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.
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