The African squat – known as Ethiopia house, was evicted again yesterday in the early hours of the morning. PAF and CRS made their way in through the gate – it should be easy enough to close it from the inside, but for some reason that was not done. Everybody who did not manage to run or hide was arrested, up to 50 people but the number is uncertain as when people are busy running they do not count precisely. Three No Borders activists went there after being alerted by some of the occupiers who had managed to escape, but at the time we arrived the ‘operation’ was almost over and the police were taking away the last people. We told the police we wanted to check that our friends were OK. We gave them a bit of tobacco and told them to call us when released. Depressingly, not much else to be done at that late stage! We also spoke to the police, who promised they were treating the arrested migrants nicely and were not destroying the blankets – as much as I don’t like cops these weren’t the worst I came across. We returned in the evening, all men had been released bar four who have fingers in other countries, the blankets were still there, they had wood, everybody sitting around fires; we brought tea and sugar because they did not have any. Morale was low. One police car and a van full of CRS came… but they drove away again when one of us told them he is a journalist – in fact her writes for his University newspaper.
The two large urban squats ( the African and the Arab squats) are under constant attack, so is the Hazara jungle, but people get often picked up when they come from the cold weather shelter or when they go there, which is outrageous, CRS vans circling the cold shelter all night looking if they can catch someone who goes out for a piss, since there are no toilets in the cold shelter. Lots of injuries seen on people running from police in the snow and ice as they slip and fall. A few ordinary citizens just looking would make a huge difference.
After a lovely and lively Christmas time, with lots of No Borders activists coming from the UK, we are low in numbers again, which renders it impossible to effectively monitor police activity. If we could have some help with that it would be great: police do change their behaviour when they are being watched, and that is something EVERYBODY can do, also if they do not belong to any political group, association or party, and with no much risk to themselves – in fact the police do nothing to us, bar checking our documents and trying to intimidate us. If you are interested in doing something to stop police violence against migrants, please call 0954621951 (0033954621951 from outside France) or email: firstname.lastname@example.org