Category: News

Calaisresearch: Mapping The Deals That Make The Deadly Border

cropped-calais-UK-border-fence-6-1160x700One year after the Jungle eviction, the hunt against migrants is as vicious as ever. People keep arriving in Calais, hoping to cross the channel to the UK. They are now met with a zero tolerance policy: shelters destroyed, demonstrations broken up, people rounded up in the streets, as deportations are scheduled to vicious states like Sudan, and the death count continues to mount. These days even charity food distributions are being targeted by police and dispersed with tear gas.

The calaisresearch website is a collaborative project to gather and analyse information about the Calais border. Formed by members of Calais Migrant Solidarity, Corporate Watch, and Passeurs d’Hospitalités, its first publication in 2016 was a list of 40 companies profiting from the jungle eviction and other border violence. The site’s aim is to help those fighting for freedom of movement in Calais develop effective strategies.

To do that we need to understand what we’re up against: the decision-makers and deals that create the Calais ‘Border Regime’. Most obviously, the orders come from the UK and French governments. But there also other important players, including the business interests which govern cross-border trade. The latest section of the calaisresearch site maps these key decision-makers, with another new page cataloging the security funding deals announced since 2009.

First, the two states: the French and UK governments and their security forces. The securitised border is a direct result of the “juxtaposed controls” agreement, first signed as the Channel Tunnel was being built in 1991. This offshores the UK border to French soil in order to stop refugees claiming asylum in Britain. To keep the deal going, the UK has given millions in funding to France, as well as directly to private contractors, to create a militarised death-zone in Calais.

Second, local power players: Right-wing Mayor Natacha Bouchart has staked her political ambition on a personal campaign to clean Calais of migrants, flirting with far-right vigilantes in the process. And now she has support from the right-wing takeover of the Regional Council, a major local landowner.

Third, corporate interests: Eurotunnel and the Port of Calais are allies in lobbying for extreme security measures – but also fierce competitors for cross-channel trade. The Port is now run by a semi-private company embarking on a major expansion programme, whose majority shareholders are the local Chambers of Commerce. The freight industry, with its trade associations, also has a stake in shaping the key problem facing the Calais border regime: how to stop human beings moving freely, but without slowing the profitable trade in commodities.

For over 20 years now, Calais has been a focal point for migration struggles in northern Europe. It will be so for as long as wars, dictatorships, and environmental destruction drive people to risk their lives at the border. Movement will not stop, and neither will resistance.

So the calaisresearch website will be a continual work in progress. It hopes to make a small contribution to the fight today and tomorrow, helping us share our knowledge and inform our strategies. It will keep on being updated with new information and analysis as the struggle develops.


Affrontements pour la paix à Calais// Fighting for Peace in Calais

Screenshot from 2017-10-03 19-19-05Le 23 Septembre 2017 à Calais, différents groupes étaient réunis pour manifester contre les divers conflits armés et violences policières qui émaillent le monde ainsi que contre la situation anxiogène des exilé.e.s dans la ville de Calais.

Comme dans plusieurs villes en France, des rassemblements pour la paix ont eu lieu à l’appel du « Mouvement de la paix ».

Quand les participants au rassemblement « place d’armes », renommée pour l’occasion « place de la paix », ont voulu déambuler sur les trottoirs, la violence policière s’est immédiatement mise en place : une cinquantaine de personnes dont bon nombre des ont été nassées, bousculées et frappées. En quelques instants, les participant.e.s se retrouvent enfermé.e.s et poussé.e.s par les CRS les privant de liberté de circulation. La dispersion est demandée par la police alors que la garde républicaine continue de se resserrer, empêchant tout mouvement des civils, et reste impassible devant des appels à la tolérance de femmes portant des enfants en pleurs.

Voici un bilan encore provisoire :
6 interpellations, des dizaines de blessé(e)s, des enfants traumatisés, des personnes âgées bousculées et choquées, des passants abasourdis et des autorités qui basculent dans la folie pure.
Dispositif policier démesuré/ harcèlement/ identification des forces de l’ordre impossible (absence de matricule, dissimulation des visages) les services de la BAC qui se défoulent sur les personnes encerclées et l’adjoint au maire (M.Mignonnet) qui semble diriger les opérations et qui s’est lui-même chargé d’arracher des pancartes « Place de la paix ». La municipalité s’était opposée officiellement au rassemblement pour la Paix pourtant autorisée par le sous-préfet.

Dans un pays où ce sont les vendeurs d’armes et les pilleurs de ressources qui font la loi, l’état de droit s’est terminé le samedi 23 Septembre 2017 à Calais. Si on veut parler de cette journée, c’est avant tout pour ce qu’elle symbolise et bien au-delà de Calais.

On assiste à une mise en place massive, disproportionnée systématique et abusive de la force par les services de police de plus en plus équipés et armés.

Nous invitons toutes les personnes ayant participé à ce rassemblement de près ou de loin à envoyer vidéos, photos, témoignages à contactjuriste @ ou legalshelterviolences @ car la presse a relayé de fausses informations se contentant de la version policière. Robocops contre pacifistes et musiciens, la violence est venue des autorités, tous les présents l’ont clairement constaté.

Il y a était une manifestation de Lille, Samedi 30 septembre contre les violences policières et l’état d’urgence.

Nous vous invitons également à venir en soutien aux deux personnes convoquées au tribunal de Boulogne le 23 Octobre 2017 à 14 h.

Screenshot from 2017-10-03 19-19-52ENGLISH:

On September 23 3017, in Calais, several groups gathered in order to demonstrate against the armed conflicts and police brutality throughout the world, as well as against the stressful condition of refugees in the town of Calais.
In several other cities in France, gatherings for peace, called for by the “Mouvement de la Paix”, were held.
When the demonstrators at “place d’armes” (which means “weapon square” in French), which had been renamed “place de la paix (“peace square”), tried to go marching on the sidewalks, police violence started immediately: around fifty people, many of them musicians, were surrounded, shoved and hit. Within a few moments, they were kettled and pushed around by riot police, thus being deprived of their right of free movement. The police was asking the demonstrators to disperse as the kettle got tighter, stopping anyone from leaving, and stayed insensitive to the cries for tolerance of people holding frightened children in their arms.

Here is the temporary toll:

6 people arrested, tens of wounded people, children in shock, older people shoved and shocked, bewildered passers-by, and authorities going totally wild.

A disproportionate police force/ harassment/ no possibility of identifying police (no service numbers, hidden faces)/ the civil police (BAC) venting their anger by hitting the surrounded people/ the deputy mayor (Mr. Mignonnet) who appeared to be conducting the operation, personally tearing down the signs saying “place de la paix”.

The town hall had officially objected to the gathering for Peace, although the sub-prefect had allowed it.
In a country where arms dealers and looters of natural resources make the laws, the rule of law ended on Saturday, September 23, 2017 in Calais.
We wish to talk about this day above all because of what it symbolizes beyond Calais.
We are witnessing a massive, disproportionate, systematic and abusive use of violence by police forces which are more and more equipped and armed.

We encourage all the people who were part of this gathering to send videos, photos, testimonies to contactjuriste @ or legalshelterviolences @, since the press gave false informations, only relaying the police version. Robocops versus pacifists and musicians, all those present could clearly see that the violence came from the authorities.

We also invite you to come support the two people who will be tried on October 23 2017, at 2 pm, in the tribunal of Boulogne-sur-Mer.

Screenshot from 2017-10-03 19-21-34

News from Ventimiglia// Nouvelles de Vintimille

There is a new blog (for now only in Italian) giving news of the situation in Ventimiglia. Parole sul Confine: storie e resistenze da Ventimiglia e dintorni (Words on the Border: Stories and Resistance from Ventimiglia and Surroundings).

In solidarity with those fighting the border!


Il y a un nouveau blog (pour l’instant seulement en italien) qui donne des nouvelles de la situation à Ventimille. Parole sul Confine: storie e resistenze da Ventimiglia (Mots sur la frontière: histoires et résistance de Vintimille et environs).

En solidarité avec ceux qui luttent contre la frontière!

Le 23 septembre, exigeons la paix à Calais! // September 23th, let’s claim for peace in Calais!

Samedi 23 septembre 2017

CALAIS 14h30 place d’Armes

Comme dans plusieurs villes de France, suite à l’appel national du Mouvement de la Paix , signé par plus de 115 organisations,


Pour réclamer un monde de solidarité, de justice, de liberté, d’égalité, de fraternité et de paix.

Nous sommes conscient-es que la guerre est toujours un échec et qu’elle conduit au chaos, elle n’enfante que des monstruosités dont sont victimes les populations civiles jetées sur le chemin de l’exil.
Lire et signer l’appel national :


-Des grilles, des murs, des barbelés défigurent notre horizon.
-Des technologies de guerre sont utilisées contre des civils : drones et scanners au tunnel, gaz et grenades de désencerclement en ville, harcèlements psychologiques jour et nuit contre les exilé-es bloqué-es à Calais.
-Des violences policières dénoncées par Human Right Watch et le Défenseur des Droits.

lire le rapport :

-Des contrôles au faciès abusifs et illégaux dans les gares de Calais et de la région
(notamment Hazebrouck et Dunkerque, Lille)
-53 mort-es recensé-es depuis 2015 à la frontières franco-anglaise, la plupart écrasé-es par des camions.
-Une maire qui refuse d’appliquer des décisions de justice prises par le tribunal administratif de Lille et le Conseil d’État sur la nécessité de donner le minimum vital aux personnes survivant dehors (nourriture, accès à l’eau, à des toilettes, à des douches)
-Des bénévoles et militant-es criminalisé-es, harcelé-es et violenté-es (comme dans la vallée de la ROJA)


-Pas de crise pour les fabricants de matériel et technologie sécuritaires qui profitent du juteux marché de la fermeture des frontières.
-Les entreprises de services de sécurité se multiplient avec leurs emplois précaires
-Le système de demande d’asile est une machine à fabriquer des sans-papiers qui peuvent être exploité-es par des entreprises mais n’ont pas accès aux droits sociaux
-Les discours politiques opposant les populations entraînent une montée du racisme et du fascisme à des fins purement électoralistes


-Respect des règles internationales sur l’accueil des réfugié-es
-Utilisation des budgets alloués au tout sécuritaire, à la répression et à la fermeture de la frontière franco-anglaise pour une politique d’accueil digne offrant accès à un toit, à l’hygiène et la santé, à de la nourriture, à des informations sur les droits.
-Respect de l’ARTICLE 13 de la convention des Droits de l’Homme :
« Toute personne a le droit de circuler librement et de choisir sa résidence à l’intérieur d’un Etat, toute personne a le droit de quitter tout pays y compris le sien et de revenir dans son pays. »
lire l’appel d’Emmaus:

Signataires actuels : Arras solidarité réfugiés collectif, association WISE association Louis Lecoin le MRAP et Emmaus de Dunkerque,Terre d’Errance de Norrent Fontes, l’Auberge des Migrants et le Réveil Voyageur ROR, EELV et le PCF de Calais, la FSU 59-62, la Ligue des droits de l’Homme, Utopia 56, société Saint Vncent de Paul de Guînes, ATTAC Flandres, AFPS association France Palestine solidarité, Care4Calais .


Saturday September 23th, 2017

CALAIS 2.30pm Place d’Armes

Like many cities in France, following the national call of French Peace Movement, signed by more then 115 organisations,


To claim for a world of solidarity, justice, freedom, equality, fraternity and peace.

We are conscient that war is always a failure and lead to chaos, it only builds monstruosities that are victims civilians with no choice but to leave their countries.
Read and sign the national call [in french] :


– Gates, walls, fences everywhere
– War technologies are used against civilians : drones and scanners in the tunnel, gas and grenades of deconcentration in town, psychological harassment day and night against the exiles blocked in Calais.
– Police violences denounced by Human Right Watch and the Rights Defender

read the Human Right Watch repport [in french] :

– Racists profilings and controls, abusive and illegal, in and around train stations of Calais and the region (notably Hazebrouck and Dunkerque, Lille)
– 53 people dead identified since 2015 at the french-british border, most of them crushed by trucks.
– A mayor that refuse to apply decisions of justice taken by the Administrative court of Lille and the Council of State of necessity of give vital minimum to people surviving outside (food, access to water, toilets and showers)
– Volunteers and activists criminalized, harassed and abused (like in the Roja Valley)


– No crisis for manufacturers of safe equipment and technology that take advantage of the juicy border closure market.
-Security services companies multiply with their precarious jobs
– The asylum system is a machine for making undocumented migrants that can be exploited by companies but do not have access to social rights
– Political discourse between the populations leads to an increase in racism and fascism for purely electoral purposes


– Compliance with international rules on welcoming refugees
-Use of the budgets allocated to the all-safe, repressive and closure of the French-English border for a dignified welcome policy offering access to a roof, hygiene and health, food, information on rights.
– Compliance with Article 13 of the Convention on Human Rights:
“Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within a State, everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country. ”
read the call of Emmaus [in french] :

Actual signatories : Arras solidarité réfugiés collectif, association WISE association Louis Lecoin le MRAP et Emmaus de Dunkerque,Terre d’Errance de Norrent Fontes, l’Auberge des Migrants et le Réveil Voyageur ROR, EELV et le PCF de Calais, la FSU 59-62, la Ligue des droits de l’Homme, Utopia 56, société Saint Vncent de Paul de Guînes, ATTAC Flandres, AFPS association France Palestine solidarité, Care4Calais .


Protests against the DSEI fair in London from 4th-11th September 2017

We are passing on an article written by Shoal Collective for Border Flashpoint News, about the experiences migrants and refugees are going through because of borders militarized, the supermarket of border militarization and the protests and active work against the DSEI fair (Defence and Security Equipment International, a capitalist trade fair for companies to show their work and products) happening biannually.

Calls for ‘‘a week of action to Stop the Arms Fair at London’s Docklands from 4-11 September, 2017. The Stop the Arms Fair coalition is made up of diverse groups and individuals who oppose the fair. The coalition supports groups using a diversity of different tatics to oppose the fair. It is open for new people and new movements to get involved.

Thursday 7 September’s day of action has the theme ‘Solidarity Without Borders‘ making the links between the arms and security industry. There are also events going on across the UK, in the lead up to DSEI and during the event.”

Please share and re-post this article.


DSEI: A Supermarket for state surveillance and border wars

As borders are increasingly militarised and their operation privatised, migration, more than ever before, is also an anti-militarist struggle.

It took Stephen* two years to get to the UK. The journey began in his home country of Sudan, crossing through Libya, Italy, France and Belgium before reaching the UK where he is applying to stay. Like thousands of others, he spent several months in France and Belgium before eventually crossing the UK border, earlier this year, in the back of a van.

Stephen had been through several months of failed attempts before this: Being discovered in Calais after several hours cramped in the back of a van from Belgium with a group of four or five others, then being stuck in France, getting the money together to travel back to Belgium and try again.

“If you have a good luck you can pass; if you don’t, the security check will take you out,” he explains. “First they use dogs, and if the dogs indicate there’s something, they will check it for themselves… If they can’t find anything easily they have to take the truck to the computer scanner… It’s quite scary.”

He says police patrols in Calais and elsewhere operate day and night, with officers carrying tasers and pepper spray. “They are using it easy – they don’t care what is going to happen, it doesn’t matter for them,” he says. “They don’t care if you die, if you don’t, if you’re injured…”

Borders are becoming increasingly militarised and unsafe places particularly for people like Stephen, who are trying to cross them undocumented. The security measures he describes are only the visible ones. As well as the X-ray machine, there’s a monitor that can detect heartbeats, and another to detect raised levels of carbon dioxide from people breathing inside the lorries.

Migrants and smugglers go to great lengths to avoid detection by such machines such as travelling in airtight lorry containers and risking death by asphyxiation, as happened to 15 year old Masud from Afghanistan in early 2016; 71 men, women and children in 2015, and 58 people from China in 2000.

The entire UK border zone at Calais is surrounded by floodlights, 2.5 miles of nine-feet high fencing, a “comprehensive network of surveillance cameras“, including thermal imaging cameras, and drones. As well as the tasers and pepper spray described by Stephen, border guards at Calais are now equipped with guns, batons and body armour.

Private companies producing and developing the technology used at borders are making money from the perceived threat of an ‘invasion’ of refugees in Europe and the very real suffering of people. Many of the companies developing and promoting equipment, surveillance technologies and the IT infrastructure to track people on the move are often among the world’s biggest arms companies.

These defence giants not only profit from the wars and state oppression that cause people to flee their homes, but also from the high-tech surveillance equipment that tracks them, the violence that greets them, and the biometric systems that register them on arrival.

The biannual Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) trade fair is a chance for these companies to showcase their work and products. From 12-15 September 2017, DSEI will host over 1,600 companies, from across the defence and security sector industries, at the ExCeL centre in London Docklands. It’s set to attract over 34,000 visitors, including Defence Ministers, international military representatives and private sector companies. Many of the companies who profit from borders will be represented – part of a border security market estimated at €15 billion in 2015 and predicted to rise to €29 billion by 2022.

All across Europe there has been an increasingly militarised response to migration by the European Union. Border Wars, a 2016 report from the Transnational Institute (TNI) and Stop Wapenhandel puts the total EU funding for member state border security measures at €4.5 billion between 2004 and 2020.

Technologies used against migrants include monitoring towers, cameras, land radars and wireless telecommunication, infra-red surveillance, high-tech fences, identification systems, immigration databases, drones, even warships.

The European border security industry is dominated by major arms companies, including DSEI exhibitors Thales, Safran and BAE Systemsthe third largest arms company in the world – who in 2002 won a £7.6 million contract from Romania to supply equipment used in tightening the border, including Mobile Surveillance Vehicles (MSVs), hand-held thermal imagers and night vision binoculars.

Increased surveillance technology at borders is forcing undocumented migrants everywhere to take greater and greater risks. This year over 2,400 people have already lost their lives in the Mediterranean trying to reach Europe. Over 5,000 people died in 2016.

The numbers are growing, but the routes and causes of death have changed. Starting from the summer of 2015 – the “long summer of migration” – huge numbers of people crossed the Aegean Sea from Turkey to Greece, taking the Balkan Route through Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia or Hungary, then into Austria and Germany, or on to Nordic countries such as Sweden, where Syrian citizens were at one time almost guaranteed refugee status.

During the first few weeks of January 2016, more than 30,000 people successfully crossed the Aegean to Greece, in comparison to nearly 1,500 in the whole of January 2015.

But one by one, countries along the Balkan Route began to shut their borders, even building physical walls in some cases, and criminalising migration in increasingly creative ways. After Turkey was given €3 billion to keep migrants away from EU borders, European border army FRONTEX were deployed to some of the Greek islands, and NATO warships began patrolling the Eastern Med, this stopped being the busiest route into Europe, and people began making their way to Libya instead.

Libya is now an incredibly dangerous place as rival militias compete for power. Black Africans are commonly captured and put into makeshift camps by these gangs, often in starving, torturous, and extremely poor conditions. The gangs know that the European Union likes to export its border management to external “third countries”, where monitoring of human rights conditions are harder, and trafficking people is increasingly lucrative. The European Union has been training the Libyan Coastguard and supplied it with €200 million, but rather than rescuing people, they are carrying out illegal push-backs and armed violence against migrants. Now ISIS is also active in Libya, the situation is even worse.

In 2017, nearly all deaths of migrants in the Mediterranean have been people using the Central Mediterranean route, trying to cross between Libya and Italy. NATO has now also deployed warships there as part of ‘Operation Sea Guardian’.

The British government has thrown millions at the Calais border, which seems on its way to full privatisation. The death toll is rising along with the amount of money thrown at the border, with a growing number of deaths each year. An October 2016 report from the Calais Research Network documented 40 companies benefiting from this situation, many of whom will be exhibiting at DSEI:

  • Thales Described as, “one of the top-earning companies in the border industry”, the French multinational was commissioned to supply a surveillance and access control system at Calais in 2010. In 2014 they were awarded a two year £3.8 million contract from the UK Home Office to provide a system to encrypt biometric and biographic data for Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) cards for non-EU foreigners.
  • The Chemring Group supplied PMMWI (Passive Millimeter-Wave Imaging) and vehicle scanning. Roke Manor Research, part of Chemring Group, developed the Pandora lorry scanning system, trialled in Calais.
  • FLIR Systems has supplied thermal imaging cameras for use in Calais during the night or in fog, rain or snow when CCTV cameras can’t provide a clear image.
  • L3 Technologies supplied x-ray scanning equipment at Calais.

Opposing DSEI is one way to act in solidarity with migrants. During the ‘Free Movement for People, Not Weapons’ day of action against DSEI 2015, a member of Black Dissidents said as part of a rousing speech:

“If countries are embroiled in a western-fuelled armed conflict, people will flee. They will flee to safer places. European governments have ensured that if they arrive here, they will not be safe. They will suffer the risk of deportations, detention centres, or raids. They will be scrutinised on the basis of their stories, or their age. While the privileged sell their weapons, and move freely, trans people are detained, queer people have to prove their sexuality, deaths in detention occur in parallel to deaths in custody, and privatisation of services by global security firms such as G4S, or Serco are left unaccountable with impunity.”

*name changed to protect his identity


Death at the border : remember Fisha

Calais border kills, once again.

Passeurs d’hospitalités wrote an article about it :

“The violence of the border does not go on vacation.

Fisha, 22yo from Eritrea, died last Thursday 3 August around 11:40pm, hit on the highway by several vehicles after jumping from the van in which he was.
This is the seventh known death at the British border in 2017.
It’s not an account, 7 people it’s not a number, each of them it’s a person who’s dead.

A solidarity gathering was held yesterday at 6:30 pm in Calais, as it takes place after every death caused by the border policies.

This year we also remember the death of:
Omar, a 17-year-old Sudanese miner, who was ran over by the bus he was trying to hang on, 22 July in Brussels;

A Polish driver who died after crashing into a barricade on the highway, June, 20;

Kim Le, an person from Vietnam, who committed suicide in the hospital on Wednesday, May 31;

On Tuesday, May 2, an exile who died in the Gare du Nord train station, in Paris, burned by the electricity on the roof of the Eurostar where he had managed to climb;

An Afghan migrant who died following an attempt to cross on 11 March;

Johnsina, a 20-year-old from Ethiopia, who died on Saturday (January 21st) around 8 am, hit on the highway by several trucks.”

There is a website with a timeline of an (non-exhaustive) enumeration of people who passed away at the border between France and England. You can click on a name (or,  when applicable, “Anonyme(s)”) and read informations about the circumstances of the death, and when possible, the identity of the person, their history and any other element related to them.  Under these elements, there is a link (to a press article, a militant text …) to illustrate and source these tragedies.

You’re welcome to send us any details related to a person who died at this border, so they can keep their humanity and not become just a number.

All our thoughts go to Fisha’s family and his relatives

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
La frontière de Calais tue encore une fois.

Passeurs d’hospitalités a écrit un article sur ce décès :

“La violence frontalière ne prend pas de vacances.

Fisha, 22 ans, venu d’Érythrée, est mort jeudi dernier 3 août vers 23h40, écrasé sur l’autoroute par plusieurs véhicules après avoir sauté de la camionnette dans laquelle il était. C’est le septième mort connu à la frontière britannique en 2017.
« Ce n’est pas un compte, c’est à chaque fois une personne qui est morte. »

Un rassemblement de solidarité a eu lieu aujourd’hui à 18h30 à Calais, comme après chaque décès.

A cause de la politique frontalière sont morts également cette année :

Omar, un mineur soudanais de 17 ans, a été écrasé le 22 juillet par le bus auquel il s’était accroché à Bruxelles.

Un conducteur polonais, est mort après avoir percuté un barrage sur l’autoroute, le 20 juin.

Kim Le, exilé venu du Vietnam, s’est suicidé à l’hôpital, le mercredi 31 mai

Le mardi 2 mai, un exilé est mort gare du Nord à Paris, brûlé par l’arc électrique formé par les caténaires sur le toit de l’Eurostar où il avait réussi à monter.

Un exilé afghan est mort suite à une tentative de passage le 11 mars.

Johnsina, 20 ans, venu d’Éthiopie, est mort samedi  21 janvier vers 8h du matin, écrasé sur l’autoroute par plusieurs camions.”

Il y a un site web avec une énumération chronologique (non-exhaustive) de personnes migrantes décédées à la frontière entre la France et l’Angleterre. En cliquant sur un nom (ou, le cas échéant, “Anonyme(s)”), vous pouvez lire des informations sur les circonstances du décès et, quand c’est possible, l’identité de la personne, son histoire et tout autre élément relié à elle. Sous ses éléments, il y a un lien (à un article de presse, un texte militant …) pour illustrer et sourcer ces drames.

Vous êtes bienvenu-e-s à nous envoyer tout détail sur une personne décédée à la frontière, pour qu’elles puissent garder leur humanité et ne pas devenir qu’un numéro.

Toutes nos pensées vont à la famille et aux proches de Fisha

Recent police attacks on distributions / Récentes attaques de la police contre les distributions

In the last weeks the police have started to include attacks on support infrastructure in their campaign of violence and intimidation against people on the move in this city. Volunteers and supporters in Calais have been reporting police attacks during food distributions, traffic stops and fines when going out in association vehicles to do distributions, threats to seize vehicles, poisoning of water supplies, and the destruction of donations. This is in addition to the police violence which takes place daily in the jungles, at the parkings, and in the streets for which volunteers are not often present.


Water containers contaminated with CS gas

These incidents are part of a larger strategy aimed at eliminating solidarity towards people on the move from the streets of Calais. Ever since the explosion of support which helped construct the Jungle in 2015 the local government has targeted the groups and individuals trying to offer resources to undocumented people in Calais. After the evictions of the Jungle, the local government attempted to ban the distribution of food in Calais as well as people gathering in public space, a ban which was overturned by a court in Lille and is currently being appealed by the government, and by arresting anyone who attempts to protest the violence of the border (see post from June 26th). However, despite this ban the associations have continued cooking and distributing food throughout this time. Now, it seems like a decision has been taken to use the police in an extralegal way to disrupt the distributions in the hopes of discouraging the associations and make people too afraid to attend.

For years the state’s strategy has been to make life as hard as possible for people on the move in Calais with the hopes that they will give up and leave. Providing practical and material support to those on the move as well as speaking out against the state’s program of violence and intimidation is part of the struggle against the government’s desire to eliminate migrants and refugees from Calais’ streets. Defending the spaces where meaningful solidarity and support can exist in the city for those on the move is one part of challenging the border.

One way to challenge the violence of the police is to try to intervene. An easy way to do this is to film the police. Though it may seem to have a limited effect, continually exposing the violence of the police to public scrutiny can help challenge their impunity. As well as filming the police, it is also worth collecting other information about them; for example the officer’s numbers, the number of the CRS company involved, and testimonies from witnesses. Of course the police will try to hide their identities (in the recent weeks CRS have been hiding the registrations of their vans with black tape), but this can also be documented as used against them.

As migrants experience these violations on a daily basis there is especially a need for volunteers and activists to stay with them after the food distribution vans have left, because this is the time which the police attack the most. In the mornings people who stay in the jungle are woken up with tear gas and in the nights they are chased and beaten with batons.

The Cabane Juridique can help with legal assistance for making complaints against the police (

Even though resisting police violence and the state’s attacks on solidarity may seem difficult, it is only through struggling together to defend the spaces and structures of support that the idea of a society based on openness, not borders, can remain.

A brief and incomplete time-line of police attacks on supporters:

Thursday, July 13
– A distribution van was gassed by police at the evening food distribution.

Saturday, July 15
– The morning distribution was hindered by police, and the CRS threatened to confiscate vehicles.

– In the evening, the police attacked and sprayed gas at the evening distribution at Verrotières.

– In the night, again at rue des Verrotières, a distribution vehicle with its rear doors open was gassed, along with the food that was inside. Many volunteers were also teargassed.

Sunday, July 16
– In the morning, at the Auchan Drive breakfast distibution, exiles and volunteers were gassed massively, food also. Some CRS policemen destroyed bags of pastries and bread by trampling them, and tried to confiscate the tea thermos flasks. The exiles dispersed, and the volunteers decided to move away, but to remain present in the field. They sat in a circle to picnic, sing songs and clap their hands, surrounded by police officers determined to force them to leave.

– This afternoon at 2.00pm, at the hospital distribution, again new police barriers.

Wednesday, July 19
– Police came at 9AM in the jungle at Verrotières to take people belongings; plastic, sleeping bags, tents, and anything with which they could shelter.

Tuesday, July 25
– The afternoon food distribution in the city center was disrupted by police. They were following the distribution van through the streets and once, stopped prevented food from being given out before everyone was fed. Afterwards seven people were arrested after refusing to show ID.

Au cours des dernières semaines la police a ajouté l’attaque des moyens matériels de soutien aux migrant-es à leur campagne de violence et d’intimidation contre les personnes de passage à Calais. Des bénévoles et des soutiens dans cette ville ont rapporté des attaques de la police pendant les distributions de nourriture, des arrêts forcés et des amendes lorsqu’ils et elles utilisaient des véhicules d’associations pour faire les distributions, des menaces de saisie des véhicules, l’empoisonnement de bidons d’eau et la destruction de dons. Tout ça en plus des violences policières qui ont lieu quotidiennement dans les jungles, les parkings et dans les rues, où les bénévoles ne sont souvent pas présent-es.


Water containers contaminated with CS gas

Ces événements font partie d’une stratégie plus large visant à éliminer dans les rues de Calais la solidarité envers les personnes de passage. Depuis l’explosion de soutien qui a permis la construction de la Jungle en 2015 les autorités locales ont visé les groupes et les individus qui essaient d’apporter des ressources aux personnes « sans-papiers » à Calais. Après les destructions partielles successives puis complète de la Jungle, les autorités locales ont tenté de interdire la distribution de nourriture à Calais ainsi que le rassemblement de personnes dans l’espace public, une interdiction qui a été jugée illégale par le tribunal de Lille, mais les autorités font appel contre cette décision, tout en arrêtant quiconque essayant de protester contre la violence à la frontière (voir article du 26 juin 2017). Cependant, malgré ce bannissement, les associations ont continué à cuisiner et à distribuer de la nourriture sans interruption. Maintenant, il semblerait que la décision a été prise d’utiliser la police d’une manière extra-légale pour perturber les distributions dans l’espoir de décourager les associations et de faire tellement peur aux gens qu’ils n’osent plus s’y rendre.

Pendant des années, la stratégie de l’État a été de rendre la vie aussi dure que possible pour les personnes de passage à Calais dans l’espoir qu’elles abandonneraient et partiraient. Fournir des moyens pratiques et matériel à ces personnes ainsi que protester publiquement contre le programme Étatique de violence et d’intimidation est une part de la lutte contre le désir du gouvernement d’éliminer les migrant-es et les réfugié-es des rues de Calais. Défendre les espaces où une solidarité et un soutien conséquents peuvent exister dans la ville pour les personnes de passage c’est une partie de ce qui peut être fait pour contester la frontière.

Un moyen de contester la violence de la police est d’essayer d’intervenir. Une manière simple de le faire est de filmer la police. Même si ça semble avoir un effet limité, rendre continuellement visible au public la violence de la police peut aider à contester leur impunité. De même que filmer la police, c’est également valable de collecter d’autres informations à leur sujet ; par les matricules des policiers, le nombre de compagnies de CRS impliquées, et des témoignages de personnes présentes. Bien sûr les policiers essaieront de masquer leur identité (au cours des dernières semaines des CRS ont caché partiellement les numéros des plaques de leurs véhicules), mais cela aussi peut être documenté et utilisé contre eux.

Comme les migrant-es font l’expérience quotidienne de ces violations, il y a particulièrement besoin de volontaires et d’activistes pour passer du temps avec elles et eux lorsque les camionnettes qui distribuent la nourriture sont parties, parce que c’est à ce moment que la police attauqe le plus. Le matin les personnes qui restent dans la jungle sont réveillées par des gazeuses et la nuit elles sont pourchassées et matraquées.

La Cabane juridique peut aider sur les questions légales et pour déposer des plaintes contre la police (

Même si résister contre les violences policières et les attaques de l’État contre la solidarité peut sembler difficile, ce n’est qu’en luttant ensemble pour défendre des espaces et des structures de soutien que l’idée d’une société fondée sur l’ouverture et non les frontières, peut subsister.

Une brève et incomplète chronologie des attaques de la police contre les soutiens :

Jeudi 13 juillet 2017
– Une camionnette a été gazée par la police lors de la distribution de nourriture du soir.

Samedi 15 juillet 2017
– La distribution du matin a été perturbée par la police, et les CRS ont menacé de confisquer les véhicules.

– Le soir, la police a attaqué et gazé la distribution à la Verrotières.

– Pendant la nuit, à nouveau rue des Verrotières, un véhicule de distribution qui avait sa porte arrière ouverte a été gazée, avec toute la nourriture qui était dedans. De nombreux-es bénévoles ont aussi été gazées.

Dimanche 16 juillet 2017
– Le matin, à la distribution du petit-déjeuner à Auchan Drive, les éxilé-es et les bénévoles ont été gazé-es massivement, ainsi que la nourriture. Des CRS ont détruit des sacs de pâtisseries et de pain en les piétinant, et ont essayé de confisquer les thermos de thé. Les éxilé-es se sont dispersé-es et les bénévoles ont décidé de se déplacer, mais de rester à proximité. Illes se sont assis-es en cercle pour pique-niquer, chanter et taper dans les mains, encerclé-es par des policiers déterminés à les faire partir.

– L’après-midi, à 14 heures, à la distribution de l’hôpital, à nouveau des barrages policiers.

Mercredi 19 juillet 2017
– La police est arrivée à la jungle à 9 heure du matin à la jungle de la verrotières pour voler ce que les gens avaient qui leur permettait de s’abriter : bâches plastiques, sacs de couchage, tentes, etc.

Mardi 25 juillet 2017
– La distribution de nourriture de l’après-midi dans le centre ville a été perturbée par la police. Elle suivant la camionnette de distribution dans les rues et une fois à empêché la distribution de nourriture alors que tout le monde n’avait pas été servi. Ensuite sept personnes ont été arrêtées après avoir refusé de montrer leurs papiers.