This is taken direct from the blog Indyrikki and is about what happened in London at the weekend…
In 2005, the Anarchist Bookfair, held that year in Holloway Road, ended in a practical session of massive policing. The local Coronet pub, on police advice, suddenly refused to serve alcohol, and as hundreds of anarchists spilled out onto the dual carriageway, they were met with riot police geared up for local football matches. The ensuing clashes led to several arrests and injuries, although most if not all were acquitted of serious offences months down the line.
A full decade on, the bookfair today was held at the Granary Building occupied by the University of the Arts London, Central Saint Martins. While on the one hand it’s an excellent space for the bookfair, with a large and airy open area for stalls, and lots of classrooms and lecture theatres for group events, on the other it is surrounded by lots of pseudo-public space, corporatised, controlled, and covered by private regulations rather than public rights – another example of the accelerating privatisation of public space in cities across the world.
Still, this year’s event was well attended, with packed lectures and workshops and a buzzing hall of stalls.
In solidarity with actions today in both Paris and Budapest, Calais Migrant Solidarity called a “No Borders” action to take place at the Eurostar terminal in nearby St Pancras station.
So, ten years on from the Holloway Road kerfuffle, clashes seemed likely again, as huge numbers of police waited at St Pancras and a group of a couple of hundred activists, intent on reaching the Eurostar, set off along private roads shortly after 6pm.
At one of the entrances to the station, they were met by a line of police, and with sheer weight of numbers, first one, and then dozens more, squeezed their way into the station before police reinforcements regained control, after deploying metal batons.
Suddenly, the group inside the station turned back to help their comrades, and at that point things got quite messy. Activists were grabbed and pushed back through the lines on to the pavement, with some injuries and a few arrests. Police began to kit themselves in full riot gear, and they also grabbed a large red banner and threw it aside.
All the while, train travellers and other members of the public watched through locked entrances.
Deeper inside the station, police were picking out people hanging around near the Eurostar entrance, and an entirely peaceful woman was forcibly removed, dragged much of the way on her knees, before police finally picked her up and carried her. Police claimed she was being removed to prevent a breach of the peace.
Despite the massive police operation, a group of around 30 women suddenly appeared in the concourse, chanting “No human is illegal” and “No borders”, and carrying large banners.
They set up right in front of the access point to the Eurostar departure lounge, and handed out leaflets while continuing their protest. Police Liaison Officers moved among them, and more than a dozen police soon arrived in full riot gear, but thankfully they thought better than to interfere, and the protest continued for a few more minutes before the group (who had other appointments) packed up and left.
This dignified and peaceful action was organised by ‘Global Women’s Strike’ (globalwomenstrike.net), and ‘All African Women’s Group’.
A small peaceful group of around a dozen protesters entered King’s Cross Station concourse, with a banner that said “people want to bring down the borders”.
They were confronted by several dozen police, many in riot gear, and then kettled for about an hour.
Police used Railway Bye-Laws – Sect 6 (8) – (no person shall molest or wilfully interfere with the comfort or convenience of any person on the railway), & Sect 23 – (anyone suspected of breach must give name and address), – to process, photograph and identify each protester before escorting them from the station with a 24 hour ban. A few were arrested during this time too.
Interestingly, there was an attempt before this process, for a station representative to make an announcement on a megaphone, but it wouldn’t work and no announcement was made – my feeling was that the announcement was meant to be part of a legal process and so it might be pertinent that it was never made.
One of the causes being championed by migrant solidarity groups is for the release of Abdul Rahman Haroun, a Sudanese man, who after walking through the Eurotunnel is being prosecuted under an obscure 1861 ‘Malicious Damages Act’ and has spent months in jail. Earlier this month, the same legislation was used to arrest two Iranian men in Folkestone after they had completed the 31-mile walk. Calais Migrant Solidarity are calling for the release from prison of the ‘Channel Tunnel 3’.
During the action in King’s Cross, the Harry Potter Hogwart’s platform was closed by police – surely a wilful interference with the convenience of excited Potter fans?
Paris – police evict migrant shelter the night before demonstration
In Paris, there were premptive raids by the security services at a school offering shelter to refugees and migrants. Some activists and French associations helped the police facilitate their midnight raid. Telling people that they would recieve better accommodation if they cooperated with the police.
On the demonstration itself, on the 24th there were 700/800 people. The police attacked because they were worried people would use the demonstration to occupy a new camp. Subsequently there were two arrests and two people were hospitalized.
Around 50 people were arrested in the Channel Tunnel on Tuesday night, mostly from Syria. Today they were transferred to a detention centre in Nimes.Tomorrow, people are expected to be taken to Toulouse. The next day Paris. They are targetting people from all communities, Sudan, Eritrean, Syrian, Iraqi…It is likely that they plan to carry on making mass arrests in the Channel Tunnel.
This news comes from the association La Cimade, who work in detention centres in different places across France. The full announcement can be read here in French. They say this is the beginning of a massive police operation in Calais. Most of these arrests will not lead to deportation, but they will lead to a massive and repeated dispersement of people across France. People will have to make a long journey back to Calais to try again.
When inside the detention centres, people are receiving threats of deportation and face serious violence from the police trying to make them give their fingerprints in France.
For the last 4 weeks police have made patrols of the jungle (normally mostly around the area that has just been announced for the place of the new camp), and they have always been present around the Jules Ferry Centre. Yesterday there was a higher police presence around the jungle than usual. For many, it seems like they are stepping up intimidation to make sure that the people who need to move will do so without resistance. And as ever, there is pressure to give up on their journey to the UK and make their asylum claim in France.
This all comes the day after Cazneuve promised 460 more police for Calais.
Une cinquantaine de personnes ont été arrêtées dans l’Eurotunnel dans la nuit de mardi; la plupart originaires de Syrie. Aujourd’hui (22 octobre) elles ont été transférées au centre de rétention de Nîmes. Demain, elles seront normalement transférées à Toulouse. Le jour suivant à Paris. L’état cible des personnes de toutes les communautés. Soudanaises, Erythréennes, Syriennes, Iraqiennes… Les forces de l’ordre semblent poursuivre dans leur volonté d’effectuer des arrestations massives dans l’Eurotunnel.
Cette nouvelle vient de l’association “La Cimade”, qui travaille dans de nombreux centre de rétention en France. Cette annonce peut être lue dans son intégralité ici (here), en français. Pour la Cimade, ces arrestations annoncent le début d’une grande opération policière à Calais. La plupart de ces arrestations ne se solderont pas par des déportations, mais elles s’inscrivent dans une volonté de disperser les personnes présentes à Calais sur tout le territoire français. Ces personnes devront alors traverser la France à nouveau pour revenir à Calais et essayer, encore une fois, de passer en Angleterre
Lorsqu’elles sont à l’intérieur des centres de rétention, ces personnes doivent faire face à des menaces de déportation, d’expulsion, et sont confrontées à de sérieuses violences de la part des policiers qui veulent qu’elles déposent leurs empreintes.
Il y avait une bien plus forte présence policière autour de la jungle ces derniers jours. Depuis deux semaines, la police effectue des patrouilles dans la jungle (très souvent autour de la zone récemment annoncée pour accueillir le futur centre de 1500 places) . La police est aussi très souvent présente autour du centre Jules Ferry, et aujourd’hui, toute la journée, elle était installée dans de nombreux points tout autour de la jungle.
Pour beaucoup, cette volonté croissante d’intimider les personnes vivant dans la jungle a pour but de faciliter le déplacement de ces dernières au moment voulu sans qu’il n’y est de résistance, mais aussi de faire renoncer ces personnes dans leurs tentatives de passage et les pousser à demander l’asile en France.
There have two deaths in the last couple of months, that we have not yet fully acknowledged.
On the 13th of October, the body of a man found drowned in the port in Calais was identified. The body was found on the 20th of September, but it took a long time to identify him.
He was a Moroccan man, who was 22 years old, he had been in France since at least 2011, when he was controlled in France.
He had gone into the water with someone else on the 16th of September. The other swimmer, another Moroccan man, was rescued and taken to hospital suffering from severe hypothermia. They had been trying to swim to reach a ferry in the Calais port.
The second is a 20 year old Eritrean man, who was hit by a train at around 1am on the night of the 30th of September. He was the second person this year to be hit by a train, the third happened yesterday.
As usual, the main response by the media and the Eurotunnel, was to just discuss this death in terms of effects on the train timetable and traffic.
We mourn for the uncountable loss caused by this border. The fences must fall.
Another person dead this morning.
According to the local newspaper:
“A migrant died after being run over by a Eurotunnel freight train”
“On their arrival owards 02.15, the emergency services found that it was impossible to identify the age, sex or nationality of the person, because their body had been “torn to shreds over more than 400 metres” just after the impact, according to the operational centre for the fire and rescue service (Codis) of the Pas de Calais region.”
As has now become standard, Eurotunnel in its twitter announcement feed referred to an unspecified “incident” causing delays of an hour, for which it apologised to passengers.
Elsewhere in Fortress Europe yesterday, an Afghan man was shot dead by Bulgarian police, and seven people including three children and a baby were killed off the island of Lesvos when the Greek coast police crashed into their wooden boat.
At least 19 people have been killed by the border in Calais so far this year. 17 have been killed since June. 13 deaths have occurred in or near the Eurotunnel. (The full list of those deaths we are aware of is here.)
*It has been announced that the person who died yesterday was a 17 year old from Afghanistan*
According to the local media report: someone was killed at around 2.30AM this morning (Thursday 15 October), run over on the highway near the Eurotunnel. It seems she was a Syrian woman, aged around 30. We will post more details later, if appropriate.
15 people have died since 26 June, the majority at or near the Eurotunnel.
Local newspaper report:
Two Iranian men were arrested in Folkestone on Saturday, after managing to walk the 31 mile length of the Channel Tunnel (article in The Guardian). They have been locked up and charged with the same nineteenth century law being used against Abdul Rahman Haroun, who made it through a month ago and is lingering in prison awaiting trial.
Also on Saturday, as these men were being hunted down, Eurotunnel boss Jacques Gounon was making a speech reported in the French press (article in Nord Littoral) celebrating Abdul Haroun’s imprisonment and complaining about how hard his job has become. The company chairman and chief executive, who receives a million euro annual salary, said: “just one illegal has finished his journey, in Folkestone, where he will be imprisoned for 2 years”. (NB: Abdul Haroun has not yet gone to trial, let alone been convicted, and Gounon is pre-emptively assuming he will get the maximum sentence.)
He went on to call for reinforcements to further militarise the area. “Let’s be clear: the other night, these were very far from poor unfortunates who seek refuge in England and have a right to a humanitarian approach. We were faced by veritable commandos, well coordinated, who haven’t just come up against us: they also massively attacked the port and stoned the trucks on the road to the port. Their goal: to make politics and destabilise the government.”