On Monday 22nd February at 13:30 8 people will stand in court in Boulogne-Sur-Mer facing trial for occupying the ‘Spirit of Britain’ ferry on Saturday 23rd of January. Six of the defendants are people without papers from Afghanistan, Sudan and Syria, all currently living in the jungle. They are charged for ‘breaching the transport code’, which in this instance involves entering and occupying a ferry without authorisation. Standing on trial alongside these six will be two French people with papers. They face the same charges for breaching the transport code, as well as a further charge of facilitating entry to the port and ferry. The maximum sentence for these offences is up to 6 months in prison or a €3,500 fine per person.
The two people with papers have been released on bail whist awaiting trial. The six without papers were held in detention and have since been sent to Longeunesse prison in Saint-Omer. Regardless of the outcome of the trial, the future for the people without papers is not clear. We do not know if they will be released free or if they will be sent to a detention centre, possibly resulting in them being deported back to the war torn countries that they are fleeing from.
This is a call out inviting people to come and show support to those facing trial. We ask for people to come and stand with us in solidarity with those facing oppression and sanctions as a result of resisting the border. We are in the process of organising transport for those without papers in the jungle who wish to be present at the trial, and encourage anyone else who has access to a vehicle to offer the same.
The French government wishes to make an example of these 8 people – fight the border and pay the price. We wish to make a stand against this. We will always be against the border. We will always fight for the right to freedom of movement. Come to the court at Place de la Résistance in Boulogne and stand with us, and with our friends facing trial.
The new squat, on Impasse des Salines, is facing court on Thursday 24th. The owner is asking for a fast eviction procedure on grounds the site could contain dangerous chemicals; even though the risk is minimal. Many people have moved to the outside yard as precaution and Medicine du Monde have now erected three large tents with toilets, showers and places for people to wash their clothes and where some people can sleep in the night.
There are about 100 people living at the site, and more coming to use the space during the day. The police have not been entering and it has become a precious and rare place where people can relax and do not have to fear constant harassment from police.
But the fast court procedure could see an order for eviction after only two weeks of people taking shelther there.
The jungle also needs support!
Outside in a new jungle there is also a larger occupation near the Tioxide Factory, where several hundred people are living, which is also threatened with eviction.
At least 4 new companies of CRS (riot police) have arrived and a small police plane has been circling. People living in the jungle are on alert and are very nervous because of increased presence of police and some people have heard there may be an imminent eviction.
There are lots of women and under-age kids living in the jungle. People are scared of police controls and raids, and are nervous about another brutal eviction.
To move hundreds of people will mean another large and forceful police operation that would likely result in many people in detention and facing deportation, as well as many back on the streets again trying to find somewhere to go.
Come support the Impasse des Salines squat and the occupation at Huntsman Tioxide!
Useful things to do and bring :
– bring tents, sleeping stuff, tarpaulin, shoes etc.. it is always needed and vital for supporting people to exist in this place.
– save as many tents as possible if there is an eviction! It is very useful to have people with vehicles who can save tents and belongings before the police destroy them or take them to the dump.
– collect food donations, firewood and transport water.
– bring cameras for documenting the police, *not people living there!
And prepare yourself to come! See here for a brief intro on coming to Calais.
Two people facing charges of ‘degradation’ after squatting a kitchen in Calais previously used by Belle Etoile were acquitted this morning at the court of Boulogne-Sur-Mer
Belle Etoile, a local association serving lunch time meals for 10 years, decided to stop distributing food as of 28 Feb 2013 – refusing to continue to work as a prop for the authorities whilst conditions for people get worse.
So on March 1st, people occupied the empty building so that the space, as well as the remaining food, gas and equipment could be used by communities themselves autonomously.
But another local association Secours Catholic and the Bishop of Arras, who are responsible for the building, and filed a complaint against the occupants which resulted in a speedy and aggressive eviction on March 4th and arrest of everyone inside, including people with and without papers from Europe, Sudan and Afghanistan.
The complaint was supposedly against some damage of two screws in a door frame – however the result of the complaint involved cops smashing in the whole door. And the charge of ‘degradation’ then made against two of the occupants!
The prosecution near enough asked for the two to be acquitted, because of lack of evidence.
The complaint had been withdrawn before the trial, and Secours Catholic stood as witness conceding that the initial damage to the door was overestimated and the complaint had been made in haste with the feeling that it was manipulated by the police.
The complaint had also been against ‘illegal occupation’ – but the charge did not stick. Maybe at last the cops give up on the ‘illegal occupation’ charges, which *every time so far* people have won in the context of the brutal forced homeless of so many in Calais.