The most important thing right now is to keep up a presence of activists in Calais, as migrants have come to know us and appreciate what we are trying to do – with hopefully realistic expectations of what we can achieve in face of massive state power.
This is a brief guide to prepare you if you are planning on joining us in Calais. This general guide to migrant solidarity work, written by people who have spent a lot of time working in Calais, may also help prepare you.
Please do contact us if you are planning to come – we may be able to help you get lifts to Calais, put you in touch with someone who can update you on the latest situation, and let you know what it might be useful to bring.
How long can I stay?
You can stay for as little as one weekend, or many months, although be prepared for an exhausting experience!
What should I bring?
We are currently staying in our office and with migrants. Bring sleeping bags. Feel free to bring and leave relevant campaign materials and leaflets etc.
Other useful items include: Recording equipment (bring your camera for example if you have one), whistles, horns, anything which creates music (instruments, CD player, speakers).
If you have a vehicle or extra space, the squats and Jungles can always use more of the following… Vehicles are also very useful, check with the people on the ground.
Shoes, men’s clotes, English sim cards (O2 , Lyca, T mobile), tents, sleeping bags, tools, footballs and other sport equipment, first aid stuff, bicycles and bike’s parts - bike locks, bike lights and inner tubes are very welcome, computers, books, dictionaries, English teachind material.
Before arriving in Calais please ring the comms phone 0033 645465986 . We will arrange a time to meet up when you get to Calais, but try and phone before you arrive to give us time to organise people to meet up.
The only ferry available for foot passengers is P&O ferries. You need to be ready to embark 45 mins before departure.
We have maps of the area, including one with all of the jungles and other important addresses marked on which you can copy. More maps are available from the tourist info office for free.
Food is generally bought collectively, and we cook communal vegan meals so that everyone can eat them. We ask people to chip in to pay for these.
Much of the work these days involves an almost constant presence at several heavily targeted squats. Being there before the raid happens means people can be alerted to the police presence and escape.
Filming, recording and simply being present is often enough to deter the police from the most aggressive acts of violence. However expect to be ‘controlled’, ie; have your passport/ID checked, and sometimes be forcefully removed from the situation. People have been injured in the past and had equipment such as cameras and walkie-talkies broken.
If you do not think you are comfortable being in such a situation it is acceptable and understandable to remove yourself. If you are civil and polite and co-operative with the CRS, then it is highly unlikely that you will get hurt, but they are rude people, so this can be difficult!
If you are very uncomfortable with encounters with the police, there are plenty of other activities you can get involved with. You do need to be explicit that you do not wish to challenge the police so that others don’t rely on you for this kind of support!
These other tasks include: Giving English or first aid lessons; distributing food, water, firewood, clothes, tents, blankets and so on; administering first aid; charging mobile phones; supporting detainees in Coquelles detention centre; giving migrants support during trials; distributing legal information; meeting with migrants and finding out what they most need; and just being a friendly presence – No Borders in action is the breaking down of individual borders of activists and migrants.