In the evening the bridges were attacked by CRS again, people at the bridge next to where the Eritrean squat used to be threatened to jump into the water and the police left, but they arrested some Afghans on the side. Apart from desperate reactions such as threatening to jump into the water nobody has tried to defend the people sleeping out, or the new shelters and camps. We went around together with some Salam volunteers and others to try give some blankets and tents and saw so many new camps destroyed and burned down near the ex Pashto jungle. Search and destroy. Hundreds of people are sleeping out in these conditions, many are under 18, many are severely traumatised, one 16 years old Afghan boy broke his foot the other day trying to run from the police, a young Afghan limps because of sharpenel wounds, all his family have been killed or have gone missing, his wife and child are missing and he is sleeping out with no blanket but does not want a blanket because he thinks if he gets one the police will attack him more easily, he has been arrested and released so many times since the destruction of the Pashto jungle. There are very few of us on the ground at the moment, we do as much as we can, we keep sending appeals for more people to come so we can do more political work but we have been low in numbers for the past two weeks. Yet this is a crucial time, more than the spectacular destruction of the Pashto jungle that attracted so many activists and the media. Will the police succeed in making of Calais a ‘migrant free zone’, or will the migrants manage to resist somehow? They are amazingly reslient – and they have no choice no matter, but what support do they get apart from the over stretched Calais charities and a small handful of CMS activists? Where are the big NGOs, the human rights organizations, community organizations, churches, trade unions etc? Where is the interest around the humanitarian situation? When is a political response going to be?
Apart from the enormous frustration at the lack of support and political action, it is great to be here, we are making such good friends with the people who are sleeping out and they are wonderful; and with whomever else is out there to help. But things are so bad and people are shivering in the cold and rain, they get sick and somebody eventually will die if nothing is done.
Many migrants go to Paris and other places to escape police repression, they find themselves in similar situations, sleeping out, being harassed by police etc, only the showers in Paris seem to be better; eventually they return to Calais also because it is the shortest way to England.