Category: News

Pegida and Police fight in Calais!

01Well, maybe fight is too strong a word, but for the first time today French patriots will be happy to know that valuable French policing resources, including CS gas, have not been all used up on migrants! It was also refreshing, although a little odd, to watch the French police throw to the ground and arrest someone in a black hoodie without any CMS folks feeling the need to panic.

At around 1pm yesterday about 150 Pegida gathered at Calais Ville train station to deliver their hatemongering message, and were disappointed to find that, (though the prefecture had already told them the demonstration would not go ahead) the demonstration was not going ahead! Before the demo Pegida claimed that they were expecting 800 to 1,000 numpties to make it to Calais, so with these low numbers and a lack of visible local support the day seems to have been a bit of a wash out.03

As well as French flags there were masked men sporting the iron cross, showing that Pegida cannot deny their association with neo-nazis. Among the 20 reported arrests are Pegida leader Loïc Perdriel and figurehead General Piquemal – so Pegida will be unable to blame conflict with police on rogue members.

Despite the heavy policing of the Fascists, showing that the police are not their allies as they may have hoped, the ban on this demonstration seemed largely to focus on the percieved ‘threat to public order’ posed by a counter demo. Opposition to Pegida from locals, migrants, associations and humanitarian volunteers was intimidated both by the threat of attacks from fascists and the threat of heavy policing. Associations in the jungle warned volunteers to stay out of town ahead of the demo, hindering the possibility of a visible pro-migrant presence on the streets.

On this occasion police partially contained a dangerous fascist presence, and the rare sight of our enemies fighting each other warmed our hearts. However, this is limited cause for celebration when we know the new state of emergency ban on demonstrations will also be used against migrant and pro-migrant demonstrations, probably with more heavy handed tactics. Further, the police continue to do nothing about the continued attacks on migrants in Calais and there are concerning speculations that an attack by an ‘armed militia’ last Thursday may be associated with off-duty police.

 

 

 

 

 

Going Over The Top. . .

For the past two weeks, the French state has slowly but surely been evicting, clearing and levelling a large swathe of the Jungle camp, in turn creating a stretch of “no man’s land” between the highway to the port and the residents of the Jungle. Adding to the already bleak, militaristic landscape of razor wired fences, the permanent prescence of police and smog billowing from the surrounding factories; jungle residents now find themselves behind 10ft embankments of sand and rubble, reminiscent of World War I trench warfare.

no mans land

Yesterday, at approximately 13:00 there was an attempt at a “dougar”, or traffic jam at a number of points along the port bypass. A small number of trucks were stopped, but those involved were quickly dispersed with stun grenades, pepper spray and baton blows. Having restored traffic circulation, the police decided to exact its revenge on the general population of the camp – targeting a number of volunteer vans distributing clothes to a large group queuing up just beyond the bridge entrance. Huge amounts of tear gas was fired directly at this congregation of people creating mass panic and anger.

not so happy jungle

happyjunglegassed

What followed was a two hour barage of both CS and CR gas, as well as the use of rubber bullets and concussion grenades to clear the large groups of people that had gathered and were attempting (in some cases successfully) to cut through the fence.

people party

gasland

People fought back, and at one point a hail of stones rained down on a CRS van resulting in one policeman getting injured. Eventually, people were forced to retreat back across “no man’s land” and into the jungle due to the shear amount of gas and rubber bullets fired. With people clearly retreating, the police entered and pressed forward across “no man’s land” and onto the new embankment meters from La Vie Active’s replacement camp.

police forward

From this new vantage point the police indiscriminantely continued to fire into the camp. This position also enabled the police to fire tear gas deeper than previously possible into the jungle. This left very few places free of noxious gas – some people reported feeling the effects of the gas attack from as far as the Theatre Dome/family area (approximatley 200-300 meters away from the police’s main focus) and also on Chemin de Dunes. Also of note is the fact that the police adhered to their usual strategy of firing both rubber bullets and tear gas directly at people and from a very close proximity. Today, this resulted in one person’s hand being broken by a rubber bullet.

Fundamentally, the state hopes that the creation of this “no man’s land” will enable the police to better monitor those in the camp and reduce incursions onto the port bypass highway. This new space makes the people of the Calais Jungle yet more vulnerable, exposed and liable to be attacked indiscriminately by the police in acts of collective punishment via mass chemical weapons attacks. However, yesterdays events show that this has not dampened people’s spirits and many are still determined to fight and further undermine the French State’s repressive border regime. The British and French governments have already invested millions in sophisticated and barbaric technologies of control. Yet the people still try and the people still cross. These strategies of deterrent have never stopped people before and they will not now. They only cause meaningless suffering, waste,  death and fat profits for security corporations.

 

Brutal fascist attacks in Calais / Attaques de fachos à Calais

smash_fascism

On the night of Thursday 21st January, three refugees from Syria were brutally attacked in Calais. The assault happened close to an abandoned field near Impasse des Salines between midnight and 1.00 am. Six fascists in plain black boiler suits, similar to police clothing but without emblems, were identified by those attacked. The assailants had their faces covered and were all carrying a side arm.

Before the attack, the refugees were asked for their documents, their mobiles, and any money they were carrying. They were then searched to see if they had surrendered everything that could be stolen. After the shake down, the 3 men were beaten with iron bars again and again. The fascists kicked them in the face and jumped on their bodies, over and over. When one of the refugees was severly bleeding from the head a member of the fash group said: ‘arret, arret’, and the attack stopped. Heavily injured from the assault the 3 Jungle residents managed to get back to the relative safety of the camp, later activists brought them to the hospital. One of the men attacked left the hospital before the others and went to the police station to make a complaint. The police took samples from the crime scene and will investigate further the source of these attacks.

This disgusting and violent assault is the fourth in four nights. It comes after a prolonged period of police and neo-nazi cooperation. This is not in any way a unique event, in fact the night before, on the 20th, a 15 year old Afghan minor was attacked resulting in wounds requiring stitches on his head and lips. The size and the severity of this 6 man assault suggest a well coordinated operation. The violence on the city streets of Calais experienced by those living in the Jungle, either sanctioned by the state or not, shows the shameful depths of nationalist ideologies in France today.

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La nuit du Mardi 21 janvier, 3 réfugiés syriens ont été brutalement attaqués à Calais. L’assaut s’est déroulée près d’un terrain abandonné vers Impasse des Salines entre minuit et 1h du matin.  Les victimes ont décrit six fachos, en vêtements de travail noir uni, habillés comme la police mais sans insignes. Les assaillants étaient masqués et portaient tous une arme de poing.

Avant l’attaque, les réfugiés se sont vus confisqué leur documents, leur téléphone et tout l’argent qu’ils avaient sur eux. Ils ont ensuite été fouillé afin de vérifier qu’ils avaient bien donné tout ce qui était volable. Après  le racket, les 3 hommes ont été battus à la barre de fer, encore et encore. Les fachos les ont frappés au visage et ont sauté sur leur corps, encore et encore. Lorsque l’un des réfugiés saignait sévèrement au niveau de la tête, l’un des membres du groupe faf a dit” arrête, arrête” et l’attaque a alors cessé. Gravement blessés, les 3 résidents de la jungle ont réussi à revenir à la relative sécurité du camp, et plus tard, des activistes les ont emmenés à l’hôpital. L’un des hommes est sorti de l’hôpital avant les autres et est allé au commissariat porter plainte. La police a recueilli des éléments sur la scène de crime et recherchera plus en profondeur les auteurs de l’attaque. Cette attaque, violente et dégueulasse, arrive après une période prolongée de coopération entre police et néo-nazi. Il ne s’agit en aucun cas d’un événement unique. En fait, la nuit précédente, le 20, un mineur afghan de 15 ans a été attaqué, résultant en des blessures requérant des points de suture aux lèvres et à la tête. Pourtant, l’ampleur et la gravité de l’attaque de ces 6 hommes suggère qu’il s’agissait d’une opération bien coordonnée. La violence des rues de Calais, subie par ceux qui vivent à la jungle, qu’elle soit ou non sanctionnée par l’État, montre les profondeurs détestables des idéologies nationalistes en France aujourd’hui.

Court for the Calais port occupiers / Tribunal pour les occupants du port

la-chapelle-calais

Calais: freedom of movement – solidarity banner from La Chapelle, Paris.

On the 25th of January, 8 defendants were led out in front of the Tribunal de Grande Instance (TGI) in Boulogne-Sur-Mer for occupying the ‘Spirit of Britain’ ferry after Saturday’s protest in Calais port. 6 of the defendants were people without papers from the Jungle, charged with a breach of the transport code which involved entering a ferry without permission. The residents of the Jungle that appeared in court today were from conflict zones across the world, there were people from Afghanistan, Sudan, and Syria. There were also 2 supporters in court, these two francophones were charged with the same breach of the transport code and also face an extra charge of facilitating entry. The maximum sentence for these offenses is 6 months in prison or a €3,500 fine.

The accelerated nature of the hearing was a point of contention. After the defence barristers were informed that all 8 cases would be heard together, they requested that the tribunal be delayed. The judges decided to put the hearing back until February 22nd. After the delays placed upon this case the 2 francophone supporters were released on bail, while the 6 people without papers were held in dentention. They have since been returned to Longeunesse penitentary near Saint-Omer to stew for a month in prision before the next hearing. Calais Migrant Solidarity will be organising prisoner support for those detained in the coming month.

The political nature of this prosecution is obvious. After a demonstration involving over two thousand people and supported by an entire pletheroa of organisations (including: ATMF, CISPM, CNT-RP, Collectif Paris 20ème Solidaire avec touTEs les migrantEs, CSP 75, Droits Devant !!!, EELV Paris, Intégration 21, La Horde, LDH, NPA, Sans-Voix Paris 18ème, SNPES-PJJ-FSU IDF, SUD Culture, UJFP, Union Locale Solidaires des 5e-13e arrondissements de Paris et d’Ivry, UNSP, London2Calais, and Nord-Pas-de-Calais Antifascists) these 8 people face prosecution. Similar to the continual disrubitions over the summer and the imprisonment and political prosecution of the three Channel Tunnel walkers for ‘disrupting a railway carriage’, even after one of the defendants, Abdul Rahman Haroun, was granted asylum. The French state is reproducing the tactics of its British counterpart by criminalising the actions of those fighting the border. As those without papers, detained by the state for willing to fight for their freedom of movement, sit in their cells tonight, those outside the prisons walls should not forget our friends inside!

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Legend : Liberté de circulation- banderole de solidarité à La Chapelle, Paris.

Dans le 25 janvier, 8 inculpés passaient devant le Tribunal de Grande Instance (TGI) de Boulogne-sur-Mer pour occupation du ferry “Spirit Of Britain” après la manifestation de samedi au port de Calais. 6 des inculpés étaient des sans-papiers de la Jungle, accusés d’infraction au code du transport qu’implique l’entrée dans un ferry sans permission. Les résidents de la jungle qui sont apparus à la cour aujourd’hui viennent de zones de conflits d’à travers le monde. Ils viennent d’Afghanistan, du Soudan, et de Syrie. 2 soutiens étaient également inculpés. Ces deux francophones ont été inculpés pour la même infraction au code du transport avec en prime une inculpation de “faciliter l’entrée”. La peine maximum pour ces faits est de 6 mois de prison ou une amende de 3500 euros.

La nature accélérée de l’audience a été un point contentieux. Après que les avocats ont été informés que les 8 cas seraient entendus ensemble, ils ont demandé au tribunal que le procès soit reporté. Les juges ont décidé un report d’audience pour le 22 février. Une fois le report obtenu sur cette affaire, les 2 soutiens français ont été libéré sous contrôle judiciaire avec interdiction de se rendre dans la région et les 6 sans papiers ont été envoyé en détention. Ils sont depuis au centre pénitencier de Longuenesse près de Saint Omer, à mariner pendant un mois en prison avant la prochaine audition. CMS organisera un soutien aux prisonniers pour les détenus du mois prochain.

La nature politique de ce procès est évidente. Après une manifestation impliquant  plus de 2000 personnes et soutenue par une pléthore d’organisations ( incluant :  ATMF, CISPM, CNT-RP, Collectif Paris 20ème Solidaire avec touTEs les migrantEs, CSP 75, Droits Devant !!!, EELV Paris, Intégration 21, La Horde, LDH, NPA, Sans-Voix Paris 18ème, SNPES-PJJ-FSU IDF, SUD Culture, UJFP, Union Locale Solidaires des 5e-13e arrondissements de Paris et d’Ivry, UNSP, London2Calais, et Nord-Pas-de-Calais Antifasciste), ces 8 personnes font face à un procès. Similaire au raffut continu depuis cet été et l’emprisonnement et le procès politique des 3 marcheurs du tunnel, inculpés de “perturbation de la structure ferrée”, alors même que l’un des inculpés, Abdul Rahman Haroun, a obtenu le droit d’asile en Angleterre par la suite. L’État français reproduit les tactiques de son homologue britannique en criminalisant les actions de ceux et celles qui combattent la frontière. Alors que ces sans-papiers, détenus par l’état pour avoir voulu combattre pour leur liberté de circulation, assis dans leurs cellules ce soir, ceux hors des murs n’oublieront pas leurs amis à l’intérieur !

Run-down of container camp collaborators

container camp

As the state works to gradually demolish the Calais jungle, herd 1,500 people into a ‘container camp‘, and hope that the thousands of other inhabitants will just disappear, we share this info on some of the project collaborators. Most of the research comes from Cette Semaine, loosely translated by Rabble.

Here are some of the companies getting a slice of the 18m-euro cake.

Container suppliers:

Logistic Solutions

Address: Launay des Moulins, 35390 Grand-Fougeray (Ille-et-Vilaine), France.

This small to medium sized company is an old friend of the police and military, as it already worked with Sodexo Defense Services to supply containers to Mururoa (French-colonised Polynesia, and site of decades of French nuclear testing) in a 30m euro contract. Logistic Solutions also supplied the French Defence Ministry with containers for a NATO event in Poland in November 2013, and includes the Egyptian military amongst its customers. For more on its partners, see here.

Logistic Solutions has been supplying containers to Calais since 7th December 2015.

Fencing:

Groupe CW (Clôtures Michel Willoquaux)

Registered trademarks: Clonor and Clowill

Address: 7/21 Route Nationale / 59152, Tressin

The Willoquaux family: Michel (Chairman of the Board of Directors), Christophe (Managing Director), Stéphane (Deputy Managing Director), Andrée (Vice President)

Security (during construction):

ATMG

CEO: Bardadi Beddiaf

Address: Rue Roger Salengro / Route De Oignies Espace Tertiaire Bata / 62710 Courrières

This company often provides site security for Eiffage, Bouygues etc.

Biometric technology:

Biro Sécurité

CEO: Axel Guillaume Biro

Address: 251 Avenue Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, 62100 Calais

This company is supplying the biometric technology for the container camp and has been a provider of security services for the (la Vie Active-run) Jules Ferry Centre and jungle ‘buffer zone’ since March 2015 (30 security guards and dog handlers). Biro is apparently looking to hire six more guards for the new camp. Biro is doing particularly well out of the ‘migrant crisis’ in the region, as it is also providing ‘secure parking’ for lorries near the motorway, and further afield secures the Saint-Laurent rest stop at Steenvoorde, Belgium, which has also been the site of other migrant ‘jungles’.

Concrete:

SOGEA, a Vinci subsidiary

NGO collaborators:

ACTED (Aide à la Coopération Technique et au Développement).

This is a humanitarian NGO that was spotted helping escort a flatbed truck moving containers in and out the jungle.

Camp management:

La Vie Active charity

Address: 4, Rue Beffara, 62 000 Arras, northern France.

La Vie Active were selected over the Red Cross to run the camp in October 2015.

Managing Director: Guillaume Alexandre

Chairman of the Board of Directors: Alain Duconseil.

Company Director, Director of the Jules Ferry Centre, and container camp manager: Stéphane Duval

The charity is a ‘public services’ organisation and runs 70 sites across a range of sectors, primarily the elderly and disabled. The charity runs the Jules Ferry ‘day centre’ near the Jungle, which also serves as sleeping space for women, who are treated like prisoners. Calais Migrant Solidarity have documented also La Vie Active trying to persuade people to leave parts of the jungle scheduled for demolition.

That’s the Spirit! Migrants and refugees occupy port! // Occupation du Spirit Of Britain

FERRY

On the 23rd of January, a sizeable demonstration took place in Calais. The protest was called by many groups outside of Calais who wanted to show solidarity with the plight of the refugees living in the Jungle. The main organisations who called for and organised the demonstration were the CISPM (International Coalition of People Without Papers and Migrants) and the ATMF (Association of French Maghrebian Workers) but the call was supported by a vast array of different solidarity groups. Coaches to the demonstration came from all across France, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands and also a large contigent from the UK.

People gathered under the highway bridge at the entrance to the Jungle and began to march into the center of the town at 2pm. This body of support from outside Calais were little by little joined by a significant number of people who live in the jungle, people from Afghanistan, Sudan, Syria, Kurdistan and many other nations. There was a massive police presence, with at least one company of CRS in attendance. The police also deployed water cannons, plain clothes officers, and anti-riot grills bolted to the front of police vans.

grillvan

Along the march, there were some encounters with locals associated with fascists groups. One fascist goaded and provoked the crowd. When confronted by a large group outside his house, he produced a gun and brandished it at the people. After a flurry of projectiles were launched into this scumbag’s front garden, the crowd that had gathered in confrontation and self-defense returned to the main body of the protest.

The protest arrived in Place D’Armes at approximately 4pm. There were more than 2000 people present and speeches were made by members of many different refugee solidarity groups. At some point the statue of Charles De Gaulle was graffitied. One group of inhabitants of the jungle tried to motivate people in the crowd, making tentative efforts to approach the port. They finally suceeded in breaking the police line and moved quickly to the port. Loose estimates are that more than 1000 people participated in this action. This group broke through multiple security fences to approach the port zone, rapidly outmanouvering the hapless police. 500 people then succeeded in breaking into the bording area inside the port, whilst those who remained outside the fences surrounding the port were treated to a barrage of rubber bullets and tear gas grenades from the CRS. Having pushed the crowd away from the temporary hole made in the fence, the CRS prevented any more people from entering the port.

gasatport

Many in the group ran towards the ferry “The Spirit of Britain” and began to climb aboard. More than 50 people succeded in occupying the ferry. Port workers and Police Aux Frontières arrived but remained at a distance. A crew member from the ferry began to hose the occupiers with a fire hose, which they kept up until the end of the occupation.

A short while later, the groups of people remaining in front of the ferry began to walk in the port zone and were quickly attacked by the CRS. Once all those occupying the port had been forced out, the local police pushed the group all the way back to the jungle in all the city.

In the end, it took until around 8.30pm for the removal of the occupiers of the port. After the security service’s momentary loss of control, people inside the port were forced back to the Jungle. After yesterday’s events, Calais Migrant Solidarity is offering legal support and monitoring arrests, at present we know of 3 Italian nationals who are being detained and will be subject to a OQTF (Obligation de Quitter la Territoire Francais) and must now leave France. 4 people have been released after being detained for a ‘Garde a Vue’ with no charges. Around 100 people without papers were held over night in migrant detention centers. Maybe some are still there, although we think that most have been released. We also know that 8 people with and without papers will appear at the Tribunal de Grande Instance (TGI) in Boulogne-Sur-Mer tomorrow at 2pm. We will be there to observe the hearings and offer support to those facing criminal procedures.

In a familiar turn of events, the muck spreading media has gone into overdrive to denounce yesterday’s events as the work of the British anarchist group ‘No Borders’. This couldn’t be further from the truth but the truth has never really been the concern of the UK media machine. The truth doesn’t sell newspapers and the idea that ‘refugees’ could autonomusly and easily board a boat in the Calais habour is incomprehensible for the British press. There is only one outcome for a shit eating journalist who has to balance explaining militant direct action against the UK border with the need to continually portray refugees and people without papers as poor, receptacles of charity, devoid of political agency, and helpless, they choose to blame the ‘Europeans’. This rhetoric and discourse is deeply racist and is one Calais Migrant Solidarity has been fighting since 2009. To reiterate, this was an action autonomously organised by people living in the jungle, people without papers, and refugees, these people were supported by activists from countries across the world. To claim anything different is to deny the reality of the situation, that the people of the Jungle are willing to disrupt, occupy, and fight the institutions that keep them from their freedom!

Calais Migrant Solidarity call out for everybody to come monday at 1:30pm in front of the TGI of Boulogne to express our solidarity with all the people who are being criminalized by the border regime and to support the action of last saturday.

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Ce 23 janvier, une manifestation en solidarité avec les réfugiés vivant dans la Jungle a rassemblé un nombre considérable de personnes à Calais. L’appel provient de groupes extérieurs à Calais, principalement le CISPM (Coalition Internationale des Sans-Papiers et Migrants), l’ATMF(Association des Travailleurs Maghrébins Français) et un grand nombre d’autres organisations solidaires. Les participants sont ainsi venus de toute la France mais aussi d’Allemagne, de Belgique, des Pays-Bas et du Royaume-Uni.

Le rassemblement débute à 14h à l’entrée de la Jungle et se dirige vers le centre-ville. Les personnes venues en solidarité sont rejoints par des habitants de la Jungle tout au long de la manifestation, afghans, soudanais, kurdes, syriens, et bien d’autres nationalités. Le dispositif policier ést massif, avec au moins une compagnie de CRS en faction, munis de murs anti-émeutes, d’un canon à eau et d’uniformes anti-émeutes.

La marche se heurte à quelques calaisiens associés à des groupes fascistes. L’un d’entre eux, après avoir provoqué les manifestants, se retrouvant en face d’une foule en face de sa maison, sort un fusil et le pointe contre cette même foule. Après qu’une flopée de projectiles fut lancée vers le jardin de ce bouffon, la manifestation se rassemble et a continue son chemin, laissant quelques tags sur son chemin.
La manifestation, rassemblant plus de 2000 personnes, arrive vers 4h à place d’Armes où a lieu une prise de paroles de différents participants et où la statue de Charles de Gaulle est repeinte. Un groupe d’habitants de la jungle tente alors de dynamiser la foule et impulse un mouvement vers le port. Le groupe ainsi formé réussit à briser la ligne de CRS et avance rapidement vers le port. Un peu plus de 1000 personnes se rapproche de la zone portuaire en passant au travers des grilles de sécurité passant à côté des flics complètement dépassés. Près de 500 personnes parviennent ensuite à pénétrer la zone d’embarquement du port, pendant que les autres sont très vite repoussés par les flashballs et grenades lacrymogènes tirées en direction du trou fait dans le mur grillagé.

Ce même groupe court ainsi vers le ferry “The Spirit of Britain” et commence à grimper sur le bateau. Les employés du port et la Police Aux Frontières arrive rapdiement mais reste à distance. Pendant que plus de 50 personnes commencent à occuper le bateau, un employé sur le bateau commence à arroser les gens avec une lance à eau, ce qu’il continuera jusqu’à la fin de l’occupation.

Peu après, les groupes restés devant le bateau commencent à marcher dans le port et sont rapidement chargés par les CRS qui arrivent en nombre. Une fois que ceux-là aient été chassés du port, la police locale continue de leur courir après, à coups de matraques et de gaz lacrymos dans toute la ville jusqu’à la Jungle.

Enfin, il aura fallu jusqu’à 20h30 pour que les CRS évacuent le bateau, arrêtent certains et forcent les autres à aller à la Jungle. Pour le moment, 3 italiens sont détenus au CRA de Lille sous OQTF (Obligation de Quitter le Territoire Français), 4 personnes sont sortis sans charge de 24h de Garde à Vue et près de 100 personnes sans-papiers auraient passés la nuit au CRA de Coquelles et ont été peu à peu relâchées. 8 autres personnes avec et sans papiers qui étaient en garde à vue vont passer en comparution immédiate lundi au Tribunal de Grande Instance de Boulogne-sur-mer à 14h.

Comme d’habitude, les autorités et les médias anglais et français tentent de saper la légitimité de ces actions en les attribuant au “groupe anarchiste No Border”. C’est effectivement plus facile de vendre en entretenant l’image raciste des pauvres réfugiés, incapables de s’organiser et de revendiquer quelquechose et d’attribuer tout ce qui s’organise aux Européens. Et bien non, la réalité est toute autre, des milliers de personnes sont bloquées à une frontière, plus violente que jamais, et sont forcés de s’organiser contre elle et oui, Calais Migrant Solidarity soutiendra toujours ceux qui expriment leur volonté de se battre pour leur liberté et contre le traitement que l’Europe leur fait subir. Le traitement médiatique profondément raciste des actions que les personnes sans papiers mènent fait bien partie de ce que nous comptons combattre.

Ainsi, en solidarité avec toutes les personnes criminalisées par le régime des frontières et en soutien avec l’action qui s’est déroulée ce samedi, soyez nombreux devant le TGI de Boulogne-sur-mer demain à 13h30 !

 

 

The border is never closed! // La frontière n’est jamais fermée !

Screenshot from 2016-01-21 14:59:51

From 9pm on Wednesday evening the residents of the Calais Jungle made a sophisticated and powerful ‘dougar’, or traffic jam, on the highway leading to the port. Initially, a sizeable fire was set on the motorway bridge that runs over Rue des Garennes, leading to a long tailback of mostly trucks and coaches. The security forces rapidly deployed along the hard shoulder to try and deter the people from entering into vehicles. However, the people, who have faced the constant and systemic threat of police violence, were not be deterred.

The highway was accessed by people from the bridge over Rue des Garennes, all along the newly cleared but inaptly named ‘buffer zone’ and through what remains of the wooded area towards the back of the Jungle. Local media reports claim that there were between 200 and 300 people making the dougar but this is an underestimation.

The police, with their vans end to end on the highway, fired considerable quantities of CS gas at people trying to access the trucks, as well as into the Jungle itself. Some of the gas landed in the Kurdish area, affecting people who were queuing in line for sleeping bag and blanket distributions. It seems as if the change in terrain has worked in the favour of those trying to cross the border, the police were unsure where to shoot their cannisters, firing in many different directions with no discernible plan. In a familiar turn of events, gas cannisters were fired directly at people rather than being fired into the air, stun grenades and rubber bullets were discharged, and one of the CRS water cannons was also sighted driving on Route des Gravelines, evidently unable to be effectively employed.

Just as police were restoring traffic circulation, another group of people accessed the highway from the sports fields south of the Jungle, stopping traffic for a second time. Multiple trucks could be heard sounding their horns followed by a furious barrage of CS gas poured onto the edge of the highway. In some places these incendiaries had the effect of setting the vegetation on fire, despite the frost that had settled.

At 11pm, traffic flow was restored and the police ceased firing CS gas. By this time they had once again indiscriminately attacked a large proportion of the Jungle, affecting thousands of people unconnected with any attempt to access trucks heading towards the UK. There have also been unconfirmed reports of plain clothes police attacking and beating people, injuring 5 to 6 people. One person was said to be so severely injured that he was transferred to the hospital in Lille. There were also a score of smaller injuries that were treated on site by Calais Migrant Solidarity activists and independent volunteers. Throughout the night, Calais Migrant Solidarity activists were in place to monitor the police violence and to treat those affected by tear gas.

Thursday morning at midday, there was a considerable amount of traffic trying to reach the Eurotunnel. Trucks were backed up along the highway and hundreds of people from the Jungle had made the journey across Calais to get an opportunity to try for England. Those trying to cross the border congregated in the parks and grassland surrounding the roads leading to the tunnel. The security services had also mobilised a small army of officers to secure the highway. Police used tear gas and concussion grenades, driving people away from the trucks and back into the city.

In the last 12 months Calais has seen the eviction of Jungles next to the highways leading to the port and the Eurotunnel and weeks of traffic distribution creating thousands of opportunities for people trying to cross to the UK. Since then the border has been fortified to the tune of £21 million, the Prefecture of Calais even claims that the border is now ‘waterproof’. These events prove that the state has as little control over the border and the people trying to cross as it did 12 months ago. Even with two of the most well resourced and developed nations in the world attempting to control freedom of movement, the scores of people that managed to cross to the UK last night show that all their efforts are futile! Nothing will stop people crossing this border!

Mercredi soir à partir de 21h, les résidents de la jungle de Calais ont créé un “dougar” ou embouteillage puissant et sophistiqué sur l’autoroute menant au port. Au départ, ils ont allumé un feu considérable sur le pont autoroutier qui est le long de la rue des Garennes, ce qui a mené à un long bouchon de camions et de cars. Les forces de sécurité ont rapidement été déployées sur l’accotement pour essayer de dissuader les gens d’entrer dans les véhicules. Cependant les gens, ayant fait face à la menace constante et systématique de la violence policière, ne se sont pas découragés.

L’autoroute a été atteinte par des gens par le pont au dessus de la rue des Garennes, tout le long de la « zone tampon » nouvellement nettoyée et par ce qu’il reste de la zone boisée vers l’arrière de la jungle. Les reportages des médias locaux disent qu’entre 200 et 300 personnes ont créé l’embouteillage, mais c’est une sous-estimation.

Les policiers, avec leurs cars de chaque côté de l’autoroute, ont tiré une quantité considérable de gaz lacrymogène sur les gens qui essayaient de monter dans les camions, en même temps que dans la Jungle elle-même. Une partie du gaz est arrivée dans la zone Kurde, atteignant des gens qui faisaient la queue pour une distribution de sacs de couchage et de couvertures. Il semble que le changement de terrain ait joué en faveur de ceux qui essayent de passer la frontière : la police ne savait pas où lancer les grenades, tirant dans différentes directions sans plan apparent. Les événements ont pris une tournure familière : les grenades de gaz étaient tirées directement sur les gens au lieu d’être tirées en l’air, des grenades assourdissantes et des balles en caoutchouc ont été utilisées, et l’un des canons à eau des CRS a aussi été vu sur la route de Gravelines, évidemment inefficace.

Au moment où la police a rétabli la circulation du trafic, un autre groupe de personnes a accédé à l’autoroute par les terrains sportifs au sud de la Jungle, arrêtant le trafic pour la deuxième fois. De nombreux klaxons de camions ont pu être entendus, suivis d’un énorme barrage de gaz lacrymogène sur le bord de l’autoroute. A certains endroits, ces armes incendiaires ont mis feu à la végétation malgré le gel qui s’installait.

A 23h, le trafic a été rétabli et la police a cessé d’utiliser le gaz lacrymogène. Durant tout ce temps, elle a encore une fois attaqué une grande partie de la Jungle, atteignant des milliers de gens qui n’avaient aucune intention d’accéder aux camions qui mènent en Angleterre. Il y a aussi eu des rapports non confirmés racontant que des policiers en uniforme ont attaqué et battu des gens, blessant 5 ou 6 personnes. Il paraît qu’une personne a été blessée si sévèrement qu’elle a du être transférée à l’hôpital de Lille. De plus petites blessures ont aussi été soignées sur place par des activistes de Calais Migrant Solidarity et des volontaires indépendants. Toute la nuit, les activistes de Calais Migrant Solidarity étaient sur place pour filmer la violence policière et pour soigner les personnes atteintes par le gaz lacrymogène.

Jeudi à midi, une quantité considérable de véhicules essayaient d’atteindre l’Eurotunnel. Les camions étaient bloqués sur l’autoroute et des centaines de personnes de la Jungle ont fait le trajet jusqu’à Calais pour avoir l’opportunité d’essayer de se rendre en Angleterre. Ceux qui essayaient de traverser la frontière ont été rassemblés dans des parcs et des prairies entourant les routes menant au tunnel. Les services de sécurité ont aussi mobilisé une petite armée d’officiers pour sécuriser l’autoroute. La police a utilisé du gaz lacrymogène et des grenades assourdissantes, pour éloigner les gens des camions et les renvoyer dans la ville.

Au cours des 12 derniers mois, Calais a assisté à l’expulsion d’une partie de la Jungle à côté de l’autoroute menant au port et à l’Eurotunnel et à des semaines de trafic créant des milliers d’opportunités pour les gens d’essayer de traverser la frontière pour aller en Angleterre. Depuis que la frontière a été fortifiée au prix de 21 millions de livres, la préfecture de Calais a quand même annoncé qu’elle n’était pas « waterproof ». Ces événements prouvent que l’état a peu de contrôle sur la frontière et sur les gens qui essayent de la traverser, tout comme ils le faisaient il y a 12 mois. Même avec deux des nations les plus riches et développées du monde essayant de contrôler la liberté de mouvement, le nombre de gens qui ont réussi à traverser la frontière vers l’Angleterre la nuit dernière montre que tous ces efforts sont inutiles ! Rien n’empêchera les gens de traverser cette frontière !