Hunger-strike at Coquelles

People go on hunger strike inside Calais’ immigration prison for at least the third time this year…

Five people imprisoned inside Coquelles detention centre are on hunger strike. They have refused food for four days and have lost several pounds in weight already.

They are starving themselves in protest against the conditions and treatment they face in Coquelles immigration prison on the Calais border.

Detainees on hunger strike say they have been put in detention and then forgotten. Police are constantly shouting at them in French but they do not understand what they are saying. They are given bad translators in court and do not understand what is happening.

They say they are treated with no respect and have no rights because they are poor.

Many people in detention are Muslim and say they are served food that is often non-halal. They also say the portions are very small and the food is very bad. The border police, Police Aux Frontières, running the detention centre dispute this, but one of the hunger strikers says ‘even a child could see this meat is not halal’.

People on hunger strike are also trying to drink water regularly but say it is difficult because they are only given one bottle of water a day. The border police deny this as well and say they are given three bottles.

This is the third confirmed hunger strike inside Calais’ immigration prison this year [1] and these have not been in isolation, there have been many hunger strikes in other detention centres across Europe.

In the UK, thirteen men from Darfur recently started a hunger strike at Campsfield Immigration Removal Centre in Oxford. Seven people still continue the strike and have refused food since 24th May [2].

In March 2012 one man from the Congo started a hunger strike in Colnbrook IRC in London after having been savagely beaten by private security guards during a forced deportation [3].

In Belgium, in April 2012, twenty-three sans papiers went on hunger strike for over 83 days [4].

The repression of ‘migrants’ and ‘undocumented people’ is wide-spread across Europe. People regularly face violent attacks, harassment and humiliation at the hands of state authorities, the police, private security and fascist groups.

These detention centres function as modern day concentration camps, systematically incarcerating people because of their race, nationality and income.

People inside detention are regularly resorting to starving themselves as a form of protest against their treatment.

[1] See blog posts 8th April and 16th April 2012 at






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