Mayor once again attempts to segregate public spaces – this time banning football

Sunday, like every Sunday for more than two years, people of many nationalities gathered in the citadel, a sports area in Calais to play football

However in recent weeks it seems the Town Hall has decided it no longer wants ‘migrants’ to play football in public areas.

On Sunday, September 7, the group Sauvons Calais, supported by radical far-right organizations, demonstrate before the town hall of Calais. A ‘Football Against Racism’ tournament is organised in parallel on the grounds of the citadel, where they play every Sunday. But they find the citidel doors closed because of a decision of the municipality to prevent the tournament. So people decided to move the tournament to a different field, people had a great day and it finished beautifully with a rap battle.

On Sunday, September 14, people come again to train at the citadel as usual. The caretaker of the citadel tells them they are not allowed to play. They ask for an official written decision, there is none – so they start playing. Three officials from the Town Hall; Agius, Garnet and Mignonet with their favourite police ushers, came down personally to tell people the Mayor does will not allow them to play football on this public land. They say the Mayor has decided only liscenced clubs or children under 10 years old are allowed to play football here (or more like white-looking European people). Players decided to ignore this clearly racist attempt to stop them coming to this popular sports area, and continued to play.

So the national police were instructed to come on to the pitch and ask the players to leave the field. But the players refused, and people continued to play football.

On Sunday 21st people come again to play football at the citedel. The city council has put a sign at the entrance to the site to reserve the use of the licensed clubs and students, following on from their attempt last Sunday to deny access. The Deputy Mayor Mignonet, comes again accompanied by his other favourite users, bailiffs, to claim people playing football will be charged with ‘occupation of the land’. The bailiff became very aggressive when we asked him why it is no problem for other young people of Calais who were playing on the same field.

When interviewed by the local paper, it seems the Town Hall is wanting to extend this to every public space in Calais. If you want to play football, says Emmanuel Agius, you must request permission from the town hall unless you are under 10 years. Agius says, “You can walk in public places, but for the rest, you have to ask permission from the mayor. We do not play ball in the park, at least not that way! If they ask permission, the mayor will decide. Me anyway, I do not give a favorable opinion to the No Border: These convicts are clearly my enemies.” [1]

And so the Town Hall shows its alliances once again ; neo-Nazis fascists are given permission to have a platform outside the Town Hall to openly incite racist hatred and violence, while at-the-same-time, ‘migrants’ are banned – with assistance of cops and baliffs – from playing football or ‘the rest’ in public places. There are elected officials who consider municipal property as their private property, and can choose to exclude those they dislike.

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