

In the ‘humaitarian’ camp they sleep in containers inside a squalid disused hangar, behind the absurdly bright bubble that is at the entrance. Clothes and facilities are minimal, really there isn’t much. The humanitarian camp functions as sorting place for people towards CAO. People are not given the correct information, for instance they are not told that if they have fingerprints in Dublin countries they can be deported there.  The camp is run by Emmaus, Utopia56 helping. Many more people sleep outside, in many different places but the highest concentration is at porte de la Chapelle. Police destroy tents and blankets. The Town Hall  even put stones to prevent people  from sleeping – the stones were cut and removed by citizens in solidarity with refugees. Like in Calais and Dunkirk people sleep out in Paris with only blankets and sleeping bags, exposed to police violence, exposed to arrests and police destroy blankets too.  The official camp only takes adult men. The promised camp for women and children never saw the light. Many women and children are accommodated by volunteers and concerned citizens, at at their own expenses, the French State does not put a penny. The 115 number for emergency accommodation is always full. The Red Cross, who run some services for minors, keep refusing accommodation to all minors who cannot prove their age. Bed spaces moreover are totally insufficient. Many minors end up sleeping out.

DEMONSTRATION 2nd June

https://www.facebook.com/events/715311468648525/

Solidarité migrants Wilson's photo.

Rassemblement le 2 juin Porte de la Chapelle

 

What’s wrong with CAO?

Dispersing people in temporary accommodation simply is not working, not for all anyway, not for all the new people who arrive and do not find a place, not for all the people with Dublin fingerprints, who can be deported back there but often are not told that or they are lied to, there are protests and hungers strikes in CAO  against deportations. Living conditions vary very much and some CAO are nice others are truly horrible. CAO stands for Centre d’Accueil et Orientation but in fact the orientation is absent, except where there are local associations and volunteers to provide it. No information, not enough interpreters, no much chance to make a good application for asylum leading to a larger number of deportations. Dispersion and making people invisible. CAO are not detention centres and not close camps, people can come and go as they wish and they can leave any time but if they leave  they are not entitled to any State support for two years. They can stay unconditionally for about 2 months but after the only solution on offer is to apply for asylum in France. Not all people want to apply for asylum in France and many want to go to England or other countries.  There are ever increasing numbers of people sleeping in the streets or in the woods, in Calais, Paris, Dunkirk etc, in ever worsening and more life-threatening conditions: people who have just arrived and people who are leaving CAO because it does provide a solution for them.

What is wrong with associations?

The associations  are not challenging the very politics that lead to this appalling state of affairs; quite the opposite, there is often collaboration of associations with government, even in implementing policies that are not in the best interest of the migrants  and against their will. The issue is an old one, most associations seem to have double loyalties: to the institutions and to the people they are supposed to be helping. Only, the collaboration and written approval of the destruction of Calais ‘jungle’and dispersal of people to CAO by the presidents of Secours Catholique, Auberge des migrants, Emmaus, Medicins du Monde and FNARS seems to open a new era of open collaboration of charities and NGOs with the French State. I do not feel I can trust them after that and I do not understand how can anybody trust them or want to work with them.  They are often not very capable of managing anything more complex than aid distributions, such as court cases and political matters in general. (I am not saying out of spite or anger, I am saying because it is what I really and truly think). Most associations (the Auberge for instance)  claim to be non-political  but they do not limit themselves to giving blankets, instead they meddle with politics an awful lot.  I really think we need a new network of volunteers, activists and associations who are not inclined to collaborate with police and government and can be trusted by the migrants. And above all we need political action, solidarity means fighting the border regime not just giving humanitarian aid – though that is also vitally important, nobody can survive without food or blankets or walk without shoes, and is important in what way aid is given. Solidarity not charity! I am afraid the governments are going towards a final solution Nazi style, war and genocide are of their making, you see how many people are dying in the Mediterranean, the EU States do not care as long as they can get away with letting people drown;  people are pushed in the woods without means of survival, like in France, or are put into State camps where they would die of cold and starvation , like in Greece: 13 people died last winter in camps that had not been equipped for the winter but they would have died by the hundreds if it was not for the independent volunteers. People are deported back to countries at war, the UK and other Northern countries are sending people to their deaths, and Europe is preparing to deport many thousands more. Then how would you expect the same imperialists who are causing or fuelling wars worldwide to be kind to people when they come to Europe as refugees?  It is politics, the refugee crisis is not an humanitarian crisis, it is the result of politics. Giving blankets and food can keep people alive,  maybe not even that as living conditions deteriorate further and become increasingly life threatening, but what   future for the people? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Death of a young man and vigil

 

The night 20th July a young man who has not yet been named died hit by a lorry.  His body was found in the morning, badly maimed. He is believed to be of African origin. 9 people have died this year at Calais border. 26 last year, that we know of. Anti-racists held a vigil in place d’Armes. Good turn out, around 40 people. No more deaths! Justice for the living! Every time there is a death at the border we shall gather.

More on  https://passeursdhospitalitesenglish.wordpress.com/2016/07/21/an-unknown-migrant-died-on-the-motorway/

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Evictions and living conditions

 129 UNACCOMPANIED MINORS UNACCOUNTED FOR SINCE THE DEMOLITION

 

After the brutal eviction of the South side of the ‘jungle’, the authorities suddenly promised they will leave the North side standing for now. The promise was quickly broken.

A small section of the camp in the North side, near Jules-Ferry, has been evicted and destroyed, 40 people and 15 shelters that had been there for a very long time. Volunteers had just enough time to help people move.  A report:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/CalaisMigrantSolidarityActionFromUK/permalink/1029147200493360/

The hunger strike ends after 25 days 

Another illegal eviction : a squat opened by activists on Easter Sunday in a former homeless shelter was evicted by police and Town Hall authorities on the same day, illegally as the owner had not requested the eviction and procedures were not followed. 8 activists were arrested and charged with bullshit offenses: trespass, degradation, refuse to give a document ID. They walked free from court and issued the following report:

https://calaismigrantsolidarity.wordpress.com/2016/04/03/a-political-victory-une-victoire-politique/

 

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After completing the eviction of the South side, the authorities told the associations in
an official meeting that they will not evict the North side for the next two months,
and volunteers are welcome to keep working there and improve the conditions. Probably this sudden U-turn – originally they were determined to destroy everything and leave only the containers – comes from fear that people will spread along the coast as several smaller jungles were set up by migrants just before the eviction. Care4Calais counted 14 new camps with 15 to 150 people in each. Of course, there are more hidden camps, and quite a few people have gone to Belgium, despite Belgium closing the border. Existing ‘jungles’ in other places, like Hazebrouk and Norrent Fontes, have filled up three times their normal size with refugees coming from Calais.The new accommodation centres where people are taken by coach are not a great success and have a drop out rate of nearly 25%, i.e. a quarter of the people leave without saying anything, many have returned to Calais. So now we have several hundreds of  people spread along the coast and thousands of people crammed in the North side, feeling insecure and demoralised, but no significant reduction in numbers. New people continue to arrive. The government have done a new count of Calais jungle and found 3500 in all, but their numbers are always a gross underestimate. An independent count has just been published by the association Help Refugee, who shockingly found 129 minors have gone missing since the eviction! In total, refugees still in the Calais camp are 4946 according to Help Refugees, 4432 adults and 514 children, of whom 294 are unaccompanied minors. – read the full report here: 
but who can count all the people in new camps? The concentration-style container camp is now housing 1400 including 140 children, 85 unaccompanied. The blue tent camp, that is also securitized and run by La vie active, is quite empty because most tents are damaged and unusable.  170 women and children sleep inside Jules-Ferry, stuck like sardines in the containers there as the big heated tents are now damp and unusable, and more women sleep outside the centre. All around survives the autonomous anarchic jungle, only they are overcrowded in less than a third of the original size.

 

 

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The green band was evicted first, the part in the red is the South side that has just been evicted, all people who have not left are crammed in what remains, in the North side by the Jules-Ferry centre. You can see the white containers and the blue tents. Photo from the Auberge des migrants 

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There is a new autonomous family camp in the North side, housing some 200 families in donated caravans, lots of young children and babies – they have been barbarically gassed by CRS, ACAB, on Wednesday. The nearest water point is far from the family camp. Some newborn babies and their families are in hotels thanks to volunteers.
In the South side, the church, the boys’ centre , the No Borders info point and the school of chemin des Dunes are still standing. The legal centre continues to operate in the jungle but the cabin that hosted it  has been burned down in what is believed an arson attack. Jungle books and its radio have relocated to the North as well as Ashram kitchen. The independent women’s centre and Alice’s therapy centre have been lost because they could not be relocated. Everything else in the South has been bulldozed. A donated double-decker bus is replacing the women’s centre . Alice parked in the family camp and set up a new centre. Liz is still looking after the women and the unaccompanied minors,  most of the minors who were brutally evicted from the South side have relocated to the North side.
Volunteers have documented 6 cases of underage boys raped in the jungle in the last year, in some cases requiring hospital and stitches, and volunteers are saying some smugglers are targeting young boys for rape. It has been observed all through the migrants’ routes that some women – and some underage boys and girls too – sell sex to pay for their journeys as they have finished their money or have been robbed; this phenomenon  certainly does not stop in Calais. There is not much information about women being raped or pushed into prostitution as the women are reluctant to talk about it but it is clear as the light that in the jungle they have no protection, other than from their friends, husbands, brothers and communities – which works well if women are well connected, but many women are alone, or they have to take a boyfriend just to avoid other men’s attention.  Some women get beaten and abused regularly especially when their boyfriends or husbands get drunk. Most are too scared to walk out these relationships and would not know where to go, they are trapped. Other women have learnt to stand up for themselves, it is a matter of assertiveness and being connected, make good friends. One woman led her male companions on protests and actions on the motorway; another ran a club all winter long, all by herself with a little help from her friends, but it is hard to be a woman in a male-dominated environment. Even the women who sleep inside Jules-Ferry are in the jungle as soon as they go out. Women and families are generally unhappy to be living next to lots of single men and have said so.
the new family camp in the North side

The new family camp in the North side

There have been more traffic and traffic jams after the Easter break, record number of vehicles. 
 
Wednesday 30th , around 5 PM, there was a traffic jam and hundreds of migrants from the jungle managed to get on the motorway . Police reacted by throwing gas grenades. As people withdrew, police started shooting at longer range and well into the camp where people live. All the ‘jungle’ was engulfed in thick clouds of CS gas including the family area, 200 families with young children. Grenades kept falling on the roofs and in the streets. One person was wounded.The shooting kept going until well past 6 PM.
There were more traffic jams Thursday the 31st in the morning and in the afternoon near the jungle. Once again the police used excessive force, using CS gas and the water cannon.

 

from volunteer James Cartwright to Calais Migrant Solidarity (No Borders):

What’s on my mind? Gassing children.  An incident outside the camp resulted in teargas being fired indiscriminately at 4000 people in Calais today. I say indiscriminately because we felt the effects on the other side of the camp and I’m pretty sure they weren’t aiming for us. Between us and the spewing gas-cannisters was the family-area. We looked into purchasing gas-masks for children a while back, as this is not an isolated incident. They don’t make them. Because even fucking arms-manufacturers seemingly can’t envisage a time when you’d fire teargas at children. The French riot police clearly have a more vile and lurid imagination. Utter fucking inhuman bastards. And by the way, British taxes help fund this policing. We paid these collaborators to take hungry, poorly children and poison them in their makeshift homes.

some film and photos here:
but we need more photo and video evidence! If you have please send or send the links, thanks!
 
Fascists and cops
Attacks from far-right militias against migrants stopped for a while after some of the perpetrators were arrested but have resumed. Usually the attacks happen at night and involve groups of men and also some women armed with iron bars, chains, knives, gas and guns. The fash usually go around in cars and in large groups targeting refugees who are isolated or in small groups. They also attack activists and volunteers.  Sometimes people including underage boys have been kidnapped and beaten unconscious, they were robbed and many had broken bones. Gael Rougemont, who pointed a gun at the migrants during the pro-immigrants demonstration the 23rd January, was acquitted by the judge for ‘legitimate defense’! Other nazis are awaiting trial.
This unaccompanied minor from Afghanistan had an arm broken by a paramilitary militia of 10 they also stole his phone

This unaccompanied minor from Afghanistan had an arm broken by a paramilitary militia of 10; they also stole his mobile phone. Patriots or cowards? 

 Most of the violence though comes from the POLICE.
An independent survey conducted by the non-profit organization Refugees Rights on 850 people in the jungle chosen at random found that:
  • 73% of respondents have experienced police violence
  • 16.7% reported verbal abuse, 41.1% being exposed to tear gas, 28.3% physical violence, and 1% sexual violence
  • 57% have experienced tear gas ‘every day’ or ‘many times a week’. 17.4% have experienced tear gas ‘once a week’
  • 69.4% expressed that police treatment of refugees is ‘very bad’ or ‘bad’
  • 45.4% of respondents have experienced violence by citizens (non-police such as far-right groups)
  •  28.9% reported verbal abuse, 27.1% physical violence, and 1.4% sexual violenceIn total,
  • 86% of the children surveyed said they have experienced police violence since arriving in the camp. Of these, 61.2% were subject to physical violence and 28.1% verbal abuse. 95.9% reported being exposed to tear gas.Meanwhile, 49.6% of children responded that they have experienced violence by non-police citizens – 36.4% physical violence and 25.6% verbal abuse.44.6% of the children have family in the UK.For further statistics, visit http://refugeerights.org.uk/press-releases/
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Fires and fights
There has been a big fire in the North side, several shelters were destroyed. There has been a very big fight between Afghans and Sudanese, resulting in 17 Afghans in hospital, one lost one eye, and 20 Sudanese, one in serious condition but he survived. Allegedly the reason for the fight was a contended bicycle some Afghans had taken from a Sudanese. A big number of Sudanese went to  attack the Afghans in their camp – thoroughly a bad idea because the Afghans defend their territory and all join the fight like one and they are fearless: in fact, the Sudanese lost. I personally doubt that a bicycle alone, besides providing a trigger, can cause such a terrifying fight and I would look for a reason at the parkings near Marck, as there have been big massive fights for the control of these parkings in the past and these fights often continue in the camps where people live That is me playing Sherlock Holmes. I do not know, and people are reluctant to talk about. I am more concerned that fights should be kept out the camps where people live. Before the eviction of the South side there had been no big fights in the jungle for a long time, people and community elders managed very well to keep things together. In fact, the jungle was a model of community spirit and self- organization and a brilliant example of how people can live togehter without police or central authority: truly amazing, considering there were nearly 10.000 people at some point, from many different nationalities and ethnic groups. It can be the case that the sudden relocation of so many people to the North side has caused new problems besides the obvious stress from overcrowding. Volunteers are  saying the relocation has accelerated the formation of hierarchies inside the camp –  usually who creates hierarchies are the smugglers. Probably it means that people now find it more difficult to get away from the mafia for lack of space, or that people are under more pressure to support smugglers of their own nationality against others. This is a place  where there are thousands of people traumatised by wars, persecution, and deadly journeys, and there are several hundreds of women and children of all ages living in appalling  conditions under gas attacks, beatings by police and far-right militias, danger of fires, danger of fights, danger of sexual assaults.
 Destruction of the AFG camp in the South side
EVICTION OF THE SOUTH SIDE

 

Videos of the destruction of the ‘jungle’s South side
A video of the ‘jungle’ before the eviction of the South side:
Best sources of information on Calais are still
and Passeurs d’hospitalitees https://passeursdhospitalites.wordpress.com/
  
Volunteers and associations are a good source.
The mainstream media cannot be trusted.

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.

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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…

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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

https://calaismigrantsolidarity.wordpress.com/2015/12/02/december-14th-a-call-to-fight-borders-and-police-repression/

Collective statement:

https://calaismigrantsolidarity.wordpress.com/2015/11/12/common-statement-of-no-borders-in-calais-about-the-recen t-event-and-accusations-from-the-french-authorities/

Here are a  few reports and film of police violence:

August

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_NG0ESrMkhY

September

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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

https://calaismigrantsolidarity.wordpress.com/2015/09/22/tear-gas-on-the-jungle/

https://www.facebook.com/care4calais/videos/1054050181294605/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1b43qKru18

https://calaismigrantsolidarity.wordpress.com/2015/09/01/police-brutality-daily-life-in-calais-jungle/

October

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HURRhxBpeyQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3h1D5RLuqM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dESt6Ek2KMY

https://calaismigrantsolidarity.wordpress.com/2015/11/05/crs-fires-tear-gas-grenades-into-jungle-2112015/

November

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1SQoehCLvQ

https://calaismigrantsolidarity.wordpress.com/2015/11/05/crs-fires-tear-gas-grenades-into-jungle-2112015/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T5dm65GXvBk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7R94JqCegpI

https://calaismigrantsolidarity.wordpress.com/2015/12/04/police-violence-at-the-jungle-november-2015/

 

Repression and resistance

Autonomous, self-organized demonstrations from the jungle

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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:

VIDEOS: https://www.youtube.com/watchv=xDx7gEjc0IE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_NG0ESrMkhY

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

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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.

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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.

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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 https://calaismigrantsolidarity.wordpress.com/

 

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.

VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qncitZ4PQLo

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.

 

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21Wm18Otomw

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.

 

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

 

 

 

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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.

https://www.facebook.com/care4calais/videos/1054050181294605/

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.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJn-mcBWy5M

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Z9qRa4Tmdw

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.

VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCdfgXPoWDU c

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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:

https://calaismigrantsolidarity.wordpress.com/2015/11/09/pegida-demo-against-migration- 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:

https://calaismigrantsolidarity.wordpress.com/2015/11/24/solidarity-demo-with-and-of-sans-papiers-held-in-paris-at-the-weekend/

 

 

 

 

1st April in place d’Armes, Calais

1st April

This morning 1st April a group of No Borders activists and migrants with some people from associations occupied place d’Armes, Calais main square, and set up a jungle there, to remind local people, authorities and the world of the dire living conditions of migrants in Calais. Mr Charles de Gaulle, who was walking in the square with his Calais-born wife, was delighted, and helped pitch a tent and hold a sign.

See photos below in the links and some first media reactions.

More to come!

http://www.lavoixdunord.fr/region/calais-place-d-armes-des-militants-denoncent-ia33b48581n2746763

http://france3-regions.francetvinfo.fr/nord-pas-de-calais/2015/04/01/action-symbolique-des-no-borders-pour-soutenir-les-migrants-de-calais-696079.html

Ce  matin 1er Avril un groupe de militants NoBorders et de migrants avec des gens des associations occupaient la place d’Armes, la place principale de Calais, et mis en place une jungle là, pour rappeler aux gens locaux, les autorités et le monde des terribles conditions de vie des migrants à Calais. M. Charles de Gaulle, qui se promenait sur la place avec sa femme Calaisienne, était ravi, et a aidé à planter une tente et maintener un signe.

Voir photos ci-dessous  les liens et quelques premières réactions des médias.

Plus a venir!

 

 

Link

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The latest balance of the tragedy is 330 dead. Most were from Senegal and Mali. Amongst the victims a new born child – born on the boat – and his young mother, and a 12 years old boy.

According to 9 survivors, now in the ‘accommodation’ centre of Lampedusa, on Saturday in Libya they were forced on 4 dingy boats at gunpoint, 100 people per boat, The sea was very rough, with waves of 8 / 9 meters. Monday afternoon, according to the testimony of the survivors, a dingy capsized in the Channel of Sicily. Another had deflated before, creating panic aboard. Over 200 people were lost at sea this way. On Monday, a third dingy was rescued by the Italian Navy. 76 migrants were saved but 29 others died of cold, 7 before and 22 after the rescue. A fourth dingy is still missing and there are no news, but at this stage there is no hope to find any survivors.

Another immense tragedy caused by Europe’s inhuman immigration policies.

This is the first result of the end of the military / humanitarian operation Mare Nostrum by the Italian Navy, now replaced by the Frontex operation Triton. Mare Nostrum were very efficient in rescuing boats in distress: they saved the lives of over 120.000 people. Triton do not have their resources – their budget is 1/3 of that of Mare Nostrum. Worst still, they do not have the mandate to operate outside Italian territorial waters. In a letter from the 9th of December 2014, Klaus Rösler, director of Operations of Frontex,  attacked the Italian authorities for assigning vessels “into zones outside the operational area of Triton”. This “would not correspond to the operational plan” and not every SOS-call needed to be acted upon, Rösler continued. He points to the responsibility of the Libyan coastguards which, as it is known, do not operate anymore, due to renewed war-like conflicts. In other words, Rösler has unambiguously appealed to let refugees and migrants die at sea.

triton-cace2-1 minori stranieri non accompagnati

Passing ships can still rescue people in international waters, at their own expenses. It is not a crime and it is also endorsed by the code of the sea, which obliges to assist vessels in distress – though ship captains and fishermen in the past have been charged with the crime of aiding illegal immigration. However the absence of patrol boats in international waters delays rescues, causing mass deaths of migrants  and making operations much more dangerous also for the rescuers.

The utterly sad and utterly  shameful spectacle of coffins arriving in Lampedusa has resumed.

How comes they were forced on dinghies at gun point? The route via Libya is favourite again, after accords between Italy and the Egyptian regime to stop migration. Post-Ghaddafi Lybia is in a state of total chaos, with two main warring factions fighting each other. Criminal organizations and unscrupulous smugglers are running the country.

On the conditions on Libya’s immigration detention centres, built by the will of EU and Italy, and financed by them, read the Human Rights Watch report:

http://www.hrw.org/node/126704

(as for the recommendations, the best recommendation would be not to ‘reform’- that is an impossibility, but to shut these infamous prisons for immigrants down)

links to previous articles:

Deaths in the Mediterranean

https://watchtheborders.wordpress.com/2014/10/05/deaths-in-the-mediterranean/

South of Lampedusa

https://watchtheborders.wordpress.com/2014/01/05/south-of-lampedusa/