On the 14th of November two hunters were spotted closer to the camp than usual. They were found half concealed inside a hollowed out bush approximately 30 metres away from a part of the camp which is mainly inhabited by families with children. When asked to leave they insisted they were within their legal grounds whilst shooting at open sky, at what appeared to be nothing. With the two men there was also an infant no more than 5 years old, crouched on the ground shivering.
When approached and challenged they stated “refugees traffic arms in the jungle so we should be armed as well”.
During this encounter some locals tried to talk to them, asking why they were firing shotguns into air. The hunters refused to engage in further dialogue despite numerous appeals to reason.
As more people were drawn by the noise and alerted by phone calls, they eventually packed up and left clearly uncomfortable of being observed. When walking out of the jungle, the hunters stopped and spoke to CRS in a friendly manner and what appeared to be good terms.
There’s the law and then there’s the police.
French law states land within a circumference of 150 metres around a residential property is excluded from any shooting rights unless specifically granted by the owner. The closest houses to the spot were less than 50 metres away. Needless to say, in the vicinity of their shooting range is located a camp that encompasses victims of war traumatized by terrible atrocities and horrors which leads them to flee their home country and cross Europe in terrible conditions.
Not only is it legally questionable but in terms of basic humanity, and we appeal this to be brought to light and denounced.
People in the camp were asked about this and many stated “it is a fairly routine event and we hear the noises of them firing almost everyday. Often shotgun pellets and cartridges land on the roofs of caravans and tents in the women and children’s area.”
Today during the early afternoon, several families, with many woman and children, were holding a protest against the living conditions and the police violence in the jungle. This family protest was prevented from taking place by very large numbers of CRS. The CRS blocked the protest at the end of Rue des Garennes. The CRS showed up with eight vans and between 30 and 40 cops. They were equipped with shields and helmets. They brandished their bats and pepper spray cans. They even sprayed woman and children with cans of pepper spray from very close range. There were also baton rushes towards groups that included children. One woman present was thrown on the floor and police tried to steal at least one camera. By blocking this peaceful protest the French state is once again hiding whats happening in the jungle from the public and once again inflicting violence on people that fled to Europe seeking safety.
Video of the demonstration: the families want it to be diffused widely, and all faces of people who did not want to be in it have been edited out.
Aujourd’hui, en début d’après-midi, plusieurs famille principalement constituées de femmes et d’enfants ont manifesté contre les conditions de vie misérables et les violences policières dans la jungle.
Refugees in Calais and Dunkerque held vigils after the attacks in Paris
Today the refugees in the jungles of Calais and Dunkerque held vigils in solidarity with the French people after the terrorist attacks in Paris. Many of those attending are Syrians and Kurdish people from Kirkuk (Northern Iraq) who are fleeing ISIS, and they know full well what does it mean to be on the receiving end of such violence. There were people from all different communities but especially from countries where ISIS is present and active.
An Afghan wrote the following statement:
Des réfugiés de Calais et Dunkerque se rassemblent en solidarité après les attaques à Paris.
Samedi 14 Novembre, des réfugiés des camps de Calais et Dunkerque se sont rassemblés en solidarité avec le peuple français après les attaques terroristes de Paris. Beaucoup étaient des Syriens et des Kurdes du Kirkuk (nord de l’Irak) qui ont fuit à cause des combats contre l’EI, et qui ont fait l’expérience de ce genre de violence D’autres communauté étaient aussi présentes, le plus souvent en provenance de régions où l’EI est présent et actif.
Une personne afghane a écrit le texte suivant:
” les attaques d’hier à Paris sont horribles… Ce n’est bien dans
aucune religion. Ce n’est pas humain et les réfugiés de Calais sont particulièrement contre ces attentats parce que nous avons fait l’expérience de ce genre d’attaque dans notre pays, C’EST LA RAISON POUR LAQUELLE NOUS SOMMES ICI. Ce dont nous avons besoin, c’est la paix, et nous pleurons pour les victimes, nous sommes avec elles.”
This is the fire in the Calais jungle last night, 2.500 square meters touched.
A fire broke out amongst closely crowded tents at around 00:45am this morning. The cause of the fire is said to be a candle. Fire spread quickly due to the wind and people were running around trying to evacuate the area and get people to safety. No major injuries, a few small burns and smoke inhalation problems but no major injuries or deaths. Lots of people’s documents, papers clothes and personal belongings were burnt and destroyed. The fire burnt and spread for around half an hour before fire engines arrived. Apparently the police were on hand trying to put the fire out with the water cannon. The area interested was the Sudanese camp near chemin des Dunes. 60 shelters were destroyed.
Most of the jungle have no roads or water points for the fire brigade, it is ‘lucky’ the fire started near the only road that leads to the Jules-Ferry centre. a much larger section of the camp could have gone up in flames if the fire had started elsewhere, perhaps the entire jungle could have gone up in flames.
The tribunal of Lille have ordered the construction of roads for the emergency services, but works have not started yet!
In the daylight you can see the extent of the damage:.
Many people have nowhere to sleep now and no blankets, there is a very urgent need for humanitarian aid to Calais as everything that could have been distributed has been distributed already, and the warehouse is empty, it is very cold at night and impossible to sleep without shelter and blankets.
Most of all people need to be in proper housing not in that appalling shanty town.
In previous days No Borders activists in Calais have faced a major increase in repression from police and have been falsely accused throughout international media of inciting migrants to riot.
As our group has explained in a public statement, accusations that No Borders activists are inciting the riots are unfounded, ridiculous, racist and plainly an attempt to criminalize our movement and shift the blame from those who are responsible for this situation: namely, the UK and French governments, who are waging a war against refugees.
Activists present at the riots were there supporting by helping to treat those wounded by police by gas, truncheons or being hit by tear gas canisters. Gas was fired deep into the camp and injured many people, including many families who were not engaged in rioting.
The authorities allowed the far right to hold a demonstration last Sunday, inciting racial hatred, making death threats, and burning a Qu’aran in the middle of boulevard Jacquard (Calais’ main street). In the evening 5 nazis wearing hoods went to attack migants near the Eurotunnel. These facts were understandably very upsetting to many in the jungle and we suspect that this was linked to the reasons for the riot.
We see this latest increase of repression as part of a general trend towards the criminialization of supporting migrants, which has also recently included police controls of volunteers trying to enter the jungle and the questioning of many volunteers under ‘Schedule 7’ of the Terrorism Act 2000 on their way back to England.
French regional elections are coming soon, and we suspect that politicians find it very expedient to find someone to blame for the inhumane and intolerable situation of Calais. However, we reject the attempts of the French and UK state to scapegoat our movement for the problems they themselves have created. We call for a recognition of the real problems that were the reasons that many migrants erupted in anger during the past days.
This morning the belated, much delayed construction of the « New Camp » began. The work was supposed to begin on the 2nd of November 2015. The associations have stated that this date was missed due to « communication problems » with the people living in the area. Actually, the people have consistenly refused to leave.
Finally this morning the work began. The first bulldozer to arrive came at approximately 08:00am. It drove amongst people’s tents and homes and removed the red poles that indicated the planned construction site. It was soon followed by other heavy construction vehicles throughout the morning. For the moment they seem to have restricted themselves to flattening open and flooded areas and putting up fences that deliniate the new site area. However, it will be impossible to begin real construction whilst the people still live in the zone.
Following shortly behind the diggers came a wave of « humanitarian » volunteers from the Associations. Wearing a plathora of differently coloured fluorescent jackets, they around the explulsion zone telling people that they had to move thier houses and dwellings. They attempted to convince people that the New Camp would be far superior, and many stated that if people did not move soon, the police would come and evict them by force. Belonging to the Salaam and Vie Actif associations, there were around 50 volunteers present, including the President of the Salaam Association, who was seen louldy instructing a group of refugees who mostly didn’t speak English that they had to move. They carried orange wristbands, which they gave to people who wanted to take a space in the new camp.
The sudden appearence of heavy construction vehicles and flourescent clad volunteers did persuade some people to leave the area, picking up thier tents and houses and moving them elsewhere in the jungle. However the vast majority of the people chose to stay. They cited many reasons for doing so, namely the difficulties of living in a large tent with up to 50 people that they didn’t know with no privacy, the preference for homes that they had built themselves rather than something that they had no part in constructing, a preference for living in established communities of friendship groups and a complete lack of trust in the French state. Many of the people living in the jungle do not want the new camp.
It should not be suprising to see how far some of the associations collaborate with the state. They have a long history of doing this in Calais. However it is still shocking to watch people giving thier time to volunteer for aid organisations doing the work of the police for them. Many of the volunteers argued that the construction of the new camp was a necessary step to improve the conditions in the jungle and to « get people the help they need », however at the same time many acknowledged the coercive nature of what they were doing, with every request backed by the threat of state violence to move the people. There was great feeling of pessimism, that nothing could be done to stop the inevitable progess of the state. If the people had shown the same levels of defeatism and pessimism, they would have left the area on the 2nd of November and work would have already began!
By the end of the day the association volunteers left having convinced a proportion of the people living in the zone to leave and a small amount of construction work had taken place in the uninhabited areas. CMS believes that there will likely now be an eviction of the zone by police either tomorrow (Friday the 13th) or on Monday (16th).
The spokesman of the Ministry of the Interior, Pierre-Henry Brandet, pointed the responsibility of No Borders ‘organisation’ in the clashes that opposed for three nights migrants and police near the Calais “jungle”. He said the activists “are taking advantage of disarray of migrants and lead them to riot.”
The prefect of Pas-de-Calais, Fabienne Buccio, had already deplored “more aggression on the part of migrants, with some associations as No Border who organize, who give them the tools to confront the police. ”
The mayor of Calais, Natacha Bouchart, also points the finger at No Borders for inciting unrest.
The spokesman of the Minister of Interior mentions a 50 strong black block of No Borders, that two activists were arrested and that there will be more arrests.
There is no black block in Calais.
There are far fewer than 50 No Borders activists in Calais at present.
We do not know who got arrested, but they are not part of our group, nobody we know has got arrested.
No Borders is neither an organisation nor an association, it is a trans-national network of groups and individuals who oppose borders and demand freedom of movement.
There are several thousands men, women and children living in the jungle that was created by the Minister of Interior Bernard Cazeneuve. We think they are still well over 6000 despite claims from the government and police that numbers have gone down to 4500. They are living worst than animals in conditions that are inhumane and intolerable. Most are very traumatized, coming from war zones.
The jungle has two exits that are controlled by police. People are trapped.
To cross the Calais border has became very difficult because of the new fence paid for by the British government, and increased police presence in and around the jungle, with riot gear, CS gas, truncheons, guns, flashballs, a water cannon, rubber bullets and helicopters.
There have been more deaths on the Calais border than ever before, at least 21 deaths this year that we know of. There is an appalling catalogue of injuries by police, lorries, trains, passing cars, razor wire etc.
Many arbitrary arrests are being made of people who do not have the right papers or the right colour of skin. The people arrested are sent by a private jet to various detention centres (prisons for migrants) across France, families are separated. Most are released in a few days and usually come back to Calais. These arrests do not lead to deportations and do not serve any purpose other than to distress and demoralize people.
The authorities have allowed the far right to hold a demonstration last Sunday, inciting racial hatred, making death threats, and burning a Qu’aran in the middle of boulevard Jacquard (Calais main street). The burning of the Qu’aran upset the Muslims and made them very angry. In the evening 5 nazis wearing hoods went to attack migants near the Eurotunnel.
Police violence on the motorway and by the Eurotunnel is totally excessive and beyond justification, and in the last few days we have seen an escalation that surpasses anything we ever saw before. We never saw so many people injured. The police are hitting people on the head with truncheons, including underage boys and women, they are gassing them in the eyes at close range, they are kicking and stomping on people when they fall to the ground breaking their ribs, and sometimes they let them bleed for hours before they call the ambulance. They are also firing tear gas on the people, in the camp, inside the shelters and tents where people are sleeping, including women and families with young children, the youngest baby is three months old and could easily die for the effects of the CS gas. These attacks on the camp are totally illegal and clearly aimed at escalating the situation.
Accusations that No Borders activists are inciting the riots are unfounded, ridiculous and plainly an attempt to criminalize our movement and shift the blame from those who are responsible for this situation : namely, the UK and French governments, who are waging a war against defenceless people who are just trying to save their lives.
No Borders have been present in Calais since 2009 to stand in solidarity with the migrants, demand freedom of movement and the opening of the border, and denouce police violence. We opened several squats in response to the lack of housing and terrible living conditons, but now all squats have been evicted and everybody is in the new jungle-ghetto.
Some No Borders activists were present at the riots to film and document police violence, and to provide first aid to the people who were hit with truncheons, or tear gassed by police, or hit by gas grenades fired directly into the crowd. Other than that, No Borders activists have a blog (Calais Migrant Solidarity), and an info point in the jungle from where we provide information about asylum in UK and France, and sign post services migrants can access in Calais.
No activists from No Borders were involved in organizing the actions on the motorway, that are totally spontaneous, autonomous and self-organized by people who live in the jungle, and they have expressed no need or desire to be led or aided by European activists.
CMS reports and videos of the latest events :
Previous reports and videos :