A december in Calais

Winter has arrived with storms and rains. The big jungles and Galloo squat are still there; Tioxide-jungle with 2 restaurants, school, church, mosque and a shop. (see below news about forthcoming evictions). There are around 2000 people living rough in these spaces. The cold weather shelter is open occasionally with 350 sleeping spaces: it’s located far from the city and even when open it is not easily accessible due to the short opening hours.

December saw a high level of police violence concentrated on truck parkings and traffic jams leading to the Euro Tunnel and port. Attacks were sporadic and beatings seemingly random, aimed at discouraging migrants form trying for England and plainly expressing police racism. Police chased people into oncoming traffic, broke many limbs, and regularly used pepper spray at point blank range. They destroyed cameras when people attempted to film these illegal acts of violence.

When arrested from the streets near the jungles people were often taken to far away detention centers, such as Rennes, Metz, Nimes, Strasbourg and Paris. Some were even transported by plane to distant detention centers via a small airport in Calais.

The border entails various forms of violence. Migration controls violates women’s rights through racism and sexism in a way that these two systems of oppression are very much interlinked.

The hospital of Calais refuses to carry out abortions for migrants with an extremly cowardly explanation. The authorities based their decision on law that says that you cannot travel to France to have an abortion there, obviously that is not the case of the women at all. They systematically send women that could not proove an official residence in France to the hospital of Grande Synthe, that is 50 kilometers away. They claim that this is because they are concerned about the womens security, since abortion is supposed to be a specific medical intervention (although it is an intervention like any other with very low risks) they say it is to dangerous for the women to go back to the jungle afterwards. So yeah, they think staying pregnant against their own will is healthier and safer for the women.

After complaints having been made, the hospital should be called out by the ministry of health, since this racist, selective practice of carrying out basic health services is completely illegal!

However, not all was bleak. There were a few festive moments, namely a demo on the International Migrants’ day on the 18th, a couple of small Christmas parties in the jungles and a big New Years party at the Galloo Squat. The demo was organized by various associations as a response to the ‘Wall of Shame’, a large security fence recently installed by the UK government to increase security in the Ferry Port and previously used for the NATO summit in Cardiff. It was well-attended with over 1000 people. All of the parties were a great success with no violent police interventions or other incidents – just wild dancing to a very mixed play list and general merriment.

Next week on wednesday at 2pm (Centre Social Espace Fort Yves

2 B Rue D Ajaccio) self defense classes for women, trans* and queers will start ! These classes will hopefully take place regularly on a longterm basis- we are still looking for teachers that are happy to come around and hold one or several classes!

What to expect for January ?

An eviction notice, without a specific date being set has been placed in front of the sudanese jungle and the Bois Dubrulle (forest on the opposite side of Tioxide mainly inhabited by the afghan and ethiopian comunity) by the CRS. Several asylum seekers living in the spaces being threatened are ready to challenge the decision in court.

The last official announcements made by the prefecture claimed that there would be no forced evictions of any living spaces until the new day center opens. So when does it open? Food is supposed to be served there starting from mid-january and the original opening date of the center was set for the end of the month. But it seems like there are some additional works inside the building that take up more time than foreseen, so we don’t reall know at what point they actually wanna get going. Anyways we aren’t waiting for it with high expectations. The day center is part of a wider anti-migration strategy and comes along with other agreements between Natacha Bouchart and Cazeneuve with the UK (more policemen in Calais, closing-off of the port with the fence all around). Starting from the moment the daycenter opens, all other squats and jungles etc. are supposed to disappear and a ‘zero tolerance politic’ towards them has been announced. All services for migrants are supposed to be centralised in this space far from the city center, in order to concentrate the migrants outside of Calais. There will be no sleeping places for men, camping will be tolerated on the fields around. The outcome will be an even more official segregation between the habitants of the city and the migrants being locked out in the middle of nowhere.

Location of the center: https://www.google.fr/maps/place/Centre+A%C3%A9r%C3%A9+Jules+Ferry/@50.974514,1.903281,15z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0x7dacbfa7f4b841b5

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