Destruction of a migrant camp in Dunkerque

This morning the police arrested around 30 people out of 70 – 80 living in a camp in Dunkerque.

Police is arresting migrants living in the camp in Dunkerque.

Dunkerque is another french harbour city, where people are trying to get to england. We filmed the police destroying the migrants homes, without beeing able to stop them. One of the things we could do, was to take some of the clothes, blankets and other belongings of the migrants out of their homes, bevore everything got destroyed. It was aweful.

Crane is used to put the remains of the destroyed houses in a lorry.

Arrests in Calais

In the evening of the same day, back in calais, the police was driving around with lots of vans in the inner city. It seemed that this time they were trying to arrest migrants that were in the parks. We drove arround in the city and witnessed 5 arrest – we don’t know how much we didn’t see.

Police ist arresting two migrants in a park.

We are having the impression, that the police actions are getting more intensive. In calais there are really few activists at the moment. So if you are thinking of coming, you are welcome and needed.

News and press release

Then there are other news from today and a press release concerning the destruction of the camp in Dunkerque



With a profusion of means (bulldozer, crane, tractors, lorry), a big array of staff from the PAD, under the protection of an important posse from the police, the authorities have once more carried out, with great expense, the dimantling of the migrant camp of the town of Loon Plage. Just where eight days earlier, the town council, in agreement with the port authorities, had given coverage to the setting up of showers in favor of those same migrants!

There on the field at the same hour, our associations have witnessed, powerless, the arrest of some fifty migrants who have been handcuffed and led in the air and border police (PAF) offices.

The engines that were brought on site then carried out the dirty work consisting in destroying the shanty shelters and what they contained with the exception of the few blankets, clothes, shoes, kitchen utensils, that we were able to salvage.

Our associations are outraged by this operation which, once more, as in Sangatte, as in Calais and elsewhere, will not solve anything, but will continue to convey a sad image of our ‘national identity’, synonymous with blind repression, exclusion, and repeated attack on human rights.

Is this how Mr Besson actively participates, in the beginning of winter, in the international solidarity week!

Dunkerk, 17th of november 2009.

Signatories : Salam, Mrap, Ldh, No border calais, Modem Loon Plage, Calais Migrants Solidarite, Emmaus Dunkerque.

And an link to an Artikel from the UNHCR about the situation in calais at the moment:

The problem is not the smugglers, the problem is the border

A quick comment to the UNHCR article…The smugglers are a product of the border regime. Open the borders and the smugglers will disappear overnight. Instead, after the destruction of the jungles and squats and the increased State repression encountered by the migrants, the smugglers have doubled their fares and the average price of ‘guarantee’ journey from Calais to England in the back of a truck is now 1500 euros. Another remarkable feature is that the Afghan mafia has virtually disappeared from the Calais area after the destruction of the Pashto jungle and the Kuridsh mafia has grown stronger; however the police apparently do not know where they are or who they are, despite having pictures of them. Instead, they have jailed an innocent man for two years. Another mystery is that some days there are so many police and immigration officers not even a mouse could cross the border, other days there is nobody and lots of people go through. It is like opening and closing a tap.

That the smugglers have no interest that the refugees stay in France is an obvious fact, seen the money they are making. I very much sympathize with the dedicated UNHCR staff who are having trouble with them, we have encountered similar problems with the mafia, perhaps for different reasons since we are not advising people on how to apply for asylum in France.

Instead it is difficult to explain what interest the French State has to pressurize people to apply for asylum in France, without referring to the UK- French agreements; as a matter of a fact the French government are detaining people for longer periods and the police are telling them they will be deported to Afghanistan if they don’t apply. Many capitulate to the pressure.
The role of the UNHCR is at least ambiguos: without doubting the good will of their staff in Calais, we who have a suspicious mind have always asked ourselves why did the UNCHR open an office in Calais precisely at the time when the UK/French agreements went underway to further close the border.

To get asylum in France is problematic, but according to numbers the chances are better than in the UK, that have no scruples refusing most refugees from Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries at war and send them back on charter flights if they do not return ‘voluntarily’. There is a regular deportation charter London- Kabul leaving every Tuesday. However the situation in France is far from happy, especially since the lack of support and accommodation means utter destitution for those who apply for asylum; the judges have ruled recently they must be given accommodation, but in fact they are still sleeping in woods and under bridges, and being arrested by police every moment for no reason.
Just a quick comment, more to follow.
Chiara Lauvergnac