There are about 15 activist currently in Calais enjoying the new office space. Over easter weekend the police were quiet in Calais, with no raids happening from Friday to Monday*. But they came back in force on Tuesday. At about 9pm Tuesday night as some activists were leaving the Hazara camp, they were stopped by a CRS van and asked questions. They told the police they were lost. Then they saw more vans heading towards the camp so they ran back to the Hazaras and warned them quietly. Then hiding in the bushes, they shouted “police!” loudly so that when the CRS arrived they followed the calls of the activists instead. No one was arrested. This morning we split up and covered different areas with half of us at africa house and half by the rail track. Both places were quiet with no police at the rail tracks and police coming 4 times and circleing but not entereing africa house.
*There was a raid on the railtracks the night before Easter. Lots of people got arrested. And again the following nights…
Maze of Bureaucracy
Yesterday, I went with a friend to the Sous Prefecture, to hear the result of his French asylum application. It was a mess in the office. He arrived at 10 AM and was told to come back at 2PM. We waited untill 5pm when he was told he must return tomorrow becuse the secretary had not had enough time to go over his case. There was only one woman dealing with around 40 applications that day.
He told me that the administration is always very disorganised. He had a friend who was told that he would be granted leave to come to England. When he arrived at the office, with the paper stating this he was told that his fingerprints had been found in Greece and that he would be deported there that day. However he had a document from the Greek government stating that he would not be allowed entry to Greece for 20 days. This was ignored and it is unknown what happened to him. Another man we have met here lives in England but is a Somalian citizen, he had his bag stolen and cannot retrive his papers from the Somalian state so he is not allowd back in the country as the UK and French governments will not talk to him without papers. These are two small examples of the bureaucratic nightmare so many people here experience.