Under instruction from the town authorities, the elite French CRS riot police today forcibly evicted the new Calais migrant centre – called Kronstadt Hangar – by smashing down the front doors, less than 24 hours after migrants and No Borders activists pushed through police lines to occupy the building, which has been legally rented by No Borders and SoS Soutien aux Sans Papiers.
Marie Chautemps said: “The Kronstadt Hangar was opened as a direct intervention into a winter of repression that the migrants in Calais have faced since their ‘jungle’ communities were destroyed in a cruel PR stunt, back in September.”
She continued that: “With the authorities blocking any attempts to create a place for migrants to shelter from constant police harassment or from the bitterly cold winter, the Kronstadt Hangar intervention wasmade in the name of common human respect as well as resistance to an increasingly fascist EU border policy.”
On Saturday evening, about 100 migrants came to the warehouse with the intention of entering. They were met by two separate lines of French police on either side of the hangar. Shouting “freedom! freedom!”, the migrants and No Borders activists pushed through the police lines and successfully occupied the hangar. Donations of blankets, extra-clothes, basic mattresses and hot tea were provided for the migrants.
However, after a safe and secure night, 75 CRS police arrived on Sunday afternoon and forcibly evicted the new space by smashing down the front glass doors. 12 activists were arrested, but later released, while one was taken to hospital.
The police proceeded to trash the hangar and all the possessions inside, and have welded the entrance shut, so that it is now currently impossible for anyone to re-enter the warehouse.
In a press release issued earlier today, SoS Soutien aux Sans Papiers highlighted the joint agency between the French and UK governements, in operations such as these. Just as there is increased collaboration between the governments on both sides of the channel, so there is an increase in resistance to the repressive policies of Szarkozy, implemented with the approval of the British government.
Alex Parks said “The authorities in Calais have been trying to remove migrants from Calais for years without success, because they are in denial about the terminal reality of the un-equal world we live in. This is not over, solidarity and resistance for the right to freedom of movement will continue in Calais.”