Fascism; an authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government and/or social organization. Also described as authoritarianism, totalitarianism, dictatorship, despotism, autocracy, absolute rule, Nazism, rightism.
In this post, the term fascist is used to name the oppressive and aggressive actions of individuals and groups who are being abusive to Jungle residents through a nationalistic stance. Though labelling is problematic and simplistic, it is used here for clarity. They are not overtly affiliated with the government or the police force but seem to be tolerated, and in some cases supported by them.
Whilst there is an enormous amount of support and solidarity with people living within the Jungle, we are still faced with extreme violence and hatred from fascist, right populist, and nationalist groups living near the Jungle. These anti-refugee hate groups are spreading propaganda through creating self-pitying messages that portray themselves, alongside Calais residents, as victims.
See the Facebook pages of these groups to gain an understanding of the extremity of the situation:
* Mouvement d’Action Sociale
* Les Calaisiens en Colère
* Kevin Reche * (Sauvons Calais)
* Calais Libre
We recognise that Calais has been transforming and having to adapt to the influx of people over the last years. We recognise that for some, this adaptation is challenging. The fact is, that people living within the jungle are having to adapt to even more extreme conditions and are subjected to a violently controlled border. No one wants to be in the situation that they are in and they should not be the targets of violence from the fascist groups which are gathering. These groups are demonising “illegals” and see them as a threat. The French police have witnessed the aggression of the groups and have not prevented it and are instead supporting it. A video posted online which has now been taken down by Calais Libre showed a protester asking a policeman to use his rubber bullet gun and the police agreed to it. The police are complicit with the actions of these groups.
Timeline of recent encounters with and actions of the fascist groups:
26th September: Elias was abducted near to the Eurotunnel at 2am. Driven to a small wood, gassed, undressed, all personal possessions taken. Beaten with fists, feet, and an iron bar. He thought that he was going to die, «Je n’aurais jamais imaginé que des choses comme celles-là puissent se passer ici.»
Since 1st October, at least 9 refugees have been gassed and beaten after being abducted in the night by people in a black car (Kia with 62 or 59 plates with 2 men and 1 woman inside)
October 31st: demonstration by the fascist group Calaisiens En Colere (Angry Calaisiens).
9th November: PEDIGA demonstration in town. The far right group let off a firework, burnt a Koran, and assaulted two counter protesters, with complete inaction on the part of the police.
Reports from multiple refugees living in the jungle that the evening of the 9th of November, after the PEDIGA demonstration in the town, an Eritrean refugee was abducted by fascists. They attempted to tie a rope around his neck and hang him from a road traffic sign, but he was able to escape.
Sunday 6th December: Fascist Demo ‘to support the neighbourhoods’ by “Calaisiens en colère”.
Sunday 13th December: roughly 70 fascists marched next to the jungle on Route des Gravelines. Activists and migrants were there to observe and film them. Fascists shouted racist insults and police rapidly proceeded to intimidate activists, pushing them and dragging one person filming away for an ID-control.
Wednesday 16th December: In the late afternoon an Eritrean man was beaten up by four men and came with severe bruises on his face to the clinic.
Separately from this, a group of volunteers of the jungle returning from the hospital, whilst walking on Route des Gravelines, were threatened by a group of 10 fascists with hammers and knives and abusive shouts. Police reluctantly intervened saying that the volunteers presence was enough of a provocation, and ordered them to leave. The volunteers continued to survey the street in case the fascists and police attacked anyone with the large sticks and hammers that they held on to. When one volunteer highlighted that the people with weapons were being more provocative than them, the police said ‘we are from different worlds’ – suggesting their support for the fascists.
For more accounts from the last few months see:
Right-wing groups often claim that there violence is an act of self-defence, that they are merely protecting their community’s. This is a myth. These actions are a threat to all people living and working within the Jungle and we must be aware of them, keep watch, and look out for each other. Share any news and film or record where possible. This is not a new phenomena, these attacks have a long history in Calais. We cannot rely on the state to protect us against these nationalist, fascist and right populist groups; we must work in solidarity to prevent their aggression and show that it is not welcome here or anywhere.