In a rare show of defiance, around 100 migrants staged a protest by
camping round the gym (‘BCMO’) which has been used by local charities
to provide urgently needed night shelter over the harshest weeks of
winter, before its closure on Tuesday.
The migrants also burned some blankets and banners in opposition to the
closure, which comes on the back of the repeated eviction of migrants
from their camps.
Within half an hour, scores of police officers descended on the site
threatening to destroy the makeshift camp on failure to disperse.
Following a stand off, the migrants were permitted to leave the area, but
were closely pursued as they searched for alternative sites to shelter.
Having actually been advised by some police officers to do so, some men
set up shelters on the site of one of the former camps, or ‘jungles’, and
were given assurances that the police would not attack.
But within hours, the officers had entered the camp several times,
arresting six people, in what has now become a daily routine of arresting
those without identity documents in Calais in an attempt to flush
them out of the area.
By midday on Wednesday, 20 CRS (riot police) vehicles had surrounded the
new camp, and anything resembling a shelter was destroyed.
Following a relentless routine of police pursuit, arrest and assault this
winter, the migrants returned in desperation to the closed night shelter
and installed some of the tents that had been discarded by the authorities
following the eviction that morning. The police promptly arrived at the
scene, announced that they had orders to disperse assemblies and destroy
shelters, before seizing the remaining tents.
Throughout the night, the hunt continued as migrants were followed by groups
of police, who pre-emptively destroyed any half-erected structures
More people are urgently needed to stop this relentless persecution!
Some parked near the African squat, others near the cold weather shelter.