A lively New Years Eve prison noise demo was held outside Calais’ immigration detention centre in solidarity with people inside and in spirit of New Year demos held outside prisons and detention centres everywhere.
A loud samba band, a new Calais Rhythm of Resistance, joined and big banners unfurled in front and behind the detention centre. Tennis balls with a telephone number hidden inside were thrown inside the prison yard but were confiscated by the police. The new fences and barbed wire that were installed a couple of months ago push these solidarity demos back, which have become quite regular, to make it more difficult to get direct contact with people outside their cell windows.
The demo continued into town, taking the streets with samba band, banners and simple leaflets : “No-one is illegal, freedom of movement and settlement, stop evictions, end detention”, also listing some website of CMS, Indymedia Lille, w2eu and gettingthevoiceout.
The demo was small, but with people across different communities. Drums and a megaphone passed from hand to hand as the demo passed through the main streets and parks, ending outside town hall where the idea to try to meet with the Mayor, to demand a place to be safe and not on the streets, became widespread. A small group who went forward were refused entry into the ‘public’ building and communication with the Mayor, they were told because she is not elected she is not obliged to meet them.
Even though it was a small impromtu demo, it was also successfully not an ‘officially declared’ manifestation, and the police were not in control of its movement ; a moment which visibly defied the usual police controls over people in the streets.
People then moved to a squat for a new years eve party with the samba band still drumming and lots of dancing late into the new year.