Syrian refugees threaten to jump off roof of port’s departure lounge in protest

For Immediate Release
4th October 2013

Update 07:17am
Port of Calais, France:

The attempted eviction of the Syrian refugee protest camp at the port in
Calais is happening now. Two people are on the roof of the departure
lounge, and are threatening to jump unless their demands are met. A
further twenty are entering their third day of hunger strike.

The protesters want a representative from the UK to come to Calais to
speak to them and grant them refuge in the UK.

This morning at 7.30 am around seventy riot and border police, with the
port owner, arrived at the departure lounge to violently evict the sixty
five Syrian refugee protesters currently occupying the public walkway
access to the departure lounge.

Two young Syrian men are now on the roof of the departure lounge threatening to jump unless their demands are met. The other protesters are still occupying the entrance to the departure lounge.

At 8:00 am a representative of the local Prefecture arrived and has begun negotiating with those on the roof. He is trying to make contact with the UK Government for their response.

In a statement issued by the protesters on Wednesday they state that;

‘We are about 65 people from Syria at the port at the moment, with our families, old women, mothers, children the youngest being three years old and friends’.

‘We are now demonstrating in the port of Calais, we will not leave until they let us go to England. We demand one person from the UK home office comes here to speak with us’

The message from all of the Syrian protesters is clear

‘refuge in the UK or die at the port in Calais’

Syrian refugees have been maintaining a blockade of the entrance of the port of Calais since 2 pm on Wednesday, in protest against the inhumane treatment that they are receiving in France. The last month has seen an escalation in the harassment of migrants in Calais. Evictions of shelters, destruction of people’s property and arrests have been taking place on a daily basis.

For more information please contact
calaisolidarity@gmail.com

0033 605 574 826
0033 683 199 894

Notes for journalists:

Statement from Syrian protest camp, Calais, France 02/10/2013

‘We have been here now between one and two months. We are about 65 people from Syria at the port at the moment, with our families, old women, mothers, children the youngest being three years old and friends.

There is nowhere safe for us to shelter in Calais, we are here just for one thing and that is to have asylum in England. Many of us have family and friends in England who we would like to see and be able to live with.
There is also a strong Syrian community there, more than in France.

We are now demonstrating in the port of Calais, we will not leave until they let us go to England. We demand one person from the UK home office comes here to speak with us, and to see our situation. We have the right to claim asylum in England, but how do we get there? There is not a legal way to cross.

We are about 65 people from Syria at the port at the moment, with our families, old women, mothers, children the youngest being three years old and friends.

We have the right to live a peaceful life and we have unfortunately war in Syria. We need help quickly. We are looking for safety and shelter in Europe but we have not found it yet and we hope to find it in uk.’

For background information on repression of migrants in Calais see ‘This Border Kills’
http://calaismigrantsolidarity.wordpress.com/this-border-kills-our-dossier-of-violence-2/

For updates and news see the Calais Migrant Solidarity Website :

http://calaismigrantsolidarity.wordpress.com

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