Archivi categoria: protests

Calais border, news after the summit Macron-May

Thursday 25th January black day for Calais. A 16 years old Eritrean teenager very seriously injured, he was shot in the face with a gas grenade : he lost an eye and his nose has gone inside his skull he risks to lose the other eye and has multiple skull fractures: the police arrested his two friends who had gone to the police station to testify, later they were released. The boy was shot during an attack with gas and rubber bullets against refugees who were trying to recuperate their possessions, before the CRS destroy their tents near the place of food distribution in rue Verrotieres. The police destroyed everything under the eyes of refugees and volunteers and lots of gas and rubber bullets were fired to disperse the people. The gas attack and destruction of people’s shelters and belongings involved all the food distribution area, 4migrant people were taken to hospital. The attack can be seen in a video diffused by the Auberge des migrants.

I think Mr Macron should explain this extreme violence from the police who shot the Eritrean 16 years old boy in the face and injured him so terribly. Unbelievable the president of France just praised the behaviour of police in Calais and threatened to prosecute anyone who accuse the police of being violent ‘without a proof’, what proof? the CRS are shooting gas canisters in people’s faces, and what can justify doing that to a kid? Stop this Nazi barbarism. Solidarity action! We need everybody to defend the people who are receiving such terrible injustice. Shame on Macron, shame on the prefect and shame on the CRS. There is a solidarity call out STOP POLICE VIOLENCE 03 February 14.00 in rue Verrotieres, Calais

People are sleeping out in this cold now, when is -0 the authorities open some shelters but now for instance is very cold and it rains but is not -0 or storm and everybody sleeps out. They don’t even have enough blankets because we are just after a big destruction by police. No wonder people are angry, many turn to drinking because they are desperate and who would not drink in such situation, these are people very traumatized. Many new people have arrived after Macron’s visit, some hundreds, dozens of women and many minors, some came because they heard the UK were taking in minors from Calais and where disappointed. There is no place for minors in Calais but two little hostels in St Omer with bad food and not enough bed spaces for all and most kids want to go to UK and come to Calais to try. They sleep in the jungle. A 15 years old from Afghanistan died at the end of 2017, when he was hit by a vehicle. Ways of trying to go UK have became even more dangerous as the border becomes more difficult to cross. But people keep crossing, and it keeps their hope alive.
As usual the press are representing the migrants as ‘the problem’ and speaking of ‘rising tensions between migrants and police’ when in fact the police have been causing all the tension, and all the damage. A few people throwing stones at cops in riot gear in retaliation for the shower of gas does not certainly match the flash balls, gas grenades, rubber coated bullets, truncheons, CS spray and real guns. Who gets badly hurt are the refugees, the policemen get lightly injured sometimes. There is no proportion. A man climbed on one of the pylons and threatened to jump, he has mental health problems. People are exasperated and pushed over the edge of survival.
See also:

Summit Macron – Theresa May on the 18.01.2018: Re-negotiation at Sandhurst of Le Toquet accords (2002, in vigour since 2003, by virtue of which UK border controls moved to French soil). The UK promise 50 million euros (£ 44.5 million) to secure the Calais border in 2018. More money for the French police, for the dogs, the scanners, the CO2 detectors, new walls, electronic surveillance, in sum to close and militarize the border further.
Macron promises to speed up asylum applications and deportations. Refusals and deportations from France have already increased in 2017, and will further increase. The 11th December the French government have announced their new immigration policies. The legal NGO Cimade denounce hardening of the policies and severe restrictions of asylum rights.

The only half good news are that the Dubs scheme is opened again, allowing unaccompanied minors with no family to go leglly to UK, but the details have not been defined and there is not information. The authorites also promised to speed up family reunions, when both France and the UK have been delaying procedures and bringing to a halt the transfers promised – after the destruction of the ‘jungle’ in 2016, the UK promised to take in 3000 kids, took 750 and closed procedures breaking their promise and leaving the others minors stranded. On Monday last, 118 unaccompanied minors were taken by coach from Calais to an improvised accommodation centre in Merlimont, Calais region . The day after more than half of these kids were already leaving on foot towards Calais.

During his visit in Calais, 16.01.2018, Macron promised no new camps will be allowed to form ; there are well over 1000 migrant people sleeping out in Calais alone, including many minors, impossible to do even an approximate count in such situation. They do not even have enough access to WATER, people have been spotted drinking from puddles.

Associations provide water but only for a few hours each day. The toilets in the back were knocked down by strong winds.

Most people in Calais jungles are from Afghanistan, Eritrea, Ethiopia including many Oromo, Sudan, other African countries , a few Syrians, Egyptians, Kurds, Libyans and Iraqui Arabs. Thousands more people have spread in the region and all around the coast. Near Dunkirk too people camp in the woods, most are Iraqi Kurds including families with young children: their tents are regularly destroyed by police. In Ouisterham near Caen a jungle inhabited by 200 Sudanese have been recently destroyed ; local people have mobilized to shelter the people in their homes, and have organized two 1000 strong demonstrations. There are people sleeping out in Le Havre and as far as Bilbao in the Basque Country. People are sleeping out with the police chasing them, spraying them with CS gas, beating them and destroying their shelters and belongings .

Some of the tents that were destroyed in rue Verrotieres

In Belgium there are people trying to rejoin the UK from Brussels (by Eurostar) . There are no more ferries going to UK from Belgium, though some people go to Belgium to board lorries bound for Calais or Dunkirk. The largest concentration is in Brussels, 600 people at least, they gather in park Maximilien. There is a fantastic citizens’ mobilization, over 300 local people are sheltering migrant people in their homes when police want to arrest them, and their movement is growing! The citizens have formed a human chain of 2500 people around the station when the police announced more raids. The human chain in Brussels

Macron did not extend his visit to the jungle  but met the local authorities, first with the racist mayor of Calais Natacha Bouchart. 50 local people waited to meet the president in front of the Town Hall for selfies and autographs, 50 is not a great crowd and that shows how popular Macron is here. Demonstrations are forbidden in Calais under state of emergency: a few people tried to express their dissent against Macron’s anti- immigration policies, but also against his policies against workers, and were arrested or removed from the premises. After the mayor, Macron met with the police, and he praised the police’s actions, clearing them of any wrong doing ; he said that those who accuse the police ‘without proof’ will be prosecuted. A clear green light to more police violence. Volunteers , activists and migrants have been documenting and denouncing routine use of gas and beatings by police, also against people who are just walking, or sleeping, including children and women. A very young unaccompanied boy reports the police opened his tent when he was sleeping and sprayed CS gas inside. Local associations are taking the police to court over repeated destruction of people’s shelters and sleeping bags and they have marked those items as their ‘property’. Human Rights Watch have published a series of reports on Calais human rights violations, here the links to the most recent ones. ALSO IN ENGLISH

Macron then had a meeting with the associations who help the migrants but three major associations, the Auberge des migrants, Utopia 56 and Medicins du Monde, refused to meet him as they do not want to be seen as accomplishes to more repressive measures. They did however collaborate with, and even approve of the destruction of the ‘jungle’ in 2016: what is happening now is the result of that eviction and was totally predictable. So their current stance on government policies is too little, too late, and probably arrives because the associations themselves are under attack. We really lack a platform who can speak up and defend migrants rights in Calais that is migrant-led, nobody but the people involved have a right to speak about their own situation, and nobody knows it better than them.

People living in the jungle are organizing autonomously. On the occasion of Macron’s visit they hung banners in the jungle reading OPEN THE BORDER, ABOLISH DUBLIN and STOP POLICE VIOLENCE . A group of people who sleep in the jungle wrote a collective statement that was endorsed by many, link below. They have set up a blog called Voice of Refugees, Calais. Of course Macron did not meet with the refugees and did not go near the jungle. For the authorities, refugees and other migrants are not subjects, they are objects of increasingly repressive policies. It is institutional racism of the worst kind. Things are very bleak indeed, and will become even bleaker. Nevertheless people are not put off, they keep arriving, they brave the terrible living conditions and the constant violence and threat of violence by police, and they keep going to the UK. They keep strong, incredibly cheerful and positive and the community spirit that unites all is still there and is amazing, but there are also frequent fights between different ethnic groups over access to the motorway, and over territory and scarce resources. Many people become ill, Medicins du Monde who now has a mobile clinic and a doctor report they have never seen such a high percent of sick people and blame the appalling living conditions. There is a lot of alcohol and drug abuse also among minors, especially psychiatric drugs that are sold on the black market and mix very badly with alcohol, drunken fights are a problem.

Over 90 % of merchandise directed to UK pass through Calais, it is the nearest port city to the UK, and there are many ferries and many lorries, only 1 hour 1/2 journey to the UK by ferry ( 2 hours from Dunkirk and 30 hours from Bilbao). People do not stop coming to Calais. A few days after Macron’s visit hundreds new people arrived, including many minors and quite a few women, and they keep arriving. Many come from Belgium to escape the police raids there. There is a new shelter in Calais for women where they are protected but outside it is very dangerous and particularly for women and children, they are more exposed than ever to sexual violence, trafficking and exploitation. Instead there is no shelters for young children (very few) and for unaccompanied minors (very numerous). The jungle is no place for a child : a 14 years boy has lost half a finger for a knife injury sustained during a fight between Africans and Afghans: the doctors had to amputate, and the rest of the hand is badly damaged. There are two shelters for minors but in St Omer not in Calais, bed spaces are totally insufficient but nobody want to stay there anyway, the food is bad and is not halal and there is nothing to do. The youngest kid in the jungle is just 10, he is with his brother. The youngest unaccompanied minor is 13. He was telling me he has seen a man dying when a group of people went on the motorway to stop the traffic, and a lorry did not stop. All he wants is to go to school and play football and cricket. Why does he have to risk his life for that?

Most people who are in the jungles do not go to the centre of Calais any more because every time they walk they are afraid to be arrested and deported, to first ‘safe countries’ under the Dublin 3 agreements, even if they have been refused there, or even to home countries including countries at war such as Afghanistan and Sudan. The local detention centre is full and people are sent also to other centres, and the deportation machine is working faster and faster. People are hiding their nationality to avoid deportation. Macron wants to double the time people can be detained. He wants to speed up asylum application in France, that results in a rise of refusals of asylum applications, and speed up deportations. Macron does not propose any other solutions, and detention and deportations are not solutions: people keep arriving because they need to save their lives, or come back from first safe countries where they had been deported, and numbers of people sleeping rough or in sub-standard accommodation keep going up. It is a hellish crazy nightmare.

In Paris things are particularly nasty, there are at least 1500 refugees sleeping rough with the police chasing them with gas and truncheons, like in Calais, the only difference is that volunteer groups such as Paris Ground Support usually manage to salvage people’s tents, bedding and belongings and wash them. In Calais police slash tents with knives and spray bedding with CS gas, after that it is impossible to wash the stuff and it can only be dumped. VOLUNTEERS IN CALAIS ARE STRUGGLING TO COPE: THERE ARE NEVER ENOUGH MATERIALS AND NEVER ENOUGH VOLUNTEERS, PLEASE HELP. In Dunkirk is even worst. Mobile Refugee Support are doing a great job, and have a good emergency response. Refugee Community Kitchen are preparing 2000 to 2700 meals per day, distributed in Calais twice, in Dunkirk once, and in a couple small camps. If you do the maths is 1000 people, more or less, eating at the distributions in Calais, some eat twice but some do not go to the distributions… well over 1000 people present in Calais then. Macron has announced the State will take over food distributions, and bizarrely RCK welcomed the announcement. I see it as an attempt to get rid of the associations, at least those who sometimes oppose the government, and to get rid of independent witnesses. Who controls the food controls the population, and armed police have been already seen at food distributions.
After the UK-France summit and the visit of Macron to Calais, immigration policies reach a new low in inhumanity and irrationality. We must oppose them and defend our brothers and sisters.

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



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:    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)



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’.

Full  report (in French):                                                                

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.

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.


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)

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.


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. People who sleep in the parks or in other places are not counted in the article.


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



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.

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.


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:  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.

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:

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.  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.

UNICEF ‘concerned’ about the minors evicted from the official camp, reports of violence and exploitation /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 (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



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:

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:

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.


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? 


















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: