Archive for sans papiers

January in Calais

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on Sunday, 30 January, 2011 by bristolnoborders

NEWS AND REPORTS FROM ACTIVISTS ON THE GROUND: http://calaismigrantsolidarity.wordpress.com/

Friday 28th

This morning a Sudanese man from Africa house hurt himself when falling while running from police and has been taken to hospital.

Thursday 27th

Another raid of Africa house, 10 arrests in the morning.

Friday 21st January

There was a mass raid of Africa House this morning. PAF (Police Aux Frontieres) and the new unit of CRS arrived at the back of the building with six vans. CMS activists were immediately removed from the premises and could only watch as doors were kicked in, CS gas was sprayed and over 20 people were arrested. The officers were seen to be enjoying themselves while climbing about on the roof and kept posing for photographs with their guns. One officer remarked to the activists that it was all “just a game”.

Thursday 20th January

Still no news of the missing Palestinians. Instead, the PAF has been repeatedly raiding the squats of the Palestininas.

Cooking materials were taken over to Palestine House and a large communal meal was cooked between CMS activists and the residents of the house. Everyone had good fun with paint and decorated the walls with Arabic, English and French slogans of freedom.

A Palestinian man was arrested and interrogated by police about No Borders. He has now been released.

A new compagnie of CRS arrived this evening: unit 11.

Wednesday 19th January

PAF came to Africa House twice this morning; once at 5.00am and then again at 6.30am. No arrests were made but everyone was woken up by torches being shoved into their faces.

The police raided the food distribution place, taking tents that some boys had been living in. They also took all their personal belongings, like clothes and their ID papers.

A private squat was evicted – all people arrested. The house was then boarded up.

A sound system was taken to Palestine House. People spent all evening dancing and having an Arabic/English phrase swapping session. It was a beautiful night of incredible dance moves and the breaking down of language barriers.

Tuesday 18th January

PAF arrived at Africa House at 7.00am this morning and tried to batter their way in past the barricades. Once they discovered it was easier to get out of the car and move them by hand they were able to get in. At the moment it seems the police are enjoying playing games and so instead of even trying to arrest people they just drove about inside shining lights and disturbing those who wanted to sleep.

One man in Africa House was taken ill and an ambulance had to be called. At first they refused to come out but after the sixth call some paramedics arrived in a fire truck and took him to hospital. He was discharged later that day with a packet of pain killers even though he could barely walk.

Monday 17th January

PAF came to Africa House in the morning but made no arrests.

English and French lessons are continuing with great enthusiasm and attendance at Africa House. Todays lessons stretched on for hours – until it was too dark to see the board.

Sunday 16th January

Two young Palestinians missing while trying to cross

Two young Palestinians aged 16 and 18 went to try and cross to England via the Eurostar Tunnel. The two boys hid in a water pipe connected with the reservoir. Two other men who were behind witnessed the scene – one was arrested and held for 24 hours in police station, the other escaped; they say the security let the dog off the lead, the dog had a muzzle on and could not bite but it may have caused the boys to panic and go further into the water pipe, where they may have fallen into the water and drowned. The fire brigade has been searching the bottom of the reservoir, but there is a grill in the pipe before it joins the it. The two Palestinians who were with the missing boys went to the police station yesterday, together with two volunteers from associations to provide information, but there is still no news. It has been three days since the two boys went missing. They had just arrived in Calais and not even the other Palestinians know their names.

A CMS activist was also controlled in Carrefour.

Saturday 15th January

The PAF (Police Aux Frontieres – border police) drove into Africa House (a squat home to large numbers of African migrants) with great speed, scaring many people onto the roof, but they did not attempt to arrest anyone. Instead, they collected all the artwork that was drying in the corner of the warehouse, bundled it into their van and drove out again blasting music.

The Hazara Jungle was raided at 12.30am. Eight PAF officers made three arrests including one man with papers and one underage boy (who was then held in Coquelles for 24 hours).

Friday 14th January

Africa house was not raided this morning but the CRS went there three times pretending to go in, then when everybody ran they went back to their van and drove off. They kept prowling the streets where people use to get to the food distribution site and chased a group of Pashtun children on their way, although no arrests were made. Most of the people in Africa house missed their breakfast for fear of being arrested.

Thursday 13th January

At least five people were arrested at Africa House just before 8.00am. The police entered from the back of the building and conducted a small raid on the language teaching cabins.

PAF were doing their usual sweep of town, this morning, when they recognised and stopped a CMS activist in the shopping centre. One officer threatened him with a beating and then told him that the police ´Don´t want Migrants here´.

At just past 8.00am the CRS pulled into the train station and stopped four Vietnamese people who were waiting for a train. They were questioned for papers and then detained on the pavement outside for over twenty minutes while the police waited for an arrest van.

The squat known as ‘Paradise House’ was raided this morning at 10.00am. There are no confirmed arrests.

Wednesday 12th January

Africa house raided, mass arrests made.

Africa house was raided this morning by PAF and CRS around 8 am. They arrived in 5 police vans and two cars with 2 arrest vans. They made an incredibly thorough search of the buildings with ladders, ripping doors from hinges and destroying the barricades to the upstairs rooms. At least 20 arrests were made; all those not arrested were made to leave, including CMS activists and charity workers who were present. Several blankets and the CMS tents were taken by council workers and they bulldozed the small barricade that was set up at the entrance to stop the police entering. After the police left the people returned and CMS activists helped to replace the doors and rebuild the barricades.

To lift the mood, paints, brushes and huge rolls of paper were brought to Africa House and some of the more creative residents painted beautiful pictures, wrote poetry and slogans of freedom and love.

The CRS have been roaming the streets arresting people at random, in the streets, at the train station etc. PAF breached the agreement with the associations and arrested one man outside the gates of evening food distribution. After a small scuffle with CMS activists and some of the charity workers, PAF drove the man away to Coquelles detention centre where he was held for 20 minutes, finger printed and released.

The Iranian squat was closed and boarded up, forcing all the residents to sleep on the streets, in the rain.

Tuesday 11th January

7.30am – Palestine House was raided this morning 7.30 am and six people were arrested.
They returned two times more during the day without arresting anyone.

PAF went to Africa house in the evening around 8 pm, apparently looking for Afghans who may (or may be not) sleeping there. They did not find any Afghans and went away empty handed after searching all the buildings.

The Iranians were arrested again and taken to Coquelles as soon as they went to their squat.

Monday 10th January

There was no breakfast provided this morning by Salam. CMS distributed pastries, bread and sandwiches but most people went hungry until lunchtime distribution.

The Kurdish Jungle was raided in the night, 5 confirmed arrests, maybe more.

The Iranian house was also raided twice in the night, everyone was arrested and taken to Coquelles police station, then, just after they returned to their squat after walking one hour in the rain, arrested and taken to Coquelles again – including a man who is sick with the flu. It seems sleep is a privilege only for those with papers.

Sunday 9th January

Hazara Jungle raided in the night, two arrests made.

Friday 7th January

It seems that the police have been spreading a rumour amongst the Migrants that the UK is closed to refugees and that there is ‘ no more asylum to give’.

No raid on Africa House this morning but the Iranian house was visited by PAF and everyone was kicked out onto the street. The police are just roaming through the streets picking people up. Many Africans and Afghans, some as young as 10, are being constantly arrested and re-arrested all day.

Thursday 6th January

The BCMO – cold weather shelter has now closed because the temperature rose to above freezing today. The temperature has since plummeted with a lot of rain and wind but no sign of the shelter opening again. CMS and all the charity associations have been kept very busy desperately trying to find bedding, tents and waterproof clothing for the over a hundred of people now sleeping on the streets. CRS and PAF have also been very busy chasing them and arresting them when they are most vulnerable.

Wednesday 5th January

Africa house raided this morning, all CMS Activists arrested.
8.00am – PAF and CRS did a joint operation, entering the property from the front and back. Activists were immediately shoved into a corner and were searched thoroughly. Despite protests, males officers searched female activists. Everyone was then handcuffed and given no explanation for there arrest. The police seemed perplexed that there were so few activists on the ground that morning and asked after specific activists by name..

Before the activists were driven away to the police station they spotted seven arrests of Migrants and what looked like a full scale eviction.
Upon arrival at Coquelles detention centre CMS were almost the only people in custody but by 1.00pm the cells were full, with mostly African Migrants. By 4.00pm most of the Migrants had been released but CMS still remained, ears ringing with police threats of jail. The whole operation in Coquelles was very unprofessional as interviews were conducted in busy offices. One activist was locked into a toilet and forgotten about. All activists were released around 7pm.

Tuesday 4th January

A relatively quiet day in Calais today for everyone. Not too many police on the streets, making only a few arrests throughout the day. CMS activists were able to catch up on the usual distribution of shoes, bedding and sim cards. A very well attended and lively english lesson was conducted at Africa House, (the subject today – irregular verbs) which involved much laughter as the activists had to mime all sorts of strange actions!

Monday 3rd January

Two cars of PAF officers arrived at Africa House this morning and decided that instead of conducting a raid on the Sans-Papiers they would beat up the CMS activists who were on morning watch, instead. Batons, fists, and boots were used as activists were thrown to the ground, slammed into walls and choked. A female activist was kicked in the stomach, hit round the head with a baton, thrown to the ground and strangled for trying to stop an officer hitting someone. Another two activists were kicked in the face and thrown into the road for blowing a whistle – the officer (once he had smashed the offending whistle) remarked that we blow the whistles and wake up everyone on the street every morning and that this was not good. He seemed to casually gloss over the fact that he comes to Africa House every morning to wake people up and arrest them, I guess it just goes to show the mentality of the French police – Migrants are not people in their eyes.

The CRS spent the morning roaming around and made several arrests of African Migrants who were walking back to Africa House from food distribution. They then followed and tried to arrest people walking back to the jungles out by the ferry port, three people got chased on foot and so climbed the fence into the locked up food distribution area. The CRS followed and climbed the fences catching and arresting two, one guy managed to get out the other side and hide in a garden, the police drove by several times and didnt spot him but unfortunately he didnt get away as a passerby called to the police and showed them where he was hiding. One CMS activist also got arrested after trying to intervene in the peoples escape, he was released four hours later after a full ID check in Coquelles with all the other Sans-Papiers.

Sunday 2nd January

Everyone got a surprise – including us – when they got to food distribution in the morning to find that all the barbed wire (which usually covers the tops of the fences, turning a space for meals into a prison) had been removed from the fences and placed in the big wheelie bins during the night. CMS activists with the help of some athletic Afghan lads then decorated the fences with banners in English, Arabic and French, wishing everyone a Happy New Year – Free from Borders!

English lessons are still continuing strong in Africa House and they are now being joined by art sessions too. Being able to let go of everything in Calais is something very important and so the recent arrival of a portable sound system has been very popular, especially with the young Afghan boys who have delighted in showing everyone some of their dance moves. This evening the music was taken to the BCMO cold weather shelter where within minutes there were over twenty people clapping and watching in awe at an eleven year old Afghan boy and his enchanting dancing. The CRS made an appearance but nobody ran, they just clapped and cheered louder, sending them on their way.

Saturday 1st January (New Years day)

Lunchtime food distribution was served by L’Auberge de Migrants who decided to brighten the mood by taping paper table cloths to the tops of the bins. A Samba band from Germany also played some awesome tunes and got people dancing. After about a minutes notice from CMS the Samba band moved out onto the street and (with banners appearing from nowhere) it turned into a small New Years Day noise demo processing up through town to the shopping centre. The locals looked on with smiles and cheers and the small group of activists and migrants grew by one when a passer-by stopped her car and left her husband and children to join in the march – fist raised and chanting loudly! The peaceful, colourful and cheery gaggle of people stopped outside of the shopping centre and a banner was hung from the christmas decorations proclaming – HUMAN RIGHTS HAVE NO BORDERS! Within moments of the banner being hung the police arrived and officers were seen to be putting on riot helmets and pulling out batons. Everybody scattered and the police took chase. Two activists were cornered down an alleyway and choked by police, the banner ripped from them. Two others were controlled and released – nobody else was caught.

Autonomous Space For Migrants and Supporters in Calais needs Help

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on Saturday, 30 January, 2010 by bristolnoborders

As you might have heard, a few days ago, activists from the transnational NoBorders network and the French organisation SôS Soutien aux Sans Papiers have opened a large warehouse for migrants in Calais as a response to the ongoing repression against the migrants in
Calais by the authorities. [1]

The building is to be an autonomous space for migrants and activists struggling for the right to freedom of movement. It will be host to information-sharing, debate and practical solidarity. The Kronstadt building is located in the town that has become the symbol of Fortress Europe, a place where police arrests and beatings of migrants are a daily occurrence, and where night-time pursuits are relentless.

By this act, they stand in solidarity with those for whom border and immigration control is a discriminatory, oppressive and unjust reality.

The space is not, as the conserative press has dubbed it, a “new Sangatte”. It is a self-organised space. ( see Brighton NoBorders response to the article in the Daily Mail from yesterday: [1] ) Of course, help is needed. If you want to support the space by either travelling to Calais or otherwise, please contact:

noborderslondon@riseup.net

for more information and updates, see

http://london.noborders.org.uk

about the situation in calais, see http://calaismigrantsolidarity.wordpress.com

[1]
press release : http://london.noborders.org.uk/node/282
[2]
http://nobordersbrighton.blogspot.com/2010/01/not-that-old-sangatte-ii-things-again.html

Europe to be “cleansed” of Sans Papiers?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on Friday, 17 July, 2009 by bristolnoborders

With the burning and clearing of the main migrant camp in Patras, Greece (see article below) it seems there is a Europe-Wide attack on those without the luck to have a EU-Passport.On Tuseday next week the make-shifts camp whoch the migrants have built in calais are to be destroyed.There are plans for mass- deportation flights to follow. Activists are travelling to Calais to witness, and to try to intervene in Calais as we speak. However, the situation is desperate and we call on all those who can’t make it to call the numbers below. Green MEP’s statement condemming the actions of the authorities


URGENT CALL OUT for activists, legal observers, journalists and video activists to support migrants in Calais against imminent police attack and deportation!

The French immigration minister, Mr.Besson has officially  announced that plans for the destruction of the refugee camps in Calais and the subsequent deportation of refugees will take place this week between the 20th and 25th of July.
There is an urgent need for people to go to Calais to protest against the clearances as well as to act as legal & human rights observers as police begin destroying the camps and attempting to remove people.

Please act now in any of the following ways:

To go to Calais for direct solidarity this week:
http:// calaismigrantsolidarity. wordpress.com/2009/07/16/call- out-for-cameras-video- activist-and-legal-observers- in-calais/

For phone and email blockades of the French Embassy in London;
Phil Woolas, UK Immigration Minister; the French Interior Ministry. All contacts at the end of this message at http:// calaismigrantsolidarity. wordpress.com/

To lobby your MEP:
http:// calaismigrantsolidarity. wordpress.com/2009/07/17/eu- council-directives-of-use-to- lobby-meps/

http:// calaismigrantsolidarity. wordpress.com/2009/07/16/ model-letter-for-mps/

To join in protests in London:
http:// calaismigrantsolidarity. wordpress.com/2009/07/16/ protest-against-destruction- of-calais-jungles/

For an Open statement about Calais situation to all concerned, to be sent to NGO’s, human rights organizations, Trade Unions, anyone else you can think of:
http:// calaismigrantsolidarity. wordpress.com/category/calais- witnesses/

For helping with direct solidarity in August:
http:// calaismigrantsolidarity. wordpress.com/2009/07/13/ solidarity-not-charity/

French Embassy in London

French Ambassador, Maurice Gourdault-Montagne

From UK 0207 073 1000

Non-UK 44 207 073 1000

58 Knightsbridge, London, SW1 X7J

or ask for police attache Msr Eric Battesti, representative of French poilce in UK working with UK police and immigration

French consulate in London

Tel 0207 073 1200

fax number 0207 073 1201

21 Cromwell Road, London, SW7 2EN

Phil Woolas, Immigration Minister

Constituency address: 11 Church Lane, Oldham, OL1 3AN
Telephone from UK 0161 624 4248
Non-UK 44161 624 4248
Email woolasp@parliament.uk

Honorary UK Consul in Calais

Telephone from UK 33 321 96 33 76

Fax 33 321 19 43 69

UK Consul General in Lille

Phil Boyle

Telephone from UK 33 320 12 82 72

Fax from UK 33 320 54 88 16

11 Square Dutilleul, 59000, Lille

French Interior Ministry

Place Beauvau 75008, Paris

Within France 01 40 07 60 60

From UK 331 40 07 60 60

UK GREEN MEPS URGE HALT TO ‘INHUMANE’ MASS DEPORTATION PLAN FOR AFGHAN &
IRAQI REFUGEES IN ‘JUNGLE’ CAMP

– British and French governments’ plot to deport asylum seekers breaks EU
human rights law, say MEPs in letter to European Commission.

In an urgent letter to the European Commission today, UK Green MEPs
Caroline Lucas and Jean Lambert have called for an immediate suspension of
plans to deport around 1,800 individuals from the so called ‘Jungl Camp’
in Calais back to Afghanistan and Iraq next week [1].

Writing to Justice, Freedom and Security Commissioner Jacques Barrot, the
Green MEPs warn that the planned action, which is being taken jointly by
the French and British authorities under the Evian Agreement, would be in
direct breach of EU and international law on human rights and refugees.

Thousands of refugees and migrants from countries such as Afghanistan,
Iraq or Somalia are currently camped outside Calais in a squalid tented
area known as ‘The Jungle’. Around a fifth of them are thought to be
children, living in desperate and dangerous conditions, where people are
forced to sleep rough with little access to sanitation or resources.

In a joint statement, Caroline Lucas MEP and Jean Lambert MEP said:

“We urge the Commission to take immediate action to prevent next week’s
deportations – and to ensure that the French authorities fulfil their
responsibilities under both EU and international law, including improving
conditions for those living in the camps at Calais.

“The threatened mass deportations ride roughshod over the European
Convention on Human Rights, the 1951 Refugee Convention and the Geneva
Convention. And given that so many of those facing expulsion are children,
the plans may also breach the terms of the Convention on the
Rights of the Child.

“The vast majority of refugees in ‘The Jungle’ have had no contact
whatsoever with official authorities since entering the EU. We are deeply
concerned that there is a risk of deportation before these individuals
have been interviewed in order to determine whether they are seeking
asylum and are, therefore, protected by EU asylum law.”

Caroline Lucas MEP commented:

“Many migrants into France and the UK are fleeing from the consequences of
the West’s foreign policy mistakes in Iraq and Afghanistan. Given this
reality, you might imagine these governments would take their
responsibilities to the international community more seriously.

“It is unacceptable that vulnerable people from some of the most troubled
countries in the world be treated so inhumanely on European soil. Many
residents in the camps are genuine asylum-seekers and not illegal
immigrants. It is important that those people fleeing persecution and war
have free access to the correct information so that they know they can
make a genuine claim for asylum.

“At present, these individuals are at the mercy of ruthless traffickers
who make impossible promises for significant profit. The presence of
hundreds of children in the makeshift refugee camps is particularly
distressing. Yet the French authorities would rather pretend they did not
exist.”

Jean Lambert MEP said:

“The situation at Calais is a mess and short-term solutions won’t work. At
the very minimum, we must provide dignity and health care to those in
need, creating the space to look at more long term solutions. These
solutions must be anchored in human rights and respect for international
conventions.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

A previous attempt at a mass deportation was overruled by the European
Court of Human Rights on the grounds that the operation would contravene
the European Declaration on Human Rights, as well as the trilateral
agreement signed in 2002 by UNHCR with the Afghan and French governments,
which stipulates that “the return of Afghans who do not enjoy
protection… will be carried out in a gradual, ordered and humane way.

A Calais No Borders Camp – Diary

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on Thursday, 2 July, 2009 by bristolnoborders

CALAIS UPDATE – ACCORDING TO SOURCES,  “THE JUNGLE” WILL BE CLEARED BY THE AUTHORITIES  ON TUESDAY 21ST JULY

A personal perspective – hopefully others will add their voices to give a fuller  account.

Most Pictures from: http://www.contre-faits.org/

board

I went to Calais with a head full of worries… Physical Threats from the Mayor of Calais, and the French Riot Cops (CRS), whether we’d make things worse for the migrants in Calais, whether the camp would have sufficient infrastructure…

My biggest fear, however, which I had buried in the midst of the normal  logistical/organisational nightmare which surrounds “activist” camps was how I would cope emotionally being so near, such a horrible situation. This fear would prove to be well-founded. (For me, a news report, or a second hand conversation is enough to inspire me into action – it’s not that i don’t react emotionally to hearing people’s stories first hand – it’s just that it doesn’t make me more likely to act. For others, I know, it does shape, and to some extentinfluence how much work they will put into a particular campaign.)

We even wondered whether we’d even be allowed into France at all. This proved no  problem for me personally, but others were stopped both sides of the channel…delayed enough so they had to get later ferries.

Day 1 (Monday)

migrant2

Once through the French border, we decided to walk to the camp.  About 20 minutes into our journey, we spotted (and were spotted) our first CRS van. They didn’t pull us over, but just a few moments later 2 unmarked cars abruptly pulled up. Non-uniformed Police got out, and did a cursory search of our belongings…and a check of our ID’s. Some work gloves were confiscated – which we could have used for “fighting”. We set off again, only to be stopped almost immediately as the ID check apparently hadn’t carried out properly.

camp2_fused

Arriving at the camp, the most immediately noticeable factors were that there were “migrants” and “locals” as well as the expected “anarchists”  and “activists” on site.

migrants

I put these labels in scare-quotes, as the label “migrant”  Begin to pall during the camp – it seemed to become offensive in it non-specificity. Though maybe it was just a result of it’s over use, as the sans papiers presence  and participation  became the camps’ central feature. This wasn’t necessarily a sure thing before the camp – the fear stoked-up by the authorities and the media, lead some to believe that the sans papiers may be too scared to come to the camp – though I also thought that fear would probably not come into for those who had travelled all the way from, for instance, Afghanistan to Europe and then risked life and limb, boarding lorries to try to make it to the UK, and were now stuck in Calais having their make-shift homes destroyed, being tear gassed, beaten up… Thinking that we were an irrelevance, I thought, was more likely to be a factor.

construction

Some of the work that I avoided

It seemed I  had avoided most of the hard work as the structures had already been erected. Many local kids had helped with the set-up.   There was problems with the water supply, which meant slightly comically that people had to continually stand in the road stopping cars so they didn’t split the piping that lead from the nearest stand-pipe (This problem was later rectified with some improvisation and some foam).

At this point (on Monday evening) there was only 150 people on site, which with the heavy police presence, and the fact that I had already been stop and searched didn’t lend itself to a relaxed atmosphere.  Getting beer to relieve this tension, involved been stopped and searched again!

Day 2 – Tues

cinema tent

cinema tent

Tuesday, was the official first day of the camp (can anarchists be official – discuss). For me it was very much about sorting the Workshop timetable out which I did with a lot of help. Meanwhile more people arrived, including many more migrants. One of the Jungles, was very close to the camp, and in fact we were en-route from the port to the Jungle. The motorway which took HGV’s unimpeded across the channel bordered one side of the camp.

The stories of some the epic journeys, told at 1st hand, or through an English Speaking Afghani, or Kurd moved us. I found that the stories of those who had made to the UK and since deported the most upsetting. One told me of the kindness he had received from ordinary people he had met –  and the harsh treatment he received from the authorities –  and the friends he missed “Peter and James – very good friends”. Also, for his love of the English Cooked breakfast. The Museli and Bread at the camp must have been a disappointment.
Below is Moustafa’s, who was in Calais, videoed experinces of being a migrant, or perhaps just being Moustafa in Patras, Greece.

Misunderstandings

Some of the sans papiers were under the impression that we were actually going tear down the border. A misapprehension that they apparently shared with their arch-enemies The Sun and The Daily Mail etc:
dailyex sun2
Untitled

Whilst the newspapers misunderstanding of what we were doing was deliberate scaremongering, it seemed that the migrants was based on us not being clear enough what we were able to do. There will be a ” No Borders Camp On Monday” apparently turned into: “There will be No Borders on Monday”.

I suspect those who had been to the UK were probably not under this impression, having a more realistic notion of our capacity to take on the authorities.

Others thought we were on a UN type fact finding mission for the UK government, and once we had told them of the abuse and terrible conditions that they suffered in Calais, the government would immediately let them in. That may sound naive, but equally I think it is entirely reasonable.

While understandably disappointed that we weren’t able to take such immediate direct action to get them to the other side of the channel, a realisation that we hoped to work with them, in solidarity, rather than do things for them encourgaged them to attend meetings at the camp.

Whilst many were happy to see us, this was tinged with the fact that we would be gone in a week and they (probably) would still be at the port town: A long term political campaign strategy is not what you want to hear about if you’ve already been stuck in Calais for 6 months.

medics

medics tent

Day 3 – Weds

In the morning meeting –  we recieve news that a blockade of a detention centre near Lille. 24 arrests. Workshops start. Many people go and visit people in “The Jungle”. I didn’t go. Why? I decided that it would upset me too much.  Though, despite a shortage of amenities the migrants were not living in “squalor” as a BBC report suggested. A Kitchen, a shop and a Mosque had been constructed with salavaged materials. There had been a suggestion that we should give the migrants “help” in making better structures. The reality was that they made a far superior medical tent on “our” camp than we had orginally constructed. Hopefully others from our group who did visit the Jungle will give an account of it.


Day 5 – Friday

AM: One Man blockade of town by camper , demanding access to showers for the migrants.

shower

PM:

The Motorway, which carries the frieght to calais is blockaded as it shows how we have a free flow of trades and good – but not of people. The blockade doesn;t last long beofre the CRS arrive – the first time they have had any excuse to deploy their considerable  arsenal at us. The motorway stays closed for good an hour and half – thnaks to the Police. Occasional missile thrown at Police in return to their tear gas cannisters and concussion grenades. Worry for a while whether they will now come on en-masse.

blockade1

blockade starts

Go to other end of camp, to view tailback of lorries.

lorriesstopped

tailback

teargas

camp teargassed

Police leave, and traffic starts moving again. Recieve honks of support from many lorries.

Saturday

A long, hot march. Police generally in control. It took us a good couple of hours for the “No Borders Bloc” to reach the starting point – and the rest of the march. Several people are held for identity verification, as the police insist on searching everyone, some people duck down an alley to avoid it. Eventually, the police just let us through without searching everyone.

try to get to the lighthouse

trying to get to the lighthouse

at the lighthouse

at the lighthouse

The agreed route seemed to take us through spareley populated areas, well are from the town centre. At one point, the police stopped  Eritrean’s attempting to join the march, by blocking them into their squat, which had been raided earlier in the week.

We tried to have fun, but it was quite disheartening to be honest. I learnt later that the Police had re-routed the march without consultation.

South Wales try to lighten the mood

South Wales try to lighten the mood

Sunday

A day of meetings.  The last meeting which had a large migrant participation was in 5 languages: Pashtun, Arabic, English, French and Farsi. The  statement below was agreed on, as well some practical initiatives which will include providing meals at weekends to the sans papiers, regular visits and other things to be further discussed.

Demands:

1. Entry to the UK for all unconditionally.

2. The cessation of attacks and destruction migrant camps and squats. Access to care and showers must be guaranteed.

3. Freedom of movement for all in and around Calais: the ability to move anywhere without restrictions, harassment or fear of being arrested.


4. The cessation of repeated arrests.

5. Freedom of expression for all, including migrants, the right to protest and complain to the authorities individually or collectively.

6. To stop deportations  to any country,  whether  at war or not.

7. The end of the repression of associations and individuals who support the migrants including the provision of transportation.

8. Provide free and impartial legal advice in the UK, regarding the rights of asylum and immigration.

9.Arbitary detention without time limit cannot be exported to Calais. No new detention centre should be built .
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