Raids resume in Calais

After a few days of relative calm, raids and arrests of migrants have resumed in Calais:

– At 6am on Wednesday, 7 Kurdish men were arrested in their community. This was followed by the arrest of 5 Afghans and 7 Sudanese migrants at the new African-Pashtun squat.

– At 7.50am on Thursday, the Police Nationale raided the African-Pashtun squat. Activists were present. No arrests were made.

At 2.20pm the same day, a convoy of at least 20 CRS vans and coaches were seen arriving in Calais.

At 10.30pm, the PAF (Police aux Frontieres) turned up at the African-Pashtun squat with an arrest van. Activists were already on the scene. Others arrived promptly to support them; the PAF soon left without hassling or arresting any migrants. They returned at least three times over the next couple of hours – perhaps to try and intimidate, to check if the coast was clear to raid, or simply because they were bored. No Borders activists are now living in the squat and a raid didn’t occur the next morning as had happened the two previous mornings.

– While some of us where sleeping there however, another raid was made on the kurdish jungle. At 9.30am this morning, 3 kurds were caught by PAF officers. 20 police and 5 vehicles were involved in that operation but most of the migrants managed to escape.

An hour and a half later, three police cars pulled up at the Pashtun squat and officers arrested 3 of its inhabitants.

While we can’t be everywhere at once, it is testament to the strength of the links we have with the migrants that we are able to monitor all this. The migrants in Calais are organising their own defence too. Despite the exhaustion of daily life here, they use lookouts to alert other members of their camps when the police attack.

We meanwhile, have resumed morning and night vehicle patrols to monitor the roaming CRS vans.

We have also been organising more social activities. On Wednesday evening we took a burner and large cooking pot to the new African/Pashtun squat; lots of people dished in to make a spicy cous cous and lentil dish.

English classes have resumed there and are well attended.