Across Europe the recent migrant lead protests have been undermining and highlighting the contradiction of borders everywhere. In Calais there has never been such a wave of sustained protests against the border here with eight separate actions having taken place in just the past ten days. The authorities here are trying to delegitimize these protests by claiming that they are organized by ‘the No Borders’ who are instrumentalizing the groups in the jungle for their own ends.
There is a deep racism in these lies which imply that ‘those people in the jungle’ cannot organize themselves but rather need white/european leadership. This is simply not the case. Many of those in the jungle have been organizing politically all of their lives and in much more unforgiving political circumstances than those of Calais. There is a very strong movement happening here which is entirely migrant led. By claiming otherwise, the authorities are trying to ignore and dismiss the people protesting here along with their demands as somehow ‘not genuine’.
Those Europeans or people otherwise having legal status who participate in the movement here do so because they share the same ideas and demands but they did not invent them. The need to abolish the European border regime is never more evident than it is to those who come up against it everyday.
The people demanding their freedom of movement do so because their lives depend on it. We are always happy to join them.
Partout en Europe les récentes manifestations menees par des migrants, mettent en évidence les contradictions des politiques des frontières. À Calais, il n’y a jamais eu une telle vague de protestation contre les frontières: huit actions distinctes ayant eu lieu ses dix derniers jours. Les autorités tentent de rendre illegitime ces protestations en affirmant qu’elles sont organisées par «No Borders” qui instrumentaliserait des groupes de la jungle pour leurs propres fins.
Il ya un profond racisme dans ces mensonges qui impliquent que «ces gens de la jungle» ne peuvent pas s’ organiser mais plutôt qu’ils auraient besoin de “gerence” blanche / européenne. Ce n’est pas le cas. Beaucoup de personnes de la jungle sont deja politiquement organisees et dans des circonstances politiques beaucoup plus impitoyables que celles de Calais. Il ya un mouvement très fort qui se passe ici qui est entièrement dirigé par les migrants. En niant cette conscience politique, les autorités meprisent de nouveau ces personnes et les rejetent en minimisant leurs revendications.
Ces Européens ou les personnes qui possedent un statut juridique et qui participent au mouvement a Calais et ailleurs, le font parce qu’ils partagent les mêmes idées politiques de liberte et de droit de circuler. La nécessité d’abolir le régime européen des frontières est plus évident que jamais, et c’est a ces personnes qui sont confrontees tous les jours au regime des lois sur les frontieres qu incombe la legitimite de lutter.
Les gens réclament leur Liberté de mouvement et le font parce que leurs vies en dépendent. Nous sommes toujours heureux de se joindre à eux.
Today saw a demonstration in Calais, organized by people in the jungle. The protest was planned to coincide with the massive rally held in London, and to bring attention back to the refugees already in Calais while the UK decides to accept more from overseas. Todays march adds to the almost daily protests by people in Calais in the last week.
Early this afternoon a group of three hundred left the jungle and began walking into town. They were demanding an end to being forced to live in the jungle, freedom of movement for everyone, and to open the border to the UK. Many others joined during the way or in the centre of town. The protest brought together people from all the different migrant communities in the city. As is past through the jungle, with people singing dancing, chanting, playing music and calling to others to join in, it felt as much like a party as a protest.
Calais’ mayor Natacha Bouchart, who yesterday put more pressure on the prefect to increase the policing of the recent wave of peaceful demonstrations, had fencing erected around the Mairie, and hired private security guards to stand behind it. Because of this, the demonstration, which in previous cases had rallied in front of the town hall, was this time stopped by the CRS just before getting there. The result was a stand off between protesters and police that saw the police use CS gas on the protesters, some of which were children.
After this attack everyone sat down and began to hold a rally. People took turns speaking into the megaphones and leading chants, dancing, and singing. During this time the Syrians walked down from where they are staying in order to join the demonstration. This continued for around an hour until the police began to start pushing people back, trying to move them on. The protesters responded by running past their lines and into the center of Calais, where they occupied the Boulevard Jacquard. The police, while at first trying to prevent them from occupying the street eventually had to retreat and surrender the main shopping street to the group for a couple of hours while another rally was held. There was a lot of engagement here with the local Calais people who stopped to watch and listen to what the demonstrator’s were demanding.
After the rally, people returned to the jungle, largely at a time of their choosing shouting all the way back. The feeling in the group was really positive as even though they had been stopped from marching down one street they were able to get around the police and occupy and disrupt Calais’ main shopping street. There was a lot of really positive reactions to the demonstration from the Calaisiennes, and it was really encouraging for the protesters to continue their struggle and demonstrations in the coming days.
About 150 Syrians went to the ferry port to demonstrate. In the evening they held a candle lit vigil in front of the Town Hall , and many decided to pass the night there. They are asking to be let in the UK, through legal and safe ways of travelling. They are saying they are only 300 Syrians in Calais.
The Syrians were violently moved on by police, and dispersed at about 1 am. Some supporters also attacked by CRS (7 vans) and some local racists shouted hate speeches from their windows – one even did a Nazi salute. The CRS pushed the Syrian protesters back towards the jungle.
Since many more police are patrolling the motorway and also at the Eurostar terminal, there have been fewer attempts to cross. People are depressed, bored and frustrated. New people keep arriving in growing numbers and they get stuck in the jungle. There are probably over 3500 people in the jungle now and numbers keep going up. There are many women sleeping in the jungle, some young children and a huge number of unaccompanied minors, the youngest is 8. New people often do not understand where they are and why they are now in such a bad situation. It is just appalling that they expect anyone to live in such a situation, let alone children and injured and/or traumatized people. Thank you Bernard Cazeneuve.
In the morning the mayor of Calais Natacha Bouchart went to visit the jungle with a delegation from Parliament and a small police escort. They stopped briefly outside the school. It seems as if they didn’t talk to any of the migrants or refugees, they simply surveyed the human suffering caused by the border.
Nous appellons à la mobilisation de tous en soutien à la manifestation des refugié.e.s du camp de Calais ce samedi 12 Septembre.
Rassemblement à 11h devant Salam (centre Jules Ferry) puis devant la mairie de Calais à 13h30.
A l’occasion de manifestations outre-manche à Douvres, Londres, venez nombreu.x.ses soutenir la manifestation des réfugié.e.s du camp de Calais.
Alors que la crise humanitaire qui touche les personnes réfugiées en Europe a des conséquences de plus en plus graves, la réponse des politiques, qu’ils/elles soient francais.e.s, anglais.e.s ou d’ailleurs est toujours sécuritaire. Des grilles plus hautes, plus de policiers et policières… Plus de sécurité au port ou sur la voie ferrée n’a pour effet que des blessures plus nombreuses et plus graves pour ceux et celles qui n’ont d’autre choix que de tenter de traverser la Manche.
Si nous nous réjouissons que l’Allemagne et l’Angleterre décide soudainement d’accueillir des réfugié.e.s syrien.ne.s après le scandale de la photo de l’enfant noyé, nous ne pouvons que nous révolter qu’il ait fallu pour cela que l’horreur et la mort soit confirmée par les yeux de la presse. Faudra t-il que soient publiées des images d’enfants erythréens, soudanais, afghans ou irakiens morts sur les plages pour que les politiques changent ?
Nous savons tou.te.s depuis des années que les politiques sécuritaires en matière de migrations n’ont comme effet que plus de morts en Méditérranée, à Calais et partout ailleurs. Tout le monde s’accorde pour le dire, les gens essaieront toujours de passer les frontières quelque soient les dispositifs de protection mis en place. Que la barrière soit plus haute et fournie de plus de barbelés n’empêchera pas les gens de l’escalader. Mais les blessé.e.s ne seront que plus nombreu.x.ses.
En attendant, les réfugié.e.s s’entassent dans des camps comme celui de Calais, que la municipalité a habilement réussi à repousser la jungle 10 mètres derrière le panneau “Calais”. Entre trois et quatre mille personnes vivent là dans des conditions dramatiques, surveillées en continu par des CRS. Il ne s’agit pas d’accueil encore moins d’hébergement mais bel et bien d’oubli, de déni.
De part sa responsabilité dans tous les conflits qui ont déclenché les exode qui ont mené les réfugié.e.s à Calais, de part ses constants rappels aux droits de l’homme dont elle se fait l’allégorie, la France a le devoir de donner l’asile et de loger ces personnes dans des conditions dignes.
Et si cette France ne veut rien faire pour aider les réfugié.e.s, qu’elle les laisse au moins partir sans tout mettre en place pour qu’ils/elles meurent dans la traversée. Les réfugié.e.s ne sont pas des criminel.le.s, rien ne peut justifier la torture dont ils/elles sont les victimes.
Parcequ’il est absurde de revendiquer la fermeture d’une frontière face au hasard qui nous a fait naître d’un côté ou de l’autre et que les douleurs provoqué.e.s par son existence sont insupportables, les réfugié.e.s s’organisent une nouvelle fois pour une sixième manifestation en une semaine. Face à leur détermination à porter une lutte qui secoue toute la politique européenne, nous nous joignons une fois de plus à leurs revendications et vous appelons à en faire autant.
This Saturday the people from the jungle are organizing another protest. This will be the fifth demonstration held this week and they are continuing to demand the freedom of movement for all and a dignified and safe home wherever they settle. They will gather at 11AM in front of the Jules Ferry center and march into the city arriving at the Mairie at 1:30PM. They have asked for as many as people to come down and support them! If you are planning to come to Calais this Saturday, possibly to bring donations, make sure to come by the Mairie to learn about and support the people directly involved in their political struggle at Europe’s borders.
There are nearly 300 Syrians stranded in Calais, including women and children. They gathered in front of the Town Hall. They are asking why the UK are not taking them. They do not want any help, they do not want benefits or money they just want to be allowed in the UK where they can work.The Syrians have been present in all the demonstrations with all other nationalities but Tuesday they decided to go on their own.
Today again over 300 migrants went from the jungle to the centre of Calais, marched down boulevard Jaquard and past the theatre and back to hold a sit in in front of the Town Hall, chanting ‘no jungle’ ‘open the border’ ‘we are not animals’. Strong presence of women with some young children, all with faces covered. Protests will continue every day until a positive result is reached.
Today approximately 500 people, mostly refugees, marched to the centre of Calais to protest for humane treatment and for the freedom of movement. The migrant-led demonstration occupied the car park directly outside the the Town Hall, where people are telling their stories and demanding that their voices be heard. The speakers are also denouncing police violence and the deaths at the border while at their backs a police line is protecting the entrance to the Town Hall. They are demanding that the UK opens the border and let them in. They are demanding that France gives decent accommodation to those who asked for asylum in France, instead they are still in the jungle. Additionally 176 people went on a food strike (refusing the one meal a day that they get from the government in the camp) three days ago, so they have been on hunger strike for three days now.
Migrant-led demonstrations of this scale have not been seen in Calais for a long time, and with 3500 or more migrant people in Calais are likely to get bigger. The people have decided that their protests will continue until they get a result. When Natalie Bouchart felt the pressure to speak to migrants for the first time yesterday she had requested that no further demonstrations occur, and will surely be surprised by the events of today. There is a strong migrant movement in Calais, and it cannot be ignored.
In the evening there was another gathering in front of the Town Hall to protest the deaths in the Mediterranean and Europe’s inhumane migration policies. About 100 Calais citizens, activists, volunteers from associations and migrant people attended. Instead of holding the traditional one minute silence they let out a strong cry to express their anger.
Today a demonstration organised by people in the camp, of approximately two hundred people took place. The protesters met outside the food distribution centre as with the previous day’s protest. It was then agreed that the crowd would march into Calais. Moving through the jungle, the demonstration was met with smiles, cries of support and people pumping their fists in the air. There were members of most nationalities in the jungle present. Walking down the road into the town, it was expected that the protest would be blocked by police at any moment. The march, however, was able to continue into the town. The people were chanting “liberté!”, “freedom!”, “no borders, no nations, stop deportations!”, “Hurreeya!” and “azadi!” Once the march entered the town the chanting and clapping intensified so that the inhabitants of Calais would definitely hear the message of the oppressed.
Eventually the march arrived at the Town Hall. Once there, they sat down and held up their banners so that the message could be clearly visible. The gathering was peaceful, with some singing and a little chanting. Then, to the utter surprise of all present, Natasha Bouchart, the Mayor of Calais, arrived to speak to the migrants, along with Phillipe Mignonet and Emmanuel Agius! This has never happened before in Calais to the best of our knowledge.
Bouchart was cynically trying to appear humane and open by talking with the people. However, the politicians were deaf to the migrants demands, only repeating the same tired lines that the people must claim asylum in France in order to receive any assistance, and that the border was a European problem and a British problem, and out of their hands. They suggested that the people go to the sub Prefecture to protest there.
Nobody was taken in by the bullshit of the politicians. The people have called for continued action and protest. The demands are clear even if the politicians cannot understand them. The people will continue to fight and to take to the streets until the borders are no more. Another demonstration is planned for tomorrow with the intent of having as much support as possible: for people to come to the demonstration and to march with them. There has never been a better time to come and to show active solidarity with the people who are fighting for freedom.
The statement quoted below was given by the protesters today. They began their sit-in at 11 AM, and are refusing to enter the Jules Ferry center for any of its services. They do not want more humanitarian aid, but rather are demanding their rights to move where they wish and live in dignity where they are.
“There is a big protest happening here at the Salam distribution centre in
the jungle and the government have cut the satellite signal so there can be
People are blockading the government distribution centre because they no
longer want to live in worse conditions than those they left behind. It’s
not enough to receive one badly cooked meal per day. People seeking asylum in
France are being given nothing and forced to live in the jungle. People
have a right to dignity and many people are badly injured and left with no
medical provisions to die in the jungle. La Vie Active who run the Salam
centre profit from justifying people’s prolonged stay in the jungle. Today
the demonstration will continue at the gates of the centre and everyone
informed why and asked not to go inside. If people want to go in they can
and will not be subject to abuse. It is not good enough that racism exists
in the camp and today we are one voice, one hand to stop the injustice of
People of the jungle are not treated as human beings but numbers in system.
We are not allowed the right to protest in the town but hidden away, they
try to silence us. We will not accept this system and we will provide our
own solution. The European governments made this problem and it is their
responsibility to solve it in a way that gives us a better life. We did not
risk our lives to suffer this inhumanity. We must stand together, this
protest is the start and we will continue until our situation is resolved.
We want to remain peaceful even when the police use violence against us.”