On 15th May, a mass demonstration was held in Paris to protest against the police harassment of refugees in Calais and Paris (where many migrants go on their way to Calais), and against border controls more generally.
Watch a video of the protest.
Last night police descended upon the Gare du Nord, a Franco-British border and the target for the mass action. Police attempted to disrupt plans, telling all cars to leave the area, and shops to close. Migrants were threatened with arrest if they attempted to interact with No Borders activists. A high level of undercover police combined with many other types detered some from participating.
However, over 200 people joined the main demonstration and refused to be intimidated, stopping traffic, setting off flares, and calling for an end to the escalating repression against migrants in Calais, and across Europe. No arrests yet, and many Afghan migrants watched the demonstration despite the threats of the police. Similtaneous demonstrations occurred in Berlin, with several hundred people demonstrating in front of the French Cultural Centre.
Several hundred Afghans most of whom intend to make the journey North to the UK and elsewhere are currently living a precarious existence in the city, and across Northern France often living in the streets exposed to the elements and to arrest or eviction at the whim of the police. To enforce elitist migration laws, oppressive levels of surveillance are employed at the station: the police are on permanent stand-by, the military patrol the area, and CCTV is pervasive… This surveillance facilitates the identification and exclusion of those deemed ‘undesirable’ such as ‘illegal’ immigrants who often congregate near the station or ‘yobs from the surburbs’. These youth are often excluded from participating in major public events by the CRS (public order police) who await them on the platforms and send them back to their areas… Without the requisite I.D. or travel documents – or the means to pay for the prohibitively high cost of public transport – access is to the Eurostar, other international lines, & suburban trains, is denied. Join us in this mass action & fight to reclaim freedom of movement for all! Discussions and a party will follow the demonstration. No Borders calls for freedom of movement for all. We act in solidarity with all those repressed by the state and Fortress Europe. No borders! No nations!