Two people who were visiting friends detained in Coquelles detention centre were assaulted by police as they were being expelled from the centre following a dispute about visitation rights.
The police had become annoyed at being questioned about the legal justification for refusing to allow people detained to be visited or receive tobacco, and about being asked for their identities (which they refused to give) and felt justified in forcefully removing the two people; badly bloodying one person’s nose and bruising the arms and legs as that person was dragged out by four police officers.
This morning the police visited the squat of the Eritreans. There are 16 people living there. They told them to take their bags and stuff and leave and that the house would be closed soon. It is not evicted yet but we expect it will be tomorrow.
All the houses squatted the night before last were closed yesterday by the police but have been re-opened, but will again be closed soon as police are sitting in cars outside of them.
Any people who tried to enter the place of food distribution last night were pounced upon by police who waited in the car park opposite all night. Many people were unable to sleep last night and walked all night in the rain looking for somewhere they could stay.. We distributed all our tents yesterday – also Medicin du Monde gave everyone plastic and Salam distributed blankets again.
There are many people in detention in Coquelles, including one minor who the police refuse to believe is under 18. Yesterday 16 minors were arrested in the raid on the Afghans. There are four children under ten here at the moment.
The people detained have the usual complaints about Coquelles – poor conditions, bad food, racist and humiliating behaviour from the police – for example, the officers have been holding their noses when people walk past in the hallways, implying that people smell. Many people inside have no idea of their legal rights, although France Terre d’Asile work inside Coquelles many people we have been visiting and speaking with have never heard of them. The police are deliberately trying to stop communication between the different sections of the prison – people are rushed to the hall for eating and moved out again very quickly so as they do not talk to each other. The rooms are full – up to five people in each.
Many people inside were people arrested in the big raid on the place of food distribution – the police took their bags and are refusing to give them back to people now in detention – always saying “tomorrow, tomorrow..”
People are unable to change their clothes. One man doesn’t even have any shoes as he was refused by the police, when they arrested him, to retrieve them from his bag – so he was walked barefoot to the arrest van and into the police station..
With the constant heavy rain and crazy numbers of police on the street people don’t know what to do with themselves. Nowhere is safe, nowhere is dry and people are so tired.
It has been a quiet few weeks here in Calais. The end of the Olympic Games in London saw the departure of the Gendarmerie and additional security forces.
On 09.08 there was an offical visit to the abandoned Douane building (where people are sleeping under the eaves) by high ranking Police officers, accompanied by two unknown civilians – possibly landowners. Officers went inside the building and looked around, leaving shortly afterwards.
Last week Africa House received papers for eviction – stating reasons of hygiene and structural dangers. It is now at constant risk of eviction.
19.08 – A small noise demonstration took place outside Coquelles detention centre. It was well received by those inside who shouted out in response to the demo. Tennis balls filled with sweets and sugar were thrown over the fence into the courtyard, where people are allowed to smoke.
Those detained in Coquelles complained of racial and religious insults from the PAF officers and other forms of oppression – such as denial of sugar for tea.
Last night saw the end of of Ramadan, Eid. No borders marked this occasion by organising a party on the beach. A generator was brought, allowing music of many cultures. Food, drink, dancing and friends made for a memorable Eid. Ques Katir.
Police repression comes in waves at the moment. For example, this week: Until Wednesday, no raids, nearly no Id controls, no arrest, nothing taken away, few police under way. Then, yesterday, they swarmed the place, arrested 35 to 40 people, some of them minors, taken blankets/ sleeping bags, tents away. After going with the father of two minors to Coquelles, the police station/ Detention centre and a two hour discussion there, two minors were released. They cleared the space opposite Salam and a jungle. Also, the day before yesterday, police beat one migrant in the back of a police van. In general, the police begin again with rougher methods. Our Summer Food Distribution is under way since the 02.07. In July/August, charities in France go on holiday, so, some activist kitchen from all over Europe help out. Until now, apart from watching us, no harassment from the police. We all hope, that it stays this way. This morning, the police gone again trough the jungle, so far, no arrest made. General update hangar: We can not use the Hangar at the moment, do to a legal dispute. The sleeping space for activist is fine. We meet this afternoon with a solicitor, have then a meeting tonight, afterwards, we will write more about this. By the way, more activist on the ground would be more then welcomed :)
Repression is high and it does really seem like they are trying to clear Calais of its migrants before the Olympics. All squats old and new have been closed except a few small ones, there are not many people even in the jungles around Calais. Instead people sleep out and about with the police chasing them, people just try to hide and stay out of sight. Record numbers of police, the CRS are combing the streets at all hours, day and night, also on Sundays, but also more ‘normal’ police and undercover police, many new surveillance cars also of new types. Many arrests – except the last few days.
Destruction of blankets and shelters have reached unparalleled proportions, there is an ongoing crisis of the associations’ supplies and our stockpile is also low. Even the Vestiaire is running out of blankets.
The deportation centre in Coquelles is full, many deportations to Albania and to various Dublin countries, particularly Italy. People get bounced back and forward from France and Italy, some people have been deported to Italy 5 times and have just come back. Its impossible to find work in Italy, there are people sleeping rough everywhere in the streets and at the train stations, many are Italians but also many migrants and refugees.