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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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Annunci

The UK government stop taking children. Snow in Calais. New report of police violence in Paris.

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Protest at 10 Downing Street. Photo: Stand Up To Racism

 

Shameful betrayal of the kids by the UK government! Only 350 unaccompanied children have been let in the UK of the 3000 that should have been taken in under the Dubs amendment to the Immigration Bill.  Theresa May’s government officially closed procedures, claiming a lack of spaces available to local councils. The consultation that produced that number is nine months out of date and numerous councils have offered placements for the children. We must call on government to re-consult those councils. https://www.theguardian.com/social-care-network/2017/feb/13/home-office-lying-capacity-care-child-refugees

Two protests in front of Downing Street have taken place already, one on Friday evening called by Stand Up to Racism, one on Saturday lunch time called by Citizens UK – Lord Dubs handed in a petition, a number of online petitions are circulating. Please sign, and write to your MP. Keep up the pressure! #dubsnow #refugeeswelcome

http://www.citizensuk.org/dubs_petition

https://www.change.org/p/theresa-may-mp-give-unaccompanied-child-refugees-a-home-dubsnow?

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/183943

Go to the next protest and bring friends!

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There has been heavy snowfall in Calais with temperatures dropping to -5 degrees. Many minors  are sleeping out in this cold,  150  minors sleeping rough have been registered by volunteers but of course there are more, and many adults, of which most are very young. Nobody knows exactly how many are sleeping out and it is impossible to count them, but they are hundreds. Most are Eritreans; Ethiopians, Sudanese and Afghans are also very numerous. The former jungle has been razed to the ground and access to the area forbidden (for ‘security reasons’). People hide in the bushes or in abandoned buildings – no one sleeps in visible places like by the roundabout any more, for fear of police and  racist attacks. Some minors have found accommodation in local people’s homes, as well as some women with young children, or are sheltered by volunteers.  The centre run by France Terre d’Asile is in St Omer not Calais and can only accommodate 40 – 45 boys (original capacity was 30). Other kids sleep in a disused school but also there places are nowhere near sufficient. Most kids at night do not want to stay in a centre for minors, they want to try for England. Many were already in centres for minors across France but have left after being let down by the UK and French governments, and are now sleeping rough and risking their lives jumping in the back of lorries to go to the UK.       See also: https://passeursdhospitalitesenglish.wordpress.com/2017/02/12/calais-minors-under-the-snow/

More kids will be thrown out in the streets by the 20th February when the whole CAOMIE (centres for minors) scheme comes to an end, without any solution afterwards. The authorities have no plan for the extreme cold in Calais this year. All services including the most essential have been cut off – zero tolerance towards migrants sleeping in the Calais area. Sleeping out in sub-zero temperatures is life-threatening. To stop people from crossing police are using very violent methods, that are also life-threatening, such as firing gas grenades and rubber bullets directly at people, and minors are not spared. Gangs of fascists are looking for migrants and taking photos and film. Risk of being attacked by violent mobs of racists is high, especially at night. Police have been following volunteers distributing vital humanitarian aid and are disrupting food distributions, kids just run when they see the police. Kids are not eating enough, nobody is eating enough, they are lucky if they get a meal. The mayor of Calais Natacha Bouchart has initiated legal action to close the day centre of Secours Catholique, where many kids sleeping in the area find shelter during the day, and has put a skip in front of the showers’ entrance to stop access.

The official camp in Dunkirk is hosting over 1000 people including many minors. A recent article in The Guardian has highlighted the abuse women and children endure, including rape and beatings. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/12/dunkirk-child-refugees-risk-sexual-violence?

Meanwhile in Paris people continue to arrive, and more and more end up sleeping in the streets. Including many minors. A new camp of 300 people near Porte de la Chapelle was destroyed by police in the night between the 9th and the 10th February. Photos and film here: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1779020532424578&id=100009499466124&pnref=story.unseen-section          Large stones were put on the ground to prevent people to sleep there. Police are regularly destroying tents and blankets, even with sub-zero temperatures. While in Paris, RRDP researchers were confronted by “alarming” scenes in the La Chapelle district.“While we were there, we witnessed the police taking people’s belongings — some in the night, some in the daytime — it’s quite a visible phenomenon,” said Natalie Stanton, RRDP Deputy Director wrote. Research conducted by this groups is showing that 59.6 percent of refugees said they had been woken up by police and forced to move during the night, with 54 percent describing the experience as “violent”, and 52 percent saying they “felt scared”. At the same time, 36.5 percent of respondents said they had experienced other forms of police violence in Paris, including physical beatings and verbal abuse. A third had their sleeping bag, tent, blanket, clothes or other belongings taken by police, citizens, or other refugees.    The official camp opened by the mayor of Paris Annie Hidalgo only takes up  to 50 male adults per day, as 50 per day are sent to CAO (welcome centres across France) but many more people arrive;  many leave CAO because their needs and expectations are not met. The camp for women and children has yet to open and the facilities for minors are totally insufficient – some minors are put in hotels, paid for by associations, some are sheltered in people’s homes but many are in the streets. 

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/refugee-crisis-paris-migrants-france-police-sleeping-bags-blankets-violence-refugee-rights-data-a7575376.html

CAO stands for Centre d’accueil et orientation, Welcome and Orientation Centre but in fact the orientation is absent, except when there are local associations to provide it. In some CAO people had to make their asylum applications without even having seen an interpreter in their own language. Applying for asylum in France is the only option at the end, other than being put in the streets again. People are often not told they can be deported if they have finger prints in Dublin countries. People are even lied to, as it happened to the migrants in Calais ‘jungle’, who were encouraged to go to CAO on the basis of an oral promise by Bernard Cazeneuve, former Interior minister, that they would not be put on Dublin procedure. Cazeneuve has been known to lie through his teeth on several occasions, so why did anyone trust his ‘oral promise’? Deportations to Dublin countries have increased. See also: https://passeursdhospitalitesenglish.wordpress.com/2017/02/08/dublin-again-inside-and-outside-the-caos/

People are also threatened with deportation to countries at war and two Sudanese have been deported back to Sudan. Detention centres are full and deportations at an historical high.

I question the responsibility of the associations who collaborated with the government during Calais eviction, even giving their approval to the ‘plan Cazeneuve’: eviction of the ‘jungle’ in one week and forced displacement of some 10.000 people under threat by  heavy armed police, without real solutions and without longer term plans. The only ‘solution’ is to apply for asylum in France, and from a disadvantaged position, leading to a higher rate of refusals – resulting in  higher numbers of people at risk to be deported, also to countries at war. Which is in line with the overall response of the European governments to the refugee ‘crisis’: more refusals, more deportations, more push backs, more prisons and more walls. How could the associations ‘get along’ with the plan cazeneuve? Why did the Presidents of these associations think it was a good plan? Please read the open letter, English translation in the footnotes. http://www.secours-catholique.org/sites/scinternet/files/comm_presse/lettre_ouverte_au_president_de_la_republique_29_09_2016.pdf What is happening now was totally predictable then, and the eviction should have been opposed altogether, until real solutions were proposed. 

Living conditions in CAO and CAOMIE (CAO for unaccompanied minors) variate very much: some centres are quite nice but some are truly terrible: cold, squalid, overcrowding, not enough food, not enough toilets and showers, insects, lack facilities, lack of activities, sheer boredom, isolation; specific to CAOMIE: lack of care, no access to education, no psychologists, no trained staff, rigid discipline, bullying by bigger kids, in some cases even proximity to adults. There have been protests and hunger strikes in many CAO and CAOMIE. Kids are already traumatized by war and by the journey. A minor in CAOMIE has committed suicide and another has tried to commit suicide (that I know of) by jumping from a window. Many minors have left already and many have gone to Paris or Calais.

Many of the minors in Paris and Calais are returning but most are new, having arrived in Europe recently. There have never been so many children travelling alone, as the world becomes an increasingly dangerous place. Only a minority of the kids makes it to Europe, where they are not welcome. From Greece to the Balkans, from Italy to France thousands of children are in the streets, in the care of nobody, exposed to all sorts of dangers including being sold into slavery, killed for their organs, or more commonly exploited, including being forced into labour, drug dealing, petty theft or prostitution. Over 10.000 minors have disappeared in Europe and nobody knows what happened to them. The lucky ones who make it are not out of danger: the UK (and Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Belgium and the Netherlands, Germany and France want to start ) are deporting former child asylum seekers after they turn 18 – to Afghanistan in particular. The security situation in Afghanistan has never been worst, internal displacement is very high and thousands of children are at risk of dying of starvation. It is a hard and cruel reality and the truth needs to be known.

The only people who can make a difference are you and me. The only people who can make a difference are the citizens who stand in solidarity, who send humanitarian aid, who volunteer in Calais (or Paris, or Greece), who protest in front of Downing Street, who welcomed children and vulnerable people in their homes. In France the solidarity movement is huge, from the Roya Valley to Paris and to Calais so many people open their homes to refugees and other migrants, or driving them around, risking arrest and being taken to court – but so far nobody has been sent to prison for solidarity ‘crime’. Solidarity is everything, united we stand, divided we fall.

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The wall of Calais appears rather small. Nearby I found discarded gas canisters.

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The containers camp is being dismantled. According to some sources, the containers are being moved to a location out of Calais to accommodate unaccompanied minors.

Open letter of the associations to Hollande :                                                            http://www.secours-catholique.org/sites/scinternet/files/comm_presse/lettre_ouverte_au_president_de_la_republique_29_09_2016.pdf

 My English translation:
Mr. President of the Republic,

Last week, Ms Cosse and Mr Cazeneuve met our associations in order to present the plan to dismantle the Calais “jungle” of Calais where thousands of exiles live in pitiful conditions.
We have informed the ministers that our organisations would support such a plan, and could go along with it, if all the measures to permit the protection and respect to the fundamental human rights of the people are guaranteed. You yourself, when you visited the site, reminded us that the State would find a worthy and effective solution to this humanitarian tragedy.
However, there remains one unanswered question concerning the dismantlement of the Jungle: it regards the progressive disappearance of all the apparatus created over the last two years and comprises of the Jules Ferry “welcome” day centre and the centre of temporary “welcoming” (CAO)
We hope that these facilities can continue to provide a humane and dignified solution in this very complex situation where exiles will attempt – regardless of their motivation – to travel to Great Britain from Calais.
It is our wish that this apparatus remain until a humane and dignified solution can be brought to the very complex situation of exiles who wish to – whatever their motivation – to travel from the United Kingdom from Calais. Otherwise, we would return to exactly the situation that prevailed during the years after the closure of the Sangatte centre, the utter abandonment of hundreds of men, women and children living in the streets, woods and squats of Calais, even more at the mercy of the criminal smuggler networks and dangers of all sorts, both summer and winter.
Nobody seriously believes that there will be no more attempts to reach the UK. No one seriously believe that this will lead to an overnight decline in migrants heading to Calais. So how to respond in a pragmatic and humane way to this difficult situation? It is on this question which we have worked for years, for a long time without any support from the State, for three years on a difficult road, for three years in a real partnership [with the State] 
We cannot support or participate a dismantlement project which will annihilate of this the work while it remains useful.
We demand of you, Mr President, to confirm the maintaining in place of the humanitarian assets of the Jules Ferry Center and the CAP whilst the migrant fluxes towards Calais continue and to make it so that the work of the public authorities with the associations remains a work of confidence and transparency.

Please accept, Mr. President of the Republic, our highest consideration..

Véronique Fayet, Présidente Secours Catholique – Caritas France
Thierry Khun, Président Emmaüs France
Christian Salomé, Président L’Auberge des Migrants
Louis Gallois, Président FNARS
Françoise Sivignon, Présidente MdM

Return to Calais – Fascist attacks and police repression

There are currently hundreds of people who have returned to Calais, trying to cross to the UK. The majority are from Eritrea and Ethiopia but there are also Sudanese and Afghans, underage or very young, as police cannot arrest minors and put them in deportation centres.  Adults instead are not just arrested and released, like often in the past, they are put in detention, where they can  apply for asylum in France under threat of deportation, or be sent back to Dublin countries if they have fingerprints there. The deportation centre in Coquelles is always full and people are also dispatched to other centres. There is a very good group of Calais based activists who support people in detention. Few women and young children are sheltered by local people. Some minors have been put in structures for minors but the majority are sleeping out, hiding from the police and the fascists who are chasing them. The Calaisisens en colere are looking for migrants and taking photos and film, and telling the police where people are.  There are reports of a fascist attack at a roundabout with kids and young people beaten up. People are pushed further into hiding and condemned to invisibility.

Sorry for sharing this fascists shit, it to show what they are up to.

https://www.facebook.com/Lescalaisiensencolere/?fref=ts

Care4Calais and Utopia56 have been providing essential aid such as sleeping bags and food. A food distribution by Utopia was interrupted by police, the kids who went to the distribution ran, the volunteers were identified by police and told they are not welcome. http://www.francetvinfo.fr/monde/europe/migrants/les-migrants-sont-de-retour-a-calais_2040245.html The French government’s policy in Calais is still zero tolerance, no camps no squats, no essential services such as food distributions, not even a shelter for the extreme cold. A 16 years old was treated in hospital for hypothermia, that we know of. Ministers held a meeting on Monday to announce new projects for Calais migrants. Despite the promise made by Bernard cazeneuve in November and the evidence of continued arrivals, the only government announcements were of the opening of a new CAO (Welcome and Orientation Centre) in the Pas-de-Calais (but not in the vicinity of the city of Calais ); the freeing up of some places in the CAO of Arras , and the increase of patrols by the French Office of Immigration and Integration (OFII) to convince Africans and Afghans to give up their dreams of Britain. Migrants never left, there have always been migrants sleeping in the Calais area though after the eviction they may not have numbered more than a few dozens. The associations estimate there are between 400 and 600 migrants in Calais at the end of January,  30 new people are estimated to arrive every day and the associations’ numbers are always conservative; so there are really lots of people, probably more than  the associations estimate, and numbers keep going up. http://www.nordlittoral.fr/16956/article/2017-01-26/entre-400-et-600-migrants-dans-le-calaisis-d-apres-les-associations

If the kids do not give up we should not give up either! Calais is not finished, there are hundreds of stubborn migrants who have refused ‘la main tendue’ of the French government and still want to go to England.

Many of the migrant kids are new, they have never been in Calais before. Some are returning after being evicted from the ‘jungle’ and let down by the UK and French authorities. Only 860 were allowed in the UK of the 1,952 present in Calais during the evicition and the British authorities have officially closed procedures in December. In addition to those who have already left the CAOMIE (Welcome and Orientation Centre for isolated minors) there could be another 1000+ minors in the streets of France as these centres for minors officially close the 31st January without clear plans for afterwards. http://www.lemonde.fr/immigration-et-diversite/article/2017/01/26/inquietude-pour-l-avenir-des-migrants-mineurs_5069502_1654200.html

One of the Oromo kids who were sleeping near the Jules Ferry centre has died after returning to Calais, while trying to cross, crushed by several lorries early morning the 21st January. His name was John Sina. On Saturday, December 24, a 17-year-old  died of his injuries shortly after arriving at the hospital after a fall, presumably from a truck, during an attempt to cross near the ferry terminal in the port of Dunkirk. A 14-year-old boy from Afghanistan died late September after falling from a lorry, hit by a passing vehicle. He had  legal right to family reunion in the UK and was in the process but could not wait- he had a brother and two uncles living in the UK.  More recent deaths at the border:

https://passeursdhospitalitesenglish.wordpress.com/2016/12/28/dunkerque-a-17-year-old-migrant-dies-trying-to-cross/

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After every death there is a vigil in Calais centre, in front of Park Richelieu. At the vigil for John some 40 local people turned up, some never seen before at pro-migrants events. Note that all demonstrations in Calais are forbidden, including vigils for the dead: a local activists was given 3 months suspended sentence for attending an ‘illegal demonstration’, after being arrested at a vigil! The solidarity movement in Calais is growing, not only the fascists: increasingly people are taking sides with the migrants, offer support in various ways, some shelter people in their own homes for a few days or a few weeks. For which they risk arrest and going to court for delit de solidarite! These people need support too, for paying court costs but also food costs, water and electricity bills increase when there are more people under one roof, and some people are unemployed, low waged or pensioners.

tree.jpgThe Tree of Wisdom at the squat Galloo, evicted in 2015

May be a difficult situation but is not new. In 2009 the French government destroyed all jungles and squats. In 2011 there were lots new arrivals and new occupations. In 2012 all new camps and squats were destroyed, leaving some 200 people sleeping rough, a very low number compared to 2011. In 2013 numbers went up again and new camps were created, a new wave of evictions followed; there were lots of new occupations and migrants struggles in 2014… Repression and destruction of camps do not stop people from coming. What is different now is that there are many more migrants coming to Europe and many more minors , and therefore to Calais, than ever before : the destruction of the shanty town near the Jules Ferry centre cannot stop them from coming. Not even essential services such as food distributions are allowed now – this is inhumane and we should campaign against. There is more police repression and the police have never been so violent; the state of emergency keeps getting renewed every 6 months; and the police work hand in glove with fascists such as the Calaisiens en colere. These distance themselves from neo-Nazis like the Sauvons Calais, claiming they are just concerned citizens and not fascists, unlike the Nazis they have no links to Hitler and historical fascism but they have gone closer and closer to the far right and their methods do not differ much. That is why I call them fascists. Their base is much larger than the traditional Nazis’, who unfortunately are still present and active. The Calaisiens en colere obey the police and the authorities, in which they also differ from the Nazis, who defy the established authority and claim some ‘revolutionary’ status. We need to go organized in order to stay safe.

The big freeze – Paris. Police destroying tents and taking blankets from people sleeping out in sub-zero temperatures

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From Paris Refugee Ground Support,17/01/2017 :

The police had taken all of the bedding (provided by us and other aid groups) from a slightly sheltered sleeping area and put it out in rain…

Please give what you can so that we can purchase waterproof Bivvy bags and keep up with the French authorities’ destruction – www.gofundme.com/prgsdonate

As the temperatures plummet at – 7 at night, the situation is getting very tough in Paris where many thousands refugees and other migrants are stranded. Several hundreds are sleeping in the streets, and the plan for the extreme cold does not seem to be working for all. No place to go during the day either, for most! They are out in the cold all day. The situation at the official camp is getting chaotic: people who have been in the queue all night hoping to get registered and get in the camp start pushing when they are  refused access because the number has been reached (50 new people per day only), and are repressed by police, who are using gas and truncheons.

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Video: https://www.facebook.com/taranisnews/videos/1837031503177029/

A camp of about 30 people was  evicted  the 9 /01/2017 – French groups had attempted to set up another camp on rue Pajol. It was quickly and violently torn down by the authorities.

Trigger Warning: The beginning of this video is not pleasant.

Another eviction 2nd  January 2017 – report by Paris Refugee Ground Support

Around 9pm a huge CRS riot police force (at least twelve vans) evicted about 150 people who were sleeping under a bridge near the Porte De La Chapelle centre.

They marched people out of the area (it was -4 degrees that night) and prevented them from taking any bedding with them. We were stopped by the police when we tried to recover much-needed blankets. Following this the police followed us to our storage area and towed our van twice within the next thirty hours.

So people aren’t allowed to sleep in a tent and they’re not allowed to sleep under a bridge. Where are they supposed to go?

 

Interview with volunteer Danica Jurisic in Paris

How is the weather?

– A bit of snow, very cold, temperature goes to -7 , wind, rain, humidity. That is Paris this winter. Nights are very tough. 

How are the volunteers coping, and what is most needed?

-Volunteers are there to keep people alive, that is all we do. We give out blankets, sleeping bags, toiletries, some clothes, shoes, the basic. We pay for the hotels when they get kicked out in the street. Those needs are constant, never-ending, as are the needs of refugees. Until the government changes its policy and starts dealing in more humane and efficient way, we will keep doing this. Volunteers provide much needed support, it has enormous psychological and emotional effect. Just being there for them, just your presence and will to help reflects in many ways.

How many migrants in Paris and how many sleeping out?
-There are 400 migrants in the official camp and more are sleeping outside it but total numbers are much higher. People sleep in metro stations, all over the city, in hidden places, in squats, and it is difficult to find them all,  Paris is a big place.
Volunteers are the ones who are opening their doors to the refugees, everyone who has a room to spare is giving it to refugees. I know a woman who is hosting 6 refused minors in her living room, just to keep them out of cold until the lawyers do their work and get them in a project for minors. This type of emergencies is very common, people who have rights to some help, who are recognized refugees, or should be recognized,  often find themselves on  the streets, sometimes expelled from the centers because of administration’s errors, sometimes because of slow response of the authorities. In every case – not by their own fault.
 paris-gare-st-lazare

 

 

How many women, families?

-A lot. Not very visible on the streets, because we – volunteers – are keeping them indoors. We spent thousands of euros last year on hotels just to keep families with small children and the most vulnerable ones away from the streets. 
The emergency housing for SDF (homeless) and Refugees can be reached on phone  115 – but it is saturated!! You can’t get anyone to pick up the phone on the other side. There is CAFDA, a center for the families and that kind of works, but is also a lottery to get in. Sometimes, even when they are taken in the centers, families are thrown out – back on the street if
 a certain document is not given and re-given  by organisations and social services. So, the family goes back on street, we place them in hotel for a night – or two if it is a weekend and than – back to CAFDA. Sometimes they are not placed in centers but in cheep hotels that have a kind of a contract with the state – they rent them rooms at very low prices and the government pay for it, so they keep them in business. Families have a priority when it comes to housing. 

How are the unaccompanied minors are in Paris supported and accommodated?

-The painful spot in this all crisis –  minors. I have met many, and I have followed the process they have been put trough. There is a section of Red Cross that is called DEMI and they are in charge of the unaccompanied immigrant minors. That means everybody, refugees, “illegal” immigrants, kids with some kind of paper but no parents.
They are all under one roof in Paris, at Belville area, until their situation is “sorted”.
But there is a catch. If they do not have  a document with specified and clear date of birth, that can be used as a proof of their age, they will not be accepted. So we have a bunch of them, without any papers, obviously underage, left outside on the streets. Again many  are put hotels thanks to volunteers and associations but there are still minors sleeping in the streets. There are organisations like TIMMY and ADJA who are helping those kids, who are advocating for them, but there are still many who – while waiting for the system to kick in, for lawyers to win the battles for their rights – went missing. I can only hope that they went to  other city or other country, but I can’t know what happened to them. Organisations and children services keep whatever information and documents they have on the minors they followed but finding them is very difficult.
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Porte St Ouen

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Down and out Calais and Paris 

Breaking: A migrant thought to be a 17 years old boy has died trying to cross after falling from a lorry. He was found seriously injured near the ferry port of Dunkirk and was taken to hospital where he died later. Nothing more is known, not his nationality.
Two more deportatons to Sudan planned:
Two more UPDATES since this post was first  published:
More people are making their way to Calais. A local activist counted 50 people sleeping rough in or near the park St Pierre, half of them minors. Now police are patrolling to prevent people sleeping there The Independent has published in the first page a sensationalist and rather confused article in which camps old and new are mixed (the self-orgnized camp near Norrent Fontes has been in existence for years and only takes limited numbers of people who can pass soon).
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Thirty-six unaccompanied minors who were in Calais launch a legal action against the Home Office. Their solicitors claim  Amber Rudd acted unlawfully in the way she handled their applications  – in fact their were just told their cases were refused without a written statement of the reasons for the refusal, and told they should apply for asylum in France. It is the first time children from the camp have taken individual legal action against the government. They should be allowed in the UK under section 67 of the Immigration Act, known as the Dubs amendment. (The Guardian’s is a very good article)
 cirillephoto Cyrille Hanappe
Calais latest news 
Nearly two months after the eviction the wall is completed but there are still people crossing from Calais. According to the PAF, Police Aux Frontieres, still many people are arrested every week at the ferry port or near the Eurostar, though fewer than before the eviction of the ‘jungle’. They are now put in detention, even when ‘there is no genuine prospect to deport them’ as a PAF officer candidly admits to the local press. Very few people still sleep in the Calais area, hiding from the police who are everywhere looking for them. There are special patrols looking for squats and new camps. To prevent people from resettling anywhere is a priority and the gendarmerie have a new helicopter dedicated to that purpose. Yet  people are still arriving, including unaccompanied minors, and they have nowhere to go. Sometimes they contact local associations who give them warm clothes and blankets, at least. There is a centre for minors in St Omer, some kids are taken there but it is very small and only for 5 days stay. So effectively kids and adults arriving in Calais are at risk of dying of cold, as there is no shelter whatsoever and no plan for the extreme cold. Most migrants  who try to cross from Calais ‘commute’ from Grande Synthe (Dunkerque), where there is a ‘humanitarian’ camp that is turning  people out, including families with young children, because they want to reduce numbers to 300 – so people go sleeping in the woods. Like before the ‘humanitarian’ camp opened! Some people travel even from Paris to try from Calais! To travel to Calais is however very difficult as there are CRS and gendarmerie (riot police) everywhere: at the stations, in the streets, in the parks where people used to gather, in the commercial centre. ‘controles aux faciès‘ have been ruled illegal by the judiciary, that consider them a form of racial discrimination. However the police still do them and make lots of arrests. Read CMS blog ‘a typical day’. https://calaismigrantsolidarity.wordpress.com/2016/11/28/journee-habituelle-a-calais-en-2016-ou-le-retour-en-masse-des-controles-au-facies-et-rafles/
Baker, a 19 years old from Sudan was deported back to Sudan. He was arrested in the jungle during the eviction. He resisted deportation a first time, then his solicitor made an asylum application that was refused. The second time they took him to the airport he did not come back. Nobody knows what happened to him after he was deported but there are serious concerns about his safety: on arrival at Khartoum people are usually taken by intelligence services and interrogated, the suspicion being they could have been part of armed groups. Another Sudanese was deported from Vincennes last November. Other Sudanese arrested in France  are threatened with deportation; some were saved at the last-minute when their solicitors making legal representations but the rate of refusals for Sudanese in France is very high and going up. Three Eritreans are also threatened with deportation to a brutal military regime: as for the Sudanese if deported back the risk of degrading and inhumane treatment would be a certainty rather than not just a risk. Some Afghans were deported back to Afghanistan after being returned to Norway by France.  Detention centres in France are full and deportations on the increase.
More and more people are arriving in Europe, most escaping wars and genocide, and more will arrive in the coming years: arrivals are on the increase and predicted to  increase more. The year 2016 has been the deadliest ever, 5000 people have died in the Mediterranean. All what governments have to offer as way of ‘solutions’ is more walls; more police raids; more refusals of asylum claims; more detention; and more deportations! The EU leaders have made accords with Sudan’s genocidal dictator Bashir (process of Khartoum); they put pressure on the Afghan government to take back more refugees, in view to deport 80.000 Afghans from Europe. A 16 years old was killed by the Taliban after being deported from Denmark, his brother who was deported with him has gone underground and is trying to come back. They are resuming deportations to Greece (due to re-start in March next year); readmission accords with Turkey; denial of participating in rescues by sending rescue ships because saving people would encourage more to come, as David Cameron callously stated ; militarization of  borders and war ships in the Mediterranean;  training the Libyan coastguard and financing detention centres in Libya; more push backs.
 jungle
This incredible shanty town of 14.000 souls or so was entirely funded by ordinary people with no government help whatsoever, and built by volunteers and migrants 
It took so long before I wrote but I am not always well. Before the eviction I was mostly in the jungle, and I was running the facebook page Calais: no eviction without solutions: OPEN THE BORDER! now renamed One World: OPEN THE BORDERS! After the eviction I crashed for the exhaustion…
The last days of the jungle
Calais eviction was brutal. Well over 10.000 people were ordered to move in one week under threat from some 3000 riot police armed with flashballs, gas grenades, rubber bullets, automatic rifles, two water cannons and other armoured vehicles and of course truncheons and gas spray bottles: a Standing Rock type of scenario but with the difference we did not have 2000 veterans to defend us. The mood in the jungle however was never of desperation and I  was never more astonished by the quiet courage of the people. People carried out like nothing was, cooking, making bread, chatting, laughing, joking, sitting in the many restaurants the police did not manage to close. The jungle smelled of freshly baked bread and CS gas. I was in pieces and freaking out with paranoia, people behaved as nothing would worry them! (everyday life, smell of bread)breadThere was a lot more suffering than usual though, incidents of self-harm amongst teenagers increased tenfold, drinking increased, women were crying and could not sleep at night. Attempts at crossing became more desperate, with thousands of people invading the motorway or heading for the Eurostar. Police were rehearsing for the eviction daily, gassing the camp – even when there were no incidents or people running to the motorway, testing their weapons and water cannons,  pointing flashballs guided by laser lights so they cannot miss them in the dark at everybody including journalists and other potential witnesses. Usually the camp got gassed to fuck every second day, towards the end of the day – you could climb the hill to try escape the gas clouds and watch the sunset from there, with gas grenades falling all around.  gasSome activists and volunteers decided to stay and protect the people, for what we could, and bear witness. We did not call for more people to join as we thought it was dangerous and scarcely useful, we had enough people but more activists arrived and some wanted to join anyway in an amazing show of solidarity. I thought that if people tried to resist the eviction they would have been massacred. All the streets around the ‘jungle’ are controlled by police who also control the exits to the camp and can close in any time they want. You may be still able to escape  towards the beach, or through the country road by Jules Ferry in direction Mark, or from the back of the centre but they could close those routes too. Police have been firing rubber bullets and gas grenades directly at people, injuring many. On a busy night there have been dozens of  injures, people taken to hospital, often in critical condition, hit on the head, torso, arms, legs. An underage boy had his eye socket blown off. Women and children are not spared, they are shot at too, sprayed in the eyes, hit with truncheons also on the head and sometimes with so much violence the scalp splits to the bone. The pigs left a 9 years old boy half paralysed by shooting him in the back of the head when he was trying to cross with his family. Since that incident I always call the cops pigs. Most police violence is directed against people who are trying to cross the border but the pigs have also fired into the jungle on frequent occasions, causing fires and injuring people. A 11 years old boy was hit by a gas grenade while he was sleeping in his tent. Volunteers and activists are shot at too, one was hit on the shoulder by a rubber bullet, another had a gas grenade flying just over her shoulder when she was giving first aid to an injured man who was lying on the ground. They fired into the crowd and into the jungle when they repressed the Migrants Welcome demonstration on the 24th October, called in support of the migrants and against the eviction. watercannongas2 The Migrants Welcome demonstration, photos by Nell Mouihbi

I have no news of serious injuries on that occasion but that was lucky, several people were hit and a local activist had a rubber bullet flying inches from his head. It looked a bit like a rehearsal for the eviction, robocops surrounded the jungle and came very close, we could not breathe because of the gas, I nearly went down, an Afghan who was running in the same direction grabbed me from under the arms and supported me to the Lake View restaurant’s back garden, by the lake there was still a bit of air and I revived.
It does not happen only in Calais. Extremely brutal forms of crowd control are being used against migrants in Ceuta and Melilla, Greece, Bulgaria, Hungary, Serbia etc, as well as against protesters in France. 
Nobody but absolutely nobody wants to live in the ‘jungle’. The reason we opposed the eviction is that there were no solutions offered other than a program of mass dispersal and mass deportations! In the ‘jungle’ people live in dangerous and appalling precarity, but at least they have each other, they organize with their communities and they make strong connections with the other communities. CAO mean that people are dispersed, communities broken, solidarity links severed and people isolated and disempowered. 
Until the eviction started it was not clear at all what people wanted to do. Thousands left ahead of the eviction, and disappeared. Many went to Paris but most did not stay there, they moved to other areas probably to avoid police raids in Paris. A few thousands wanted to go to the new accommodation centres (CAO) as they had already applied for asylum in France or wanted to apply, and were just happy to get indoors. So the first day of the eviction, Monday 25th October, passed very peacefully, they just filled 60 coaches with 2000 people who wanted to go. CAO stands for Centre d’accueil et orientation but in fact the orientation is pretty much absent, there are not enough translators nor trained staff and in many CAO not even enough food. What happens is that they get pressurized to apply for asylum in France and, unless there are independent volunteers and associations present, the information is of very poor quality, they have to make an asylum application without proper help and sometimes without an interpeter in their language! Well over half of the original population were still in the jungle and did not want to go to CAO: some did not want to resist, some wanted to resist peacefully, some wanted to resist by every means at their disposal. In the face of repeated and unfounded accusations from  local authorities, police, the government and the media: migrants do not need any White activists to lead them and start riots, they can do by themselves, they are perfectly autonomous and we are there to monitor police violence and provide first aid to those who are injured. No Borders and ZAD activists present during the eviction were committed to non violence on that occasion – all those I spoke with at least. In the jungle, everybody knows how to fight and they could teach us. Many men were in the Army, others fought with the resistance, some were commanders. Some Eritrean and Ethiopian women are army trained too, they go in exile because they get conscripted, and some Kurdish women fought with the Peshmerga. We can not teach guerrilla tactics to the Kurds or to the Afghans, they are better than anyone else at it, having had centuries and millennia of training; only the mountains are missing. Instead, we are in a swamp, totally surrounded by very violent police armed to the teeth. Gloom not glam. The very reason why the government have concentrated all people in this god forgotten place is to control them and isolate them, it is a trap where people cannot defend themselves nor run easily. At least this is my logistic understanding of this particular field of operations. Real jungles were really autonomous spaces on land chosen by the people, this Lande was chosen by the French government. It is far from the eyes but not far from the cameras, it is the media circus where the distorted representation of the ‘refugee crisis’ in Calais is created and racist propaganda is spun. Maybe it is not purely a strange coincidence that this ‘jungle’ is near the motorway leading to the port: it is a stage set to create the spectre of an invasion of England and a spectacle that justifies the building of fences and walls, more brutal treatment of the people who are being dehumanized, and more brutal evictions! It is a spectacle, blood and guts alas are real, lots of people including underage kids have died here trying to cross in very dangerous ways. During the eviction the police were filtering access, allowing in the jungle only selected journalists and volunteers from selected associations to whom  passes had been provided. Four independent journalists were arrested and put in garde a vu for 48 hours, and their interpreter, a Tunisian friend of us, was put in a deportation centre from where he was released a month later. It is a mystery to me how the remaining 800 journalists who were in the jungle during the eviction managed to do such a crap job. May be the principle of uniformity, they just had to show they were there but their reports are as diverse and interesting as if all their information came from the same press agency (a few news sources, like The Guardian and Liberation, distance themselves from this utter mediocrity and conformity). However there was a fear that as some point the police were to stop access to everybody, based on a previous declaration they were going to clear and close a vast area around the jungle to ‘facilitate operations’. That is why we went in the jungle ahead of the eviction and sheltered with the migrants, who are our friends. It was not for instigating riots or lighting fires, that is a lie put around by the police. To this day no White activist has been arrested or investigated in connection to disturbances or fires during the eviction. Instead it has been confirmed there were UK undercover police in the jungle at the time.
It was towards the evening of the second day when police started moving into the jungle and ordering people to leave; people began burning their own houses. Fires began to erupt here and there and everywhere all through the night, amongst loud cheers – the mood was almost festive, and sound of gas bottles exploding. Volunteers tried desperately to put down fires with their small fire engine, only to see people starting fires again. The fire was the response of the Jungle to the eviction. People were well up for it and they did not need any encouragement. In the morning all the Afghan restaurants were gone and all shelters in the Afghan area had burned, bar a few that were still burning  Many African houses had been burnt and destroyed too, the rest were in the process. The Great Fire of the Jungle continued all day long until there was nothing left to burn. The fire brigade was also powerless and they just managed to contain some fires and prevent loss of lives, for which they deserve credit – bur there were not even many firemen and fire engines. In spite of that there were very few burns and injuries, none serious. Very lucky, considering some people woke up because their homes were on fire! Needless to say, many lost their papers, belongings etc.
In the morning the women held a demonstration, passing through the burning jungle, and demanding to go to UK. Previously the Oromo had demonstrated, demanding at least the Oromo children are let in the UK.
In the meantime more people were leaving to get on the coaches. Volunteers from associations were rushing them, least they get arrested.
fire

The End

 
 
 
Many people including hundreds of underage kids went missing before or during the eviction, many are still unaccounted for. The way minors were treated during the eviction is a scandal in the scandal.
 
The only good thing that came out ftom the eviction was that the UK finally started taking unaccompanied minors without family in UK, under the Dubs amendment, beginning with a group of 54 Ethiopian and Eritrean girls. After the first group of girls went, hopes were high amongst the other unaccompanied children. 1500 minors were accommodated in the containers, by the jungle that was still burning. The containers had been left empty by adults who left for the CAO and had not even been cleaned. These kids were the lucky ones. Dozens of minors did not find a place in the containers and were told to go and sleep out in the jungle that was still burning. Some kids were assaulted by police after being lured under the bridge with the promise they would be sent to England – the incident is reported by The Guardian –  https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/oct/27/calais-camp-minors-children-abandoned-uk-france-human-rights?CMP=share_btn_fb– Some kids slept out, looked after by volunteers.
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Minors sleeping out, Photo by Glenys Newton
Some kids went to sleep in the school of Chemin des Dunes. I had left the jungle but returned with a small group of No Borders and ZAD activists to help looking after the kids in the school. We wandered amongst what remained of the jungle looking for more kids. It was like a post apocalyptic scene at night: square miles of carbonized buildings, fires still burning, smoke, few shelters still standing, or half shelters, and people sitting around fires, chatting and making tea, quite relaxed as if their mood had not been affected. Some kids went in the jungle from the containers because they got bored there, or felt safer with their bigger friends and brothers. We gave phone credit to some Eritrean kids, they wanted to return to the containers; we met a group of young Afghans, some underage, they wanted to stay together; we had tea with some other Afghans, a young boy of 11 or 12 was with them and wanted to stay with them; we shared a cigarette with some Sudanese … eventually we were controlled by police near Jules-Ferry and they made us leave the jungle, so we took a long walk through the fields and returned to the school. In the morning the police raided the school and threw us out brutally, arrested two Kurdish men who were looking after the school and the kids, and proceeded to get the kids. All this happened during the press conference of the associations. Some No Borders and local anti racists had turned up at the press conference with banners: when the police went to arrest the kids the activists moved to defend them, so they were charged and pepper sprayed.
 François Guennoc, vice-president of the Auberge des migrants, who was the sole speaker at the press conference, had nothing to say: he just kept repeating that we had turned the Press Conference into a demonstration!
A few days later there was a major fight in the jungle between Muslims and Christians, involving hundreds of people and also the kids in the containers. We put up some kids who had escaped the fights. One showed us his back, covered in old stab scars, large and deep, he had received in Afghanistan from his own brother, when he discovered he had converted from Muslim to Christian. He had been left for dead then. The day after the fight all the kids were moved by buses to CAOMIE (CAO for minors), from where many ran away. Most had not even seen an interpreter. The UK took 500 unaccompanied minors under the Dubs amendment, then they stopped taking more: they have closed all procedures to let more minors in under the Dubs amendment leaving hundreds of Calais kids stranded. Please put pressure on the UK government to take more! Some kids have gone on hunger strike to protest their treatment and demand that the UK take them. Two kids have tried to commit suicide, that we know of. 
Shortly before the eviction, the presidents of the associations Auberge des migrants, Christian Salome; Secours Catholique, Veronique Fayet; Medicins du Monde, Françoise Sivignon; Emmaus, Thierry Kuhn; and FNARS, Louis Gallois   signed an open letter to president Hollande giving their approval to the ‘plan Cazeneuve’ – eviction of the ‘jungle’ and relocation of all the people in CAO,  in a very short time and under threat by militarized police.
My English translation:
Mr. President of the Republic,

Last week, Ms Cosse and Mr Cazeneuve met our associations in order to present the plan to dismantle the Calais “jungle” of Calais where thousands of exiles live in pitiful conditions.
We have informed the ministers that our organisations would support such a plan, and could go along with it, if all the measures to permit the protection and respect to the fundamental human rights of the people are guaranteed. You yourself, when you visited the site, reminded us that the State would find a worthy and effective solution to this humanitarian tragedy.
However, there remains one unanswered question concerning the dismantlement of the Jungle: it regards the progressive disappearance of all the apparatus created over the last two years and comprises of the Jules Ferry “welcome” day centre and the centre of temporary “welcoming” (CAO)
We hope that these facilities can continue to provide a humane and dignified solution in this very complex situation where exiles will attempt – regardless of their motivation – to travel to Great Britain from Calais.
It is our wish that this apparatus remain until a humane and dignified solution can be brought to the very complex situation of exiles who wish to – whatever their motivation – to travel from the United Kingdom from Calais. Otherwise, we would return to exactly the situation that prevailed during the years after the closure of the Sangatte centre, the utter abandonment of hundreds of men, women and children living in the streets, woods and squats of Calais, even more at the mercy of the criminal smuggler networks and dangers of all sorts, both summer and winter.
Nobody seriously believes that there will be no more attempts to reach the UK. No one seriously believe that this will lead to an overnight decline in migrants heading to Calais. So how to respond in a pragmatic and humane way to this difficult situation? It is on this question which we have worked for years, for a long time without any support from the State, for three years on a difficult road, for three years in a real partnership [with the State] 
We cannot support or participate a dismantlement project which will annihilate of this the work while it remains useful.
We demand of you, Mr President, to confirm the maintaining in place of the humanitarian assets of the Jules Ferry Center and the CAP whilst the migrant fluxes towards Calais continue and to make it so that the work of the public authorities with the associations remains a work of confidence and transparency.

Please accept, Mr. President of the Republic, our highest consideration..

Véronique Fayet, Présidente Secours Catholique – Caritas France
Thierry Khun, Président Emmaüs France
Christian Salomé, Président L’Auberge des Migrants
Louis Gallois, Président FNARS
Françoise Sivignon, Présidente MdM
Paris, 29th September 2016

All the associations ask is for the containers and the day centre Jules Ferry to be left – where services as meals and showers were provided and where the women slept, and for the eviction to be carried out with guarantee for human rights, which is patently absurd: it is not possible to carry out a forced eviction of such a scale in such a short time without infringing the human rights of those affected. I would really like to know from  the presidents of these associations: why did you think that the forced displacement of 10.000 plus refugees from the camp was a good thing? Most people in the ‘jungle’ did not want to go to CAO, nobody knew what the new CAO were like, the places offered were insufficient and only temporary,  the only possibility at the end is to apply for asylum in France, which does not suit all people, or else return to the streets. No real solutions. I am burning with indignation and still incredulous that people who profess to work for the migrants can betray them to the extent to support and congratulate the plan Cazeneuve. And what does everybody else think? So far only I have publicly complained, and the sites Rabble and Passeurs d’hospitalitees. If nobody else says a thing and they just all tail along, does it mean they all agree? The forced displacement of such a population is in itself an act of inhumanity. In Calais it has a precedent: during WW2 the Nazis forced the entire population of Calais Nord out of their homes and demolished them to create a secured area around the port. Now the planned expansion of Calais port  has attracted €675 millions investments. http://www.asce.org/magazine/20160112-port-of-calais-expansion-underway/ Clearly nobody wants a jungle near it, and thousands of people desperate to cross running to enter the new port. When cazeneuve came to Calais to announce the eviction of the jungle he also put the first stone of the new port – quietly, he is a shy man who does not want to see too many people and always moves surrounded by hundreds of police when in Calais, so that it is really difficult to see him if you are not a cop, an authorized journalist or someone from the local authority. In the last census before the eviction the associations counted 10.188 people including 1220 unaccompanied minors , but their counts, although accurate, are always below the real numbers. Many migrants do not trust the associations and do not want to be counted, and with so many people coming and going it is impossible to count everybody. Nobody knows how many there were, I believe there could have been 14.000 people or more (based on observation and a distribution of leaflets). The associations took the government to court but not against the eviction itself, they had agreed with the eviction: they wanted to keep the containers and the Jules Ferry centre, where they make their bread – fat chance, the containers and Jules Ferry centre are also near the new ferry port expansion. They also had a problem with the modalities of the eviction and the lack of guarantees for the unaccompanied minors. They lost, they certainly did not find a sympathetic judge but the case was neither well constructed nor well presented and, above all, it was not a case against the eviction. Around the same time, the case against the eviction of the camp in Norrent Fontes was won. The Norrent Fontes case was against the eviction until there are real solutions for everybody in the camp! The association in Norrent Fontes, Terre d’Errance, are militant, believe in equality and do not collaborate with the government or the police.
After the court case was lost the associations’ presidents wrote another letter asking that the eviction is carried out before November. They could have refused to collaborate with the eviction as there were not enough safeguards, which would have made a point and could have possibly delayed the eviction – but no, they wrote a letter asking to hurry up with the eviction!
There came the OFII and OPFRA to advise people to go into CAO, with the sole reassurance of an oral promise by Cazeneuve that people would not be put on Dublin procedure. This promise in many cases has not been kept – as usual it depends on the Prefects whether to put people on Dublin procedure. However people who apply for asylum in France can be refused, leaving them in danger to be deported. For the Sudanese for instance the rate of refusal is very high in France, many of my friends have been refused and have appeals pending. If they lose also the appeals they can be deported and I am afraid for their lives. The associations did not limit themselves to provide essential services during the eviction, as  sometimes they claim. Volunteers helped persuading people to go into CAO, and helped to sort them by groups. People were made to queue for hours in an improvised ‘police station’ in a hangar near the ‘jungle’, in the cold and with no food and no water –  volunteer Caroline Gregory made an appeal for bottled water  and dry food.
indign6  The line
Then they were divided in 4 groups and given armbands of different colours. Then they were put into buses, often without having seen an interpreter in their language and not knowing what was happening to them. They could indicate on a map a preference for the location of the CAO, but they did not know anything about it. If animals were treated like that someone would complain. Instead, in the case of these human beings nobody complained, or almost nobody. 
During the eviction the associations held a press conference nearly every day. A thing that utterly irritates me is that leaders of humanitarian associations are chosen to represent the situation in Calais, and the media love them. The migrants, instead, do not trust these people at all, apart from some very rare exceptions, so this form of representation is really a total misrepresentation. Then the media are the propaganda machine of Capital and the State. 
 Me, at the press conference of the associations (photo by Nell)
Note: my anger is against the bosses not against the volunteers, who are very loving souls in general, though not always very clued up.  Some volunteers I like well got upset when I said the associations in Calais collaborate with the government but it is the truth. I do not even need to expose the associations or prove what I am saying, one just needs to read the letter to Hollande the associations’ presidents signed. If they say the associations are not political organizations they should also stay out of politics, and limit themselves to provide humanitarian aid such as blankets and food. Instead it appears they are meddling with politics and how! I do not mean in any way to discredit the good work done or to accuse all volunteers of being collaborators – but I believe it is high time they reflect on their role, think with their own brains, stop following leads and stop obeying orders. Above all, we all should listen to the people we want to help, they should lead not us, it is their lives that are at stake not ours; they are intelligent people, most are highly educated and they know better than us what they want and what is good for them. It is legacy of colonialism to intervene without considering the people’s point of view. But some associations seem to have adopted the point of view of the government! Help Refugees and others  have not signed the letter to Hollande but they work with the Auberge des migrants, it is their partner association in France. Without the support of Help Refugees the Auberge would be nothing. Care4Calais work independently but their boss should not provide material to the police against Sikander of the kids’ restaurant, out of resentment.  All communities were upset at the way Care4Calais were doing distributions, with long lines, taking people’s photos at the lines and putting them on the internet without people’s consent. Sikander told Clare Moseley that Care4Calais could either change their ways or stop coming to the jungle, expressing everybody’s sentiment, and Moseley took it personally. Moseley’s accusations are core in the case against Jungle Books kids’ restaurant and against the jungle businesses.
From Calais to Paris
It is not true that many  migrants  moved from Calais to Paris: many did go there before the eviction but did not stay there, they moved again, possibly to avoid police raids in Paris.  I went to Paris just aftet the Calais eviction and I could find very few people from Calais. Just to clarify, as most of the media got that wrong and even many independent sources. The supposed influx of Calais migrants in the Paris camps, that was not, was used as a justification for the destruction of the camps in Paris.
 lachapellestalingrad
La Chapelle and Staligrad. Before and after.paris
Shortly after the Calais eviction, on the 4th November, the camps in Paris Nord under the areal metro at La Chapelle, Stalingrad and Jaurès, were also destroyed and fenced up, and people forcibly removed to CAO by coaches. Police kept destroying these camps for months, people kept going back, more people arrived, numerous families, women with young children, unaccompanied minors. jaures Eviction at Jaurès by Rose Lecat

A lot more solidarity developed, citizens giving humanitarian aid, French classes in the street, legal information. A political struggle was born ( Refugièes de La Chapelle en Lutte) , there were several demonstrations and occupations.  Police repression was very hard, there were 28 police raids in the past 5 months in Paris Nord and people acting in solidarity were also arrested. After the 4thNovember  evictions however people were not allowed to go back. These scorched earth tactics are highly ineffective: people do not go away because they destroy their houses, many people run away from CAO, new people continue to arrive, and the situation in Paris turned from very serious to catastrophic, with thousands of people sleeping out without shelter, without enough blankets, in sub-zero temperatures, watching over their shoulder because of police controls and police raids always possible. With the opening of some 2800 places for the extreme cold in disused buildings the situations has slightly improved but there are still lots of people sleeping out, either because places are insufficient or because the emergency accommodation is so bad people feel safer in the streets. Some volunteers put families and young children in hotels and pay for them  – happily there are virtually no women and young children sleeping out any more but  it is only for temporary and the State are doing nothing for the families nor putting a penny. In he new ‘humanitarian’ camp at Porte de la Chapelle there are only 400 places for men. People who wish to register are made to queue all night long in front of the camp and police have been preventing them from sitting and even from eating because they have orders to stop them from camping there!  Recently police have relented and have been letting people sit down.

 

newcampThe line at the new camp, photo by Sarah Fenby-Dixon

fire

Previously people got often gassed and beaten when the queue got messy, with particularly ugly scenes in the morning when people are told to return the day after: some get upset and try to enter anyway. The camp is only taking 50 people per day, as 50 per day leave for CAO. Usually people are not made aware of the fact they can be deported to Dublin countries and volunteers working in the camp have been fighting for the right to provide correct information. The new ‘humanitarian’ camp of Annie Hidalgo, ‘socialist’ mayor of Paris, is managed by Utopia 56 and Emmaus.

The largest informal new camp in St Denis, up to 700 people, was evicted the 16th December and all tents confiscated. They were offered emergency accommodation in disused buildings but many ended up sleeping rough in the streets. The real emergency is the unaccompanied minors: they keep arriving in Paris, the ‘official’ places for minors are 213 only, totally insufficient so kids are being turned out. They go to the volunteers and associations, some find accommodation thanks to them but not enough places there either, so many end up sleeping in the streets. Some of the kids were in Calais and are not giving up their dream to go to England: they want to go back to Calais to’set up another jungle’. Kids gang up with other kids, many smoke and drink, they cuddle together to keep warm at night, they laugh and joke a lot to keep their spirits up and they look after each other; or they find adults from their communities who look after them. Minors are however very vulnerable, especially the youngest ones: what if a kid arrives alone and gets targeted by pedophiles or people traffickers??? No child should be left on the streets to fend for himself. There are day centres for minors and young adults in Paris, but not enough bed spaces at night.

streetstreet1

Rue Pajol – several Eritrean and Ethiopian minors sleep here

below: St Denis camp, shortly before it was destroyed

st-denisst-denis
Growing protests and hunger strikes in CAO and CAOMIE. Several dozens people including minors have staged protests in various centres or gone on hunger strike.

Calais ‘jungle’ eviction imminent, urgent support needed

No eviction without solutions! Freedom of movement for all! Open the border!

Please follow developments on  https://www.facebook.com/stop.eviction.calais/

20875921514_0524c3de34_o

http://www.lci.fr/france/info-lci-comment-les-policiers-preparent-l-evacuation-de-la-jungle-de-calais-2006457.html

English translation by google:

MIGRANTS – Reportedly, a thousand CRS has received the order to be ready from Monday, October 17 in the Calais region to start operations to evacuate the camp of migrants.

Seven thousand migrants to evacuate. The police have just received their orders for the evacuation of the “jungle” of Calais. In a telegram sent by the place Beauvau to all zonal directions CRS, the fixed Interior police forces ten days to regain possession. In it, LCI has acquired the mission entitled “Calais dismantling device” will last from Monday October 17 to Thursday, October 27th. In all, there are 19 companies that CRS will be solicited throughout this period.

Prevent the resettlement of migrants

According to our information, 15 units of mobile forces (UFM) are provided for this major operation. Part of the CRS will be assigned to the same device of the dismantling of the camp Lande. Others will filter the access of people to the camps during operations. Moreover, hundreds of CRS will hold a treatment sites of security device in charge of migrants. Finally, the remaining forces – more than half of the CRS – will be used to prevent the resettlement of migrants in the Calais area.

A thousand men mobilized

At the presence of CRS, will add nearly 150 local policemen: staffing of the Calais police, anti-crime brigade reinforcements of the departmental security. It also asked the police to ensure the safety of goods outside of the evacuation operation, including “impermeability of the port area”, the free movement on the ring road and the motorway as well as in city.

Contacted by LCI, the Interior Ministry declined to comment, confirm or deny this information.

 

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it is really dangerous: police are using very nasty CS gas (Nobel Securitè again) it makes you go down and it makes you really ill; they are firing tear gas and rubber bullets directly at people, causing huge numbers of appalling injures; they have new guns with laser lights and they are pointing them at people, they pointed at a journalist and they have shot also activists and volunteers during incidents on the motorway AND at the protest last Saturday, 1st October:  a local anti racist had a rubber bullet flying few inches from his head. The press reported 5 cops lightly injured, but nobody knows how many people in the camp were injured when the pigs fired directly into the crowd – I hope none in serious condition, nobody went to hospital as far as I know but .

All the French government has to offer in reality is a program of mass dispersal and mass deportations. Most of the accommodation places promised are yet to be found. No plans for minors, women and their children, families and vulnerable people. There are many more than 10.000 people in the jungle, many more.

Most of all we would like to hear for plans to delay the eviction, at least until the new accommodation places are found; at least until there are solutions for the minors, the women, the families with young kids. 

Many people do not want to go to the new accommodation places (CAOs)  because they want to go to UK not stay in France. People who have finger prints in other European countries do not want to go because mostly they get deported back there directly from the CAOs.

THERE IS A NEW PETITION TO TELL THE FRENCH PRESIDENT TO STOP THE EVICTION, PLEASE SIGN

https://www.change.org/p/monsieur-le-pr%C3%A9sident-de-la-r%C3%A9publique-ne-d%C3%A9truisez-pas-la-jungle-de-calais-sans-une-meilleure-solution-de-logement?recruiter=7403396&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=share_page&utm_term=des-lg-no_src-no_msg

see also

http://www.revolutionpermanente.fr/Lundi-Cazeneuve-se-prepare-a-evacuer-la-jungle-dans-la-violence?utm_content=bufferddb36&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Many people in Calais ‘jungle’ want to stay and resist, despite increasingly brutal repression. Please support them! Freedom of movement for all! Open the border!