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Africa House Evicted

 

Yesterday at 8am the police evicted Africa House where 30 to 40 people had been sleeping. There were no arrests, but the police would not let people remove their personal belongings or bedding. As usual, these possessions were taken to the town dump, although much of this has now been recovered.

With no where else to stay, many of those who had been staying at Africa House were forced to stay in or around Salam. There is no space under any shelters in Salam, meaning that the new comers from Africa House (and others) had to sleep without cover from the heavy rain last night.

Africa House and Salam threatened with eviction again

 

All the Associations are back from their summer break, so mealtimes at Salam have started again. With the exception that there is no longer anyone providing breakfast.

At the moment there are about 50 people sleeping inside of Salam and about 30 people outside of Salam, next to the building on the other side of the road. Because people have been there for so long, without being disturbed people have become quite settled, putting up blankets and matresses.

About 10 days ago the Mayor asked the police to remove the people sleeping there and on Tuesday last week the police came and kicked everyone out in the middle of the night. Nothing was removed and the people were able to go back inside once the police had gone.

A couple of days ago there was a meeting in the Town Hall about the issue of people sleeping in Salam. Again the Mayor has asked the police to remove the people sleeping there, which makes it pretty likely that in the upcoming week there will be an eviction of Salam, leaving 50-80 people with no where to stay.

As well as requesting the removal of the people, the Mayor is also attempting to change the agreement that the Associations have with the Town Hall. The Mayor wants a new agreement which says that if people are sleeping inside of Salam that it can be closed down. They also want to include in the new agreement that people from No Borders will not be allowed inside of Salam at all. At the moment we do not know how the Associations are going to respond.

Africa House is also still awaiting eviction having received eviction papers about a month ago, we have no idea when this might happen.

Big raid near Africa House

Big raid this morning, by about 30 CRS and PAF. Lots of people arrested (10-16) in the house across the street in front of Africa House, no arrests in AH. Municipality workers are building a wall at the entrance right now to prevent people from getting in. CRS raid CRS raid CRS raid

Yesterday morning there was a raid on the villa and Africa House shortly before 8 AM. Two CRS vans drove up front, the guys hung out without really getting in and left. In the meantime a PAF AV and one PAF car went to the villa and took 6 people. After about 1.30h the PAF came back to Africa House. We were on our leave by then and just ignored them. They didn’t take anyone but when we came back in the evening, there was glass shattered all over the place we sleep.

Tuesday there was a massive raid on the Iranian jungle and everybody got arrested including two sick women. When they returned all their personal belongings had disappeared, including their clothes, shoes, tents, blankets, three mobile phones and a camera. Several Iranians were arrested at the beach Wednesday night.

Several raids and arrests at the Palestinian squat, in the biggest raid 6 people were arrested on Saturday 21st, three of the people had papers.

The Hazara have been also visited every day by police and on Saturday 21st 4 Hazara were arrested including a 13 years old boy, but more often people manage to hide in the bushes where they sleep and the police do not find them; there is a helicopter usually followed by police on foot going to disturb the Hazara every day at lunch time.

Regular police raids on the Pashto jungle too, most of the people who are still there have papers.

More migrants from all different communities get arrested on the streets any time, there are CRS vans and arrest vans touring Calais all the time day and night and asking papers to everyone who looks foreign or dark skinned. For people who have no papers it is really impossible to stay or to rest anywhere.

A newly arrived family from Afghanistan (Hazara) with two small children were found trying to sleep in a park yesterday morning, after being picked up by police at night. They are now in a safe place.

An activist was arrested in park Richelieu the night between Tuesday and Wednesday for not having papers, she resisted arrest and was assaulted. Her friends tried to intervene and were assaulted too and pepper spray was used on them. 6 activists were involved in the incident and several CRS and PAF. The arrested activist was taken to Coquelles police station and soon released.

Brutal raid at Africa House

Africa House was raided about 8 am. 25 Africans and 6 No Borders activists were arrested. Police were very brutal towards migrants and activists alike.

Around 8AM two CRS vans and one arrest van drove up to the front gate of the African squat. At the same time, 10-15 CRS and several PAF officers went in through the back and started going through the rooms arresting both people with and without papers. Upon being asked for a court order to evict the squat they replied they had permission from the property owner but failed to produce despite being asked several times. No Borders activists were asked to leave the property, two of them who said they would rather stay were cuffed immediately. While being forcefully removed and dragged on the ground, one activist was dropped, hit her head and lost consciousness for a brief moment. She was taken care of by fellow activists, as the police didn’t make any attempts to give first aid. Upon regaining consciousness she showed symptoms of a brain concussion, as she felt sick, dizzy and could hardly talk or walk. Still, the police refused to take her (or walk) to hospital (which is approximately 400m away from the squat) but insisted on taking her to the police station where, as they promised, a doctor would take care of her. They made attempts to shove her into a van, which wasn’t an easy task considering that she could barely stand on her feet. Two protesting activists were put into a headlock, dragged back and cuffed. The sixth person, which wasn’t involved into any direct confrontation, but documenting the arrests was cuffed and put into a van as well. Inside the van, PAF and CRS officers kept harassing activists and refused (despite being asked several times) to fasten their seat belts. The arrested Africans and activists were then driven to the PAF station in Coquelles.

Taking people to the remote station is a intimidation tactic used by the police – after being arrested and taken there, people are often let out immediately, which forces them to take up a 2-hour-walk, if they can’t afford the bus to go back.

Upon arriving at the station at about 8:45AM the activists were separated from the Africans and placed in the lobby where their pockets and bags were searched and their belongings put on the window sill. The things were left there even after people were taken away and were returned after a few hours. Abusive behaviour from the police continued, people were told they stank (there was indeed a excrement smell coming from one policeman’s shoes), a PAF officer made a show of removing a cap from an activist’s head and presenting his dyed hair to the other policeman, verbal violence went on as well. No medical help was given to the injured activist despite people asking for it continuously.

After about 40 minutes (and still no medical attention given to the injured activist) the group was divided into two groups of 3 people, one stayed in the lobby, the other were led to the office area, where they met the arrested Africans and about 12 people driven in from the Sudanese jungle. The activists were told, that they were being detained for illegal occupation of terrain and led into a arrest cell, where they met people from other communities, e.g. Palestinians, Kurdish, Pashtuns, Vietnamese and were held there for several hours. The injured person was still deprived from medical examination, it wasn’t until noon when she was taken care of. By this time, the police “forgot” about the fact, she hit her head and suggested, that she was just drunk and tired. Instead being seen by a doctor, she was taken upstairs and breathelised. While doing this, she was sexually harassed by the male officers, who told her to “be sure to blow really hard” etc. The test gave a negative result, obviously.

The activists were given a brief medical examination eventually (by a doctor, who is said to have connections to the French National Front), which consisted of measuring the blood pressure and a examination with a stethoscope. Fingerprints and photographs were taken and they were given the possibility to talk to a lawyer, who didn’t give any real advice or information going over advising them not to lie and giving the reason for detainment. Also, she was suggesting that people should talk, otherwise they may be held in for 24 or even 48 hours. They were once again stripped from their belongings, as well as of shoelaces, belts etc. (one person was even told to hand over his glasses, which were considered a “security risk”) and put back in the cell. Strangely, it was not a problem for the police to let them take their things into the cells the first time. Food was distributed, but demands for vegan meals were ignored and eventually everyone was given chicken curry, which left the majority of the people hungry.

Arrest went on for several hours during which time the activists were taken to interrogation one by one, where they were informed about them being charged with illegal occupation again. However, at about 18.00h all of them were led out of their cells to see the interrogation officer, who informed them, that no charges will be pressed after all and that they would be released after giving back their belongings.

Around 18:30h all of the activists were set free.

The repression the No Borders activists suffered is surely a scandal and in our opinion a violation of human rights. But for many people in Calais, who aren’t as fortunate to be European citizens and are considered “illegal”, it’s something which happens to them every day. Being of a “better” nationality than other people saved us from graver physical violence, psychical terror, or being detained for a longer time – a lot of people brought to Coquelles aren’t this lucky. On the other hand, these events show, that the state oppression can affect everyone, if the state only wants it to. We must oppose this by showing solidarity with the oppressed on every occasion.

Our passion for freedom is stronger than their prisons. Repression will not get us down. No matter what happens, No Borders will not give up resisting police and state oppression.

The injured activist was examined at the hospital on Friday. She is going to be fine.

In the evening, on the first day of Ramadan, 35 Sudanese were arrested in the jungle. The police surrounded them from all sides so they had no escape, just when they were about to start eating.

Big Raid on Africa House II

A large raid took place as we were having a meeting in Africa House on Thursday morning. The CRS broke open the gate and approximately 20 officers marched in. They lined us all up, insisting that we face the wall keep our hands up against it. One particularly officious officer from the PAF was so keen to stop us seeing what they were doing that he viciously kicked an activist in the heel to make them comply.

No-one was permitted to film. One No Borders activist outside the place was violently handcuffed for filming and had her camera destroyed.

Police took personal papers, urinated on peoples’ bedding and poured oil in the sleeping areas. They evicted us, although the place has been re-occupied.

Later that day, undercover police (BAC) were spotted roaming the park frequented by migrants, asking people for their papers. They went mad as soon as people were alerted to their presence and we started to film them, refusing to give an activist back her passport until the footage was handed over. The activist refused and after a a farcical argument the passport was returned to her without having had to produce the camera.

 

Preparing for a raid

 

Undercover police (BACs)

2 Kurds were also arrested at around 9.30pm, and a raid was made on the Sudanese jungle.

Raids at Jungle, Africa House raid thwarted

At around 9pm on Wednesday, 3 Hazaras were arrested during a raid on their jungle. Dozens of Pashtuns were also seen being chased along the railway tracks about half an hour earlier.

The CRS then turned their attention to Africa House. Despite their pincer movement, residents were alerted and everyone was able to escape.

The last to be hit was the Sudanese jungle; around 20 people were arrested during a midnight raid.

Food distribution has been successful; we have acquired donations from shops and have combined cooking in the jungles with a mobile food distribution for places where that is not practical.

Raid on new Africa House

The new space inhabited by around two dozen East African and Pashtun migrants was raided this morning in a fairly large CRS operation.

Last night, officers from the PAF (Police Aux Frontieres) cut the chain around the gate to the squat known as ‘Africa House’, and warned residents that they would be back the next day. A large number of No Borders activists remained on site overnight in anticipation of a raid.

At around 7.30 this morning, approximately 5 vans full of CRS officers surrounded the building. Officers attempted to catch as many migrants as possible; eleven people were arrested.

They then arrested three No Borders activists for not leaving immediately. They were held on the ground, pressure-pointed and insulted, but were released three hours later.

Workers from the muncipal council then seized essential possessions, such as bedding. Residents were told that the buildings would be demolished on Thursday – ironically – with a view to replacing the warehouses with HLMs (low-cost housing).

Raids have continued in other areas; on Saturday, 3 people were arrested at 6.45 am at the Kurdish jungle, while 3 sudanese men were arrested at 8.30 on their way to Africa House. Many still fear walking from their shelters to the food distribution point, as they are highly vulnerable to arrest in town.

At 11.30pm on Monday, a number of Pashtuns were arrested near their camp, while the PAF managed to catch 3 migrants at the African/Pashtun squat at around the same time.

English classes have begun at the Palestinian squat and continue to be well attended at the African/Pashtun squat. We have also been distributing sleeping bags and tents and doing water runs in the day.

Africa house images

For more see here

 

It was about 11:30 AM when the cops arrived. Their were three. Activists tried to prevent the police from arresting the man in the picture. They did not stop them, but were successful in preventing the arrival of an other van. The migrant was released at the end of the day. He is seventeen and arrived in Calais two days ago.

Demolition of Africa House started this morning

Most of the ex- occupiers have moved to the two other large urban squats – sharing with Palestinians in one and Afghans in the other, however they are receiving frequent visits from the police and people are arrested and taken to the police station as usual… As for the rest it was a fairly quiet week-end, Salam did a lovely party yesterday for World Refugee Day in the place of food – between the two food distributions. Banners of the varius nations were put up – Afghanistan, Sudan, Palestine, Kurdistan etc. etc. and also a French and English banner. There was music and everybody went dancing: the Afghans, the Kurdish, the Africans; there were sports and games and everybody had a good time.