Communiqué from people inside Rue Émile Dumont

Saturday’s news from the inhabitants of 122 Rue Émile Dumont in Coulogn (suburb of Calais)

“We’re writing to you again with the latest news from the front. Our aggressors have reached a new level of violence. On Saturday 22, we were attacked by intensive volleys of stones from two in the afternoon until half past midnight. Around 4.30 pm, one man who had threatened on the facebook page of ‘Sauvons Calais’ (‘Save Calais’) to kill some migrants and throw them into the canal threw a rock, from 6 metres away, which hit the neck of a friend who had gone outside to talk with some of the neighbours. When we went outside to eat in the garden, we received a rain of some 20 stones in just a few seconds. As the numerous attacks on the roof and the windows went on, the crowd shouted encouragement every time a stone hit its target. As the most violent attack of stone-throwing was going on, the collective ‘Sauvons Calais’ was publicly hosting a buffet outside with food and coffee, between 6pm and midnight. They also used laser pointers against cameras and directly into the eyes of the inhabitants (legally these can be considered as weapons in this context). There were a maximum of 80 people protesting (at about 10.30pm), the last of them left around 1am.

During all this afternoon and until about 1 am, the police (National Police and plain-clothes ‘Brigade Anti-Criminelle’) were present, up to 8 in number. They were notable in their passivity, only intervening on two occasions in total. The first time, while our friend was hit by a rock to the neck in front of their eyes, they took him into their police car for less than a minute, then let him go. Another striking event was when a drunk man arrived with a packet of fireworks, the police confiscated a few of them and then let him approach the house with the rest. Indeed they went so far as to hang the protesters’ banner on the fence, and some of them were laughing as our attackers showed their joy when the stones hit their target. The police allowed the protesters to come right up to the gates of the house, while they stood watching a metre behind.

The police left a few minutes after the last protesters and, five minutes later, a white pick-up truck parked at the corner of Rue Aristide Brillant and Rue Haut-Champs. Two men got out and walked towards us, then turned away as the police briefly drove past. The two men then returned with Molotov cocktails (beer bottles) in their hands, which they lit in front of the bus stop. One of the molotovs was thrown onto the roof. Fortunately it did not catch fire, but then they threw another which rebounded off the side of the bus stop and landed in the garden where it burned. We called the police to report the attack, they refused to listen and demanded to know our identities.

After one of us explained that he could tell them everything that happened, and could describe the attackers’ vehicle, but wanted to stay anonymous, the police left. One of us went into the garden to find the debris of the molotov cocktail. A police car drive past again and he tried to show them the evidence, but they only shone their torches in his face, refusing again to record the event. We wait with much apprehension the days to come. After the molotov attack, what next?”