Pour vous dire, c’est horrible en ce moment, la situation que vivent les émigres. D’une part la police, d’autre part les Calaisiens qui ne sont pas accueillants, qui sont fascistes, raciste envers nous, disant n’importe quoi sur nous.
Après tout ça, vient la forêt qu’ils nous donnent, à 10 km du centre-ville. On ne peut pas faire chaque jour autant de kilomètres pour venir à nos rendez-vous avec Secours Catholique, etc. La forêt est non seulement non débroussée, mais avec une usine à cote qui dégage du toxique. On a peur d’attraper des maladies comme le cancer du poumon, en respirant ce toxique. Et puis ce terrain est habité par des animaux sauvages, comme des sangliers, des serpents, des scorpions, des animaux dangereux. Ensuite, c’est un terrain où on pratique la chasse. Vous trouvez beaucoup de cartouches utilisées par des chasseurs, donc on a peur qu’on reçoive des balles perdues. C’est un terrain contrôlé par des mafias, à 18 heures, on a peur de se retrouver coincé avec des malfaiteurs.
To say the truth, the situation that the emigrants are going through at the moment is horrible. On one hand the police, on the other hand the locals in Calais who are not welcoming, who are fascist, racist towards us, who say whatever they want to us. After all that, comes the forest that they have given us, 10 kilometres from the centre of town. We cannot do so many kilometres each day to come to our meetings with the Secours Catholique association, etc. the forest is not only not maintain, but there is a factory next to it which pumps out toxins. We are scared of catching illnesses like lung cancer by breathing in these toxins. And more, this land is home to wild animals, like wild boar, snakes, scorpions, dangerous animals. After all that, this is hunting territory. You can find cartridges used by the hunters, so we are scared to get hit by lost bullets. It is an area controlled by mafia, and from 6 o’clock onwards we are scared of finding ourselves corned by wrongdoers.
The evictions have already started. Eviction is not just the moment when the police come to the jungles and squats and kick people out through a physical confrontation, but it begins way before. The women’s house Victor Hugo is a good example of this. The eviction on the 25th of March happened in a subtle way. The women and children living within Victor Hugo did not want to leave, but instead have been forced to move to the Jules Ferry Day Centre. They were evicted under the threat of violence. This imposed and non consensual arrangement has happened without considering the wishes, opinions, needs or safety of the women living in the Victor Hugo house. The media have supported this by talking about the eviction in terms of “moving out”, therefore this violence has been ignored and made invisible. This forced relocation is an example of how the state controls movement and physical bodies and how it perpetuates and reproduces violence against women.
The house of Victor Hugo for women and children began as a No Border squat which lasted for almost one year before it was handed over to the association Solidaire, who continued to live and work with the women for almost another year. Now the residents of Victor Hugo have been forced to move to the Jules Ferry Day Centre. This centre is isolated, far from the city and crossing points, and will reduce the possibility of women being able to cross independently and safely. Visitors will also not be allowed into the centre, especially anyone who is not part of an official association. This segregation is a deliberate cutting of ties, connections and friendships between the women of Victor Hugo and the associations and activists who have been supporting them. Isolation is one of the first steps towards control and violence.
People living in the jungles around Tioxide had an unwelcome wake up call for the second time in 2 days this morning when around 40 police took an uninvited visit into the camp to look inside peoples tents and hang around. Some people’s documents were checked. We can guess they came to count how many are living there and generally to scare people in the build up to evictions at the beginning of April. They didn’t even bring coffee and croissants. Maybe next time…
With the impending probable evictions at the start of April, there is an invitation to you and your friends to come to Calais in the month of April and plan an event to highlight the foolishness of the Border regime and those who defend it. For example the Mayor of Calais , Natacha Bouchart recently passed a law to make it illegal to distribute free food in the centre of town to try to force people to go and eat at the new Jules Ferry isolation centre, 7 km outside Calais ( see our feelings on the new centre in more detail on the blog ). There will only be one meal per day at the new centre and communities would much prefer to cook for themselves and not receive charity. Another example of the foolishness is that the centre is in a hunting area and at a meeting with the Sub Prefect ( French Government representative) last week, he said not to worry because he had told the hunters to ‘ take care and as they will be firing up in the air at ducks it should not be a problem !’ There are many, many more….
We can show the Border regime and its protectors to be foolish in so many creative ways so please come armed with your metaphorical Poissons D’Avril in what is a crucial time in the Border struggle in Calais.
This is an addition to a previous blog post on Friday where we said:
The people in the Sudanese jungle had an unwelcome visit from the police and people from the town hall this morning. They were told to leave by the end of March, or the police would come to close the camp.
In actual fact, most of the major living spaces; Tioxide, Bois Debruille, the people staying outside the BCMO (the old cold weather shelter) and the people from the Syrian Church were also visited on Friday, all receiving the same message.
A 28 year old man from Ethiopia died in Calais in unexplained circumstances of the 14th of February. His friends had left him in the morning, and when they returned to their camp in the evening, he was dead. He died alone in a little makeshift shelter in a makeshift camp near the big jungle Tioxide.
Two doctors attended the scene: the first a female doctor who arrived with the paramedics, who said there was a bruise on the man’s nose. The second doctor from the police recommended that a post-mortem is made. Some of his friends are saying that three days before the man was beaten by a lorry driver.
People from the Ethiopian community came from all around Calais; tioxide, Bois Debruille, Galloo and the women’s house to grieve together.
The price for your borders is too high. We will never forgive and we will never forget