Category: News

STOP THE WALLS // open the border

 

ENGLISH BELOW

Du Mur d’apartheid israélien sur les terres palestiniennes au Mur de la honte étasunien sur les terres indigènes à la frontière du Mexique en passant par le Mur marocain qui traverse le Sahara occidental du Nord au Sud et les nombreux murs anti-migrants dans le monde, ce sont près de 70 murs qui déchirent la vie des gens et les terres, qui renforcent les frontières. Fortement militarisés, ils sont responsables de milliers de morts chaque année, ils sont la cause d’expulsions, d’exclusions, d’oppressions et de discriminations. De nombreux autres projets de murs sont en cours d’élaboration ou de construction.

En 2017, des mouvements palestiniens et mexicains ont appelé à faire du 9 novembre la Journée internationale pour un monde sans murs.

(…) Cette année, le 9 novembre marque les 30 ans de la chute du mur de Berlin.
(…)Ces murs sont des blessures infligées au monde. Ils empêchent la liberté de mouvement et l’autodétermination des peuples. Ils sont devenus le symbole d’un monde où les guerres, la militarisation et l’exclusion remplacent la justice, la liberté et l’égalité.
Construits pour renforcer les frontières,  ces murs, visibles et invisibles contribuent aussi à la domination des puissants dans nos sociétés.

De nombreux gouvernements participent à la construction de ces murs, font leur promotion ou acceptent de facto leur existence. Ils favorisent ainsi une véritable industrie des murs qui tire d’énormes profits de leur construction et de leurs équipements : surveillance, systèmes de détection, radars.
pris de : Paris Demosphere

Ici pour en lire plus sur la militarisation de Calais, avec ses km de murs, grillages et barbelés.

Ci-dessus quelques images de ce que l’on a pu voir ce matin en ville et sous les ponts, eux aussi grillagés pour empêcher les gens de s’y abriter.

A bas les murs! Pas de murs, des ponts! Ouvrez les frontières!

 

EN

“From the Israeli Apartheid Wall on Palestinian land to the American Wall of Shame on indigenous lands on Mexico’s border. Through the Moroccan Wall that crosses Western Sahara from north to south and the many anti-migrant walls in the the world.
There are about 70 walls that are tearing people’s lives apart and strengthen borders.
They are heavily militarized, they are responsible for thousands of deaths every year, they are in direct connection with deportations, exclusions, oppression and discrimination.
Many other wall projects are under development or work in progress.

In 2017, Palestinian and Mexican movements called for November 9th to be the International Day for a World without Walls.

(…) This year, November 9 marks the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
(…) These walls are wounds inflicted on the world. They prevent freedom of movement and self-determination of peoples. They have become the symbol of a world where wars, militarization and exclusion replace justice, freedom and equality.
Built to reinforce the borders, these walls, visible and invisible, also contribute to the domination of the powerful in our societies.
Many governments participate in the construction of these walls, promote them or accept their existence de facto. They promote a real wall industry that derives huge profits from their construction and equipment: surveillance, detection systems, radar. “
taken from French website : Paris Demosphere

Here to read more about the militarization of Calais, with its miles of walls, fences and barbed wire.

Here, some images of what we could see this morning in the city and under bridges, also fenced out to prevent people from finding shelter there.

Down with the walls! Bridges, not walls! Open the borders!

Death at the border // Mort à la frontière

(English below)

Un homme nigérien de 24 ans a été retrouvé mort ce matin rue des Huttes à Calais.

Le jeune homme serait décédé accidentellement, vivant dans les conditions de vie dangereuses et insalubres des éxilé-e-s à Calais causées par les politiques municipales racistes dans le but de renforcer la frontière.

Un rassemblement aura lieu comme d’habitude demain à 18h30 devant le parc Richelieu pour rendre hommage au jeune homme et dénoncer les frontières meurtrières.

 

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A 24 year old man from Nigeria was found dead this morning on rue des Huttes in Calais (see in french here).

Though said to have died accidentally, he was a victim of of the unhealthy and dangerous conditions migrants are made to live in by the municipality to defend the UK’s border.

A vigil will be held as usual tomorrow at 6.30pm next to Parc Richelieu in Calais, for an homage to the young man and to denounce once again the murderous borders.

 

Another person missing in the Channel // Une autre personne disparue dans la Manche

(en français plus bas)

UPDATE: The deceased body of an Iraqi man in his 40s was found wearing improvised flippers and flotation device at a wind farm off the coast of Zeebrugge (1,2). It is believed he is the same man for which this rescue attempt last week was launched.

A “swimmer” that a French judiciary source stated was “probably a migrant” is declared missing at sea in the Channel following the end of a four hour search on Sunday, August 18th. A Belgian sailor claims to have spotted the man in the water twelve miles N/NW of Dunkirk wearing an improvised lifebelt made out of empty plastic bottles, and improvised flippers. He claims to have made several unsuccessful rescue attempts before deciding to sail in to the port of Dunkirk to notify authorities. It is not clear why he did not immediately call or radio for help.

According to the French Coast Guard, by the time the rescue operation began it was 20:20, more than five hours since the swimmer had been spotted by the sailor. French and Belgian assets were deployed but the search was called off at 00:30. The man has probably lost his life in this desperate attempt to reach the UK mainland.

Despite a number of French news articles (1, 2) the event has not been widely reported in English news.

This tragic event happened not even two weeks after the disappearance of a young Iranian woman, who was crossing the Channel in a dinghy. Two other people who fell in to the water with her were rescued. Before that, on July 16th, a man was rescued by the French three miles off the coast of Calais with a flotation device and wearing flippers trying to swim to the UK.

If confirmed, these two people will be the first to lose their lives attempting to reach England since last Winter when increased security at Calais’ ferry and train terminals pushed people into the water to make their journeys. Unfortunately, they were not the first ever. In 2015, the bodies of Mouaz al-Balkhi and Shadi Omar Kataf’ from Syria were found on a beach in Norway and the Netherlands after their attempts to swim across the Channel.

Especially pig-headed Dover MP Charlie Elphicke has cynically instrumentalised the woman’s disappearance from the 10th to try and justify increased border militarisation and security infrastructure spending. But with the narrowest portion of the Dover Straits heavily surveilled and the Gendarmes patrolling the beaches people will just be forced to attempt longer and more dangerous crossings with and without boats. We are today reminded of the horrible consequences these border policies have.

France and the UK continue to refuse responsibility for their murderous border politics. Although they rely on the sea to do their dirty work, it is the states and politicians who are accountable for these deaths, missing people, and all the others.

Borders kill. Open the borders!

“We didn’t come here to die”

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MAJ 26.08.19: Le corps d’un homme irakien d’une quarantaine d’année, portant des palmes et une bouée de fortune, a été retrouvé dans un parc éolien au large de Zeebrugge, Belgique (en anglais ici et ). Il s’agit vraisemblablement de l’homme qui n’a pu être sauvé la semaine dernière.

Un « nageur », « probablement » un migrant selon une source judiciaire française, a été déclaré disparu en mer de la Manche ce dimanche 18 août après quatre heures de recherches. Un marin belge a repéré l’homme en détresse à une vingtaine de kilomètres nord/nord ouest au large de Dunkerque, équipé d’une bouée faite de bouteilles en pastique vides ainsi que de palmes de fortune. Il déclare avoir tenté plusieurs fois de lui porter secours, sans succès, avant de faire route jusqu’au port de Dunkerque, où il a donné l’alerte aux autorités. Les raisons pour lesquelles il n’a pas immédiatement appelé ou utilisé sa radio pour avertir les secours n’ont pas, à notre connaissance, été éclaircies.

Selon la préfecture maritime, l’opération de sauvetage a été mise en place à partir de 20h20, dès le lancement de l’alerte par le marin, soit plus de cinq heures après qu’il ait repéré le nageur. Les équipements français et belges sont déployés, mais les opérations de recherche sont arrêtées à 00h30. L’homme a probablement perdu la vie dans sa tentative désespérée d’atteindre le Royaume Uni.

Malgré un certain nombre d’articles parus dans les médias français (ici ou par exemple), l’événement n’a pas encore été rapporté par les journaux anglais.

Cet événement tragique survient à peine deux semaines après la disparition d’une jeune femme iranienne qui a tenté la traversée de la Manche sur une embarcation de fortune. Deux autres personnes tombées à l’eau avec elle ont pu être secourues. Auparavant, le 16 juillet, un homme a été récupéré par les garde-côtes français à cinq kilomètres au large de Calais, équipé d’une bouée et de palmes, voulant gagner l’Angleterre à la nage.

Si leurs décès viennent à être confirmés, ces deux personnes seront les deux premières connues à perdre la vie dans l’eau en tentant de rejoindre l’Angleterre depuis l’hiver dernier, quand la sécurisation toujours plus accrue des terminaux ferry et ferroviaires ont poussé de plus en plus de gens à envisager la traversée par la mer. Malheureusement, iels n’étaient pas les premier·e·s. En 2015, les corps de Mouaz al-Balkhi et de Shadi Omar Kataf’, Syriens, ont été retrouvés sur les côtes norvégiennes et hollandaises, longtemps après leur tentative désespérée de franchir la mer à la nage (en anglais ici).

Charlie Elphicke, député de Douvres particulièrement obtus, a cyniquement instrumentalisé la disparition de la jeune femme, dès le 10 août, pour légitimer la militarisation croissante de la frontière et les dépenses conséquentes en équipements de sécurité. Mais intensifier toujours plus la surveillance et les patrouilles de gendarmes sur la section la plus étroite de la Manche ne fera qu’obliger les personnes à tenter des traversées plus longues et plus dangereuses, avec ou sans bateau. Aujourd’hui est un rappel des conséquences tragiques qu’ont ces politiques frontalières.

La France et le Royaume Uni refusent toujours d’assumer leurs responsabilités dans ces politiques frontalières meurtrières. Bien qu’ils comptent sur la mer pour faire le sale boulot, ce sont bien les États et les politiciens qui sont responsables de ces morts et ces disparitions en mer, mais aussi de toutes les autres.

Les frontières tuent. Ouvrons les !

Disparue à la frontière // Missing at the border

(english below)

Vendredi 9 août, un groupe de personnes à bord d’une embarcation de fortune en difficulté, au large de Ramsgate (Angleterre) est secouru par un bateau anglais de la RNLI. 2 personnes sont retrouvées dans l’eau, mais une autre est disparue. Elle ne sera pas retrouvée, malgré les recherches, qui ont finalement été abandonnées dans la journée de samedi.

M., jeune femme iranienne, a disparu à quarante kilomètres de son but, où elle souhaitait retrouver des proches.

Les politiques frontalières toujours plus violentes l’ont poussée, comme beaucoup d’autres, à emprunter une voie meurtrière pour atteindre un but si proche, et d’accès si simple pour celles et ceux né·e·s avec le bon passeport.

Les médias français (par exemple ici, et encore ), qui ont pourtant largement relaté cette journée du 9 août, ne font aucune mention de cette femme disparue (au contraire des médias anglais : voir ici, ou encore ).

La frontière tue, silencieusement.

 

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On Friday, 9th August, a bunch of people in a dinghy were rescued by a RNLI boat, off Ramsgate’s coast. 2 persons were overboard but were quickly found, but another one is still missing. A search was carried on until saturday 2pm, in vain.

M. a young woman from Iran, disappeared twenty miles away from her goal, where her kin were waiting for her.

The border policies, more and more violent, drove her, like many others, to take a deadly way to reach her goal, so close, and so safe to get to, for those born with the good passport.

French newspapers (for example, see here, here or here), who, quite largely related these events of the 9th august, did not mention anywhere the missing woman, unlike their English colleagues (see here, here, and there again).

This border kills, silently.

Risques de déportations vers le Soudan! // Risks of deportations to Sudan!

L’image contient peut-être : une personne ou plus, personnes debout, ciel et plein air

(photo du Collectif Asuad)

Mise à jour du 4 août : Rami, enfermé au centre de rétention de Rennes, a été déporté hier vers le Soudan.

Update, 4th august : Rami, held in Rennes retention centre, was deported back to Sudan yesterday.

(english below)

Malgré la situation critique au Soudan, où plus d’une centaine de manifestants ont été massacrés il y a à peine deux mois, où des exactions sont commises quotidiennement, tels les 5 étudiants  été tués il y a 5 jours à Al-Obeid, ou encore à Omdurman où 4 personnes ont été froidement abattues, la France continue de déporter vers le Soudan!

Actuellement, 2 hommes soudanais sont détenus à Coquelles et risquent une déportation vers le Soudan. Alaib et Hassan craignent pour leur vie en cas de retour dans leur pays. Ils demandent du soutien et souhaitent faire connaître leur situation.

Rami, un autre homme soudanais, enfermé au CRA de Rennes, a déjà dû refuser un premier vol dès son 18e jour de rétention (!). Des soutiens ont lancé une pétition pour le soutenir.

N’hésitez pas à interpeller le ministre de l’intérieur et les préfets responsables de ces décisions d’expulser! Le préfet du Pas de Calais est responsable de la situation d’Alaib et Hassan, Rami est lui sous le coup d’une décision de la préfète d’Indre-et-Loire. Vous pouvez trouver ici une lettre type à leur envoyer.

NON AUX DÉPORTATIONS!

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In spite of the terrible situation in Sudan, where more than a hundred people were killed during a protest not more than 2 months ago, where acts of violences are commited on a daily basis, like those 5 students killed while protesting in Al-Obeid, or the 4 persons shot in Omdurman, France continues to deport to Sudan!

At the moment, 2 men from Sudan are held in Coquelles detention center, and risk deportation to Sudan. Alaib and Hassan are afraid for their lives in their country. They want support and want their situation to be known.

Rami, an other sudanese man, held in Rennes detention center, had already had to refuse a flight to Sudan, after only 18 days of detention! His friends lauched a petition online to support him.

Please call on the Minister of the Interior and the prefects responsible of these deportation orders! The Pas-de-Calais prefect is responsible of Alaib and Hassan’s situations. Rami is held by the perfect of Indre-et-Loire. You can find here an exemple of message you can send to french authorities.

SAY NO TO DEPORTATIONS!

UPDATE Morts à la frontière // Deaths at the border

La page Cette frontière tue vient d’être mise à jour, suite à trois décès connus survenus à la frontière franco-anglaise le mois dernier, et passés relativement inaperçus dans les médias.

Fin juin, un homme irakien est percuté par un véhicule sur l’autoroute, vers Grande-Synthe. Il décédera début juillet, après avoir passé plusieurs jours dans le coma.

Le 6 juillet, Mr Kouadio, 21ans, un jeune homme de Côte d’Ivoire se noie au large de Grande-Synthe.

Le 8 juillet, Geri, un jeune homme érythréen est mort en chutant d’un camion sur la A29, en Belgique.

 

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The Deaths at the border list was updated, as at least 3 persons lost their lives at the border last month.

At the end of June, a man from Irak was hit by a vehicule on the highway, around Grande-Synthe. He died in july, after some days in coma.

On July, 6th, Mr Kouadio, 21yo, a young man from Ivory Coast drowned off the coast of Grande Synthe.

On July, 8th, Geri, a young eritrean man died falling from a lorry on the A29 in Belgium.

Border profiteers update June 2019 – Corporate Watch

(See this article on corporatewatch.org)

(En Français ici)

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Calais’ mayor has being trying to rebrand the town as a “city of flowers”. But as locals told Corporate Watch last month, “city of barbed wire” would be more apt. From the port to the tunnel at Coquelles, the town’s periphery is now a nightmarish landscape of razorwire fences, cameras and motion detectors, earthworks, trenches and flooded fields, all designed to stop the “wretched of the earth” taking the cross-channel journey that European citizens take for granted.

All this means money for the construction and security companies who supply the border infrastructure. Back in 2016 the Calais Research Project started to list and profile firms involved in the border business. Here is a quick update on some new landmarks added since then. 

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2 views of the new CCIC police control building

 

France-Britain joint police control centre at Coquelles

There are two main border-crossings in Calais: the port, next to the old town itself; and the channel tunnel, a few kilometres out of town at Coquelles. Next to the tunnel entrance is a giant shopping centre called Cite Europe, popular with locals as well as British travellers stocking up on booze.

Right next to that is a complex housing the French police’s official anti-migrant infrastructure: the main base for the PAF border police and CRS riot police; a court where migrants’ cases are heard; and the migrant detention centre – “Centre de Retention” in French.

In November 2018 a new building was added to this. In French, it’s called the CCIC – standing for “Centre conjoint d’information et de coordination franco-britannique”, or joint French-British information and coordination centre.

According to an Agence France Presse report, the centre is funded by the British government, “notably equipped with drones”, and acts as a joint command post for French and British police forces. These include the French PAF, Customs (Douanes) and Gendarmes, and on the British side the UK Border Force, Kent police, as well as the National Crime Agency (NCA).

On the day we visited we didn’t see any drones flying off the roof. The parking lot was full of unmarked cars rather than marked police vehicles, including several with British number plates. There was still a plaque up outside the centre (see photo) naming the contractors involved in building and equipping it. It gave the cost for the work as Eu 1.844 million.

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The companies named include: Villesange Masson (local architects); Groupe Qualiconsult (building project consultants); Verdi; Cougnaud construction (specialise in modular building construction); Ramery Batiment; Eiffage energie (massive French engineering corporation); Satelec (electricians); Resipelec (electricians); Pylones du Littoral; Majencia (office furniture); Covage DGL Networks (data cabling); Econocom.

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views of Coquelles detention complex

Detention centre extension

Directly across the road from the CCIC is Coquelles detention centre. Currently this has space to lock up 79 men, but the French state wants to expand that. At the end of March 2019 it announced plans for a 480 square metre extension. The architects overseeing the work are from a local firm called COAST, working with BD engineering.

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Customs posts with moats

Just outside Coquelles, we saw major new works on both sides of the main highway leading to the tunnel. These are big bunkers, each with a number of bays for lorry searches. In fact these are not primarily anti-migrant measures, but the new lorry park and custom posts being built hurriedly by Eurotunnel in case of new goods checks post-Brexit.

However, they are also adding to the extreme security measures reshaping the environment around Calais. The bunkers are protected with moats as well as new fencing – canals and artificial lakes dug and filled with water, as another measure against unwanted humans. This follows the pattern of deforesting and flooding that Eurotunnel started in 2016.

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new customs post

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excavation for moat

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previous Eurotunnel flooding works

Privatised border checks at Polley lorry park

One little industry that’s sprung up out of the “refugee crisis” is Secure Lorry Parking. The UK government fines truck haulage firms if people are found travelling in their vehicles without the right documents. This effectively means outsourcing border checks to truckers, who are anxious not to be caught with stowaways. In turn, the truck firms will pay out for secure places to park up before they make the crossing.

In Dunkerque, DK Secure Truck Park has 250 spaces surrounded with fences and monitored by “40 high-definition CCTV cameras”. In Calais, the biggest player is Polley Secured Lorry Park, run by local businessman Francois Polley. Its 10 hectare site boasts 24/7 guarding and 2.4 metre fences.

Recently we heard of a new development in this business. Passenger coaches operated by Flixbus are also using Polley’s security services. Coaches on the way to the UK pull into Polley park before they head for the tunnel. Here they are given an initial search by one of the company’s private security guards, checking for stowaways in the baggage area. This is in addition to two further checks by French and then UK authorities once they get to the tunnel.

Flixbus and Polley give little public information on this extra control. There are vague references to it on Flixbus’ website, where it is described as a “pre-UK check”.

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Police Hotel

The final stop on our border infrastructure tour was right in the heart of Calais town itself. We had heard that the old practice of constantly stopping and harassing people who look like migrants in the town centre has largely been phased out. So we were wondering why we kept seeing CRS riot vans buzzing around the main streets between the town hall and the theatre.

Then we realised their main activity was dropping off and picking up burly white men in casual attire outside the Brit Hotel. Locals explained that this hotel building had been empty for many years, before being reopened under its new name in 2016. Its initial clientele seem to be almost entirely riot police and gendarmerie – although if you fancy being bunked next to a hunky CRS musclehead, you too can book a room for around Eu 50 a night. Brit Hotels is a France-wide hotel franchise chain.

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