A September in Calais
On September 5 a few hundred migrants demonstrated joyously in the streets of Calais to demand that they be able to cross to England and that police violence stop. They were also demonstrating against racism, for liberty and for respect for human rights.
On September 7, over 200 people, sympathisers of ‘sauvons calais’, held a demonstration with the mayor’s blessings on the square before the town hall. Speeches were given by various members of the ultra extreme right, there were fascists banners and fascist salutes in the assembly. An investigation will be opened. A counter demonstration was organized by the antifa in the region to protest against the fascist gathering. On the same day, the citizens wanted to organize a festive footbal match in the old city, the field in the old city where the migrants have played for 2 years already was declared forbidden by the town hall on that occasion. The tournament took place anyway on an appropriated field and it finished beautifully with a rap battle. Continuing on the same path since then, the town hall continues to forbid migrants from playing football on ‘it’s’ field, and sends officers accompanied by guard dogs to prevent people from occupying the field every Sunday. They have even shown an interest in filing a complaint against ‘illicit occupation’.
They continue to arrive in dozens to Calais and nearby… There are about 1500 in Calais. Some of them are staying at Tioxide, a squatted field, and in the surrounding dunes. The others are in squats or other fields around Calais. 300 are in ‘Fort Galloo’ , an enormous squat opened during the demonstration on July 10. Cohabitation is problematic due to stress, repression, regular menacing from the Calais fascists and exhaustion. The enforcement judge, the last judge to take a decision on the squat, after an initial decision to evict in August, authorized scientific experts to inquire and will reconvene on the 24 and 25 of September to give a final decision on October 17
Crossing and Repression
For several weeks the migrants have gathered en masse along the motorway at the entry to the port to try to clime onto lorries that are in traffic. They regularly try their luck entering the port en masse. A new CRS company has been called to try to stop them from crossing, and we’ve regularly heard stories of violence (gassing the inside of the trucks, beatings) and seen injuries among the migrants. There are countless instances of intimidation, police agression, injuries at the port, around the jungles and in the city.
The Extreme Right
Several activists have been subject to verbal and/or physical agression by individual fascists during the past weeks. Those noxious individuals are very present and don’t hesitate to provoke the humanitarians, the migrants or sympathizers with nazi salutes. At the beginning of the month a 15 year old girl was assaulted by fascists and given death threats. On 19/09 some individuals threw molotov cocktails at a squat which housed primarily Egyptians with children.Vigilance in the face of these provocations adds a new stress that we don’t really need.
The Game FR/UK
A new UK-Franco Joint Declaration has been made. They decided together to create a ‘common fund in the framework of an agreement on the struggle against clandestine immigration at the Calais port’ which ‘would allow to wind down the crisis that has plagued the migration question in Calais for several years’ : Translation : Re-inforce the borders, increase repression, coordinate with third countries to facilitate expulsions… plus a tiny bit of humanity so as not to lose face !
The situation is become equally difficult to manage in Calais for the activists, the militants, the humanitarians, the migrants and… the CRS !
Calais is the mirror of what happens at all the borders to Europe : Mellila, Lampedusa, Greece, Tunisia, Bulgaria…….
Thousands of people try to reach Europe, a place of peace and serenity for them. Even if the hospitality in Europe and the UK is problematic, they know that they won’t die of hunger there and they won’t be hit by bombs. And Europe doesn’t see where the problem is and they ban crossing while constructing a fortress, an army, walls, continuing to send arms to rebels or non rebels, crying danger about one or another ‘terrorist’ group and continuing to empty the African soil of all of its riches.
On the Programme in the Following Weeks :
Increased difficulties for migrants in crossing, growing tensions everywhere, evictions of places of living, deportations en masse to countries of transit or departure…… and new arrivals of migrants from Italy, Choucha, Spain, Greece….
Already on 23/09/2014 in Paris: a hundred people, mostly Sudanese and Eritrean, were stopped in a raid at pont de la Chapelle at 6 :30 and taken to the police station.
The Work on Our Plates:
Today there are 4 of us on the ground in Calais, that doesn’t help us much to meet the high challenges that are presented to us. There is also a lot of work to do surrounding spreading information to different communities on the repressive decisions that have been taken, on constructive tools on the growing risks of deportation, for example : France successfully deported a Sudanese person to Sudan on September 17 and has been reserving flights to Khartoum since the start of the summer.