Winter has arrived with storms and rains. The big jungles and Galloo squat are still there; Tioxide-jungle with 2 restaurants, school, church, mosque and a shop. (see below news about forthcoming evictions). There are around 2000 people living rough in these spaces. The cold weather shelter is open occasionally with 350 sleeping spaces: it’s located far from the city and even when open it is not easily accessible due to the short opening hours.
December saw a high level of police violence concentrated on truck parkings and traffic jams leading to the Euro Tunnel and port. Attacks were sporadic and beatings seemingly random, aimed at discouraging migrants form trying for England and plainly expressing police racism. Police chased people into oncoming traffic, broke many limbs, and regularly used pepper spray at point blank range. They destroyed cameras when people attempted to film these illegal acts of violence.
When arrested from the streets near the jungles people were often taken to far away detention centers, such as Rennes, Metz, Nimes, Strasbourg and Paris. Some were even transported by plane to distant detention centers via a small airport in Calais.
The border entails various forms of violence. Migration controls violates women’s rights through racism and sexism in a way that these two systems of oppression are very much interlinked.
The hospital of Calais refuses to carry out abortions for migrants with an extremly cowardly explanation. The authorities based their decision on law that says that you cannot travel to France to have an abortion there, obviously that is not the case of the women at all. They systematically send women that could not proove an official residence in France to the hospital of Grande Synthe, that is 50 kilometers away. They claim that this is because they are concerned about the womens security, since abortion is supposed to be a specific medical intervention (although it is an intervention like any other with very low risks) they say it is to dangerous for the women to go back to the jungle afterwards. So yeah, they think staying pregnant against their own will is healthier and safer for the women.
After complaints having been made, the hospital should be called out by the ministry of health, since this racist, selective practice of carrying out basic health services is completely illegal!
However, not all was bleak. There were a few festive moments, namely a demo on the International Migrants’ day on the 18th, a couple of small Christmas parties in the jungles and a big New Years party at the Galloo Squat. The demo was organized by various associations as a response to the ‘Wall of Shame’, a large security fence recently installed by the UK government to increase security in the Ferry Port and previously used for the NATO summit in Cardiff. It was well-attended with over 1000 people. All of the parties were a great success with no violent police interventions or other incidents – just wild dancing to a very mixed play list and general merriment.
Next week on wednesday at 2pm (Centre Social Espace Fort Yves
2 B Rue D Ajaccio) self defense classes for women, trans* and queers will start ! These classes will hopefully take place regularly on a longterm basis- we are still looking for teachers that are happy to come around and hold one or several classes!
What to expect for January ?
An eviction notice, without a specific date being set has been placed in front of the sudanese jungle and the Bois Dubrulle (forest on the opposite side of Tioxide mainly inhabited by the afghan and ethiopian comunity) by the CRS. Several asylum seekers living in the spaces being threatened are ready to challenge the decision in court.
The last official announcements made by the prefecture claimed that there would be no forced evictions of any living spaces until the new day center opens. So when does it open? Food is supposed to be served there starting from mid-january and the original opening date of the center was set for the end of the month. But it seems like there are some additional works inside the building that take up more time than foreseen, so we don’t reall know at what point they actually wanna get going. Anyways we aren’t waiting for it with high expectations. The day center is part of a wider anti-migration strategy and comes along with other agreements between Natacha Bouchart and Cazeneuve with the UK (more policemen in Calais, closing-off of the port with the fence all around). Starting from the moment the daycenter opens, all other squats and jungles etc. are supposed to disappear and a ‘zero tolerance politic’ towards them has been announced. All services for migrants are supposed to be centralised in this space far from the city center, in order to concentrate the migrants outside of Calais. There will be no sleeping places for men, camping will be tolerated on the fields around. The outcome will be an even more official segregation between the habitants of the city and the migrants being locked out in the middle of nowhere.
On Thursday 24th, the court gave its decision about the new squat on Impasse des Salines: the inhabitants of the house have ten days to leave the place before an eviction...The authorities and the police have ten days to find a strategy to evict this squat and we have ten days to organize the defence of the place and to respond to this attack!
The inhabitants of the place have, for the moment, decided that they will stay in this house even if the police try to evict them. They will resist and they ask for our help for this. There are now more than 100 people staying there at night and more than 300 are coming there everyday for a cup of tea, a collective meal, French lessons, card games and to have access to the basic hygienic facilities (toilets, showers and water.)
The jungle near the Tioxide factory where different communities have built camps after the previous evictions is also threatened with imminent eviction. More than 300 hundred people are trying to live there and are facing daily police harassment (beatings, gassings, ID controls…).
We are currently very few people on the ground at the moment, some of us will leave soon and we have a lot of work to do… Everything which has been rebuilt after the last evictions is now threatened again !
A new exciting space now exist and it’s time to fight for it ! We need all the hands and energies available to try to organize its defence.
The repression of the past three months has already caused too much damages, let’s stop them !
French version :
Venez à Calais maintenant : expulsions imminentes du nouveau squat et de la jungle !
Ce jeudi 24, le tribunal a rendu son verdict à propos du nouveau squat Impasse des Salines : les habitant.e.s de la maison ont 10 jours pour quitter la maison avant l’expulsion...Les autorités et la police ont 10 jours pour trouver une stratégie pour expulser ce squat et nous avons 10 jours pour organiser la défence de cet endroit et répondre à cette attaque !
Les habitant.e.s de cette maison ont, pour le moment, décidé d’y rester même lorsque la police viendra les expulser. Ils ont décidé de résister et nous demande de les aider dans cet optique. Il y a maintenant plus de 100 personnes qui dorment dans cet espace et plus de 300 qui viennent chaque jour pour une tasse de thé, un repas collectif, des cours de français, des jeux de carte, et pour avoir accès à des conditions d’hygiènes basiques (toilettes, douches, et eau).
La jungle à proximité de l’usine Tioxide où les différentes communautés ont reconstruit des campements après les précédentes expulsions, est aussi menacée d’une expulsion imminente. Plus de 300 personnes essaient d’y vivre et subissent un harcèlement policier quotidien (coups et blessures, gaz, contrôles d’identité).
Nous sommes actuellement très peu nombreux sur le terrain en ce moment, quelques un.e.s d’entre nous vont partir dans les prochains jours et nous avons beaucoup de travail…Tout ce qui avait été reconstruit après les dernières expulsions est menacé à nouveau !
Un nouvel espace plein de potentiel existe maintenant et c’est le moment de se battre pour qu’il vive ! Nous avons besoin de tous les coups de main et de toutes les énergies disponibles pour organiser sa défense !
La répression de ces trois derniers mois a déjà causé trop de dégats, arrêtons-les !
Since the destruction of the two camps on May 28th, ordered by the city, between 200 and 300 refugees have gathered together at the food distribution center, SALAM.
They are refusing to disperse and demand that the authorities tell them where they can go to live in peace.
For the first time in Calais, the Sudanese, Eritrean, Afghan and Syrian communities are all united, and for the first time the prefecture has sent a mediator to ‘negotiate’ with the migrants.
But since the May 31st, the negotiator has not returned. The migrants are left in uncertainty. Can they remain at SALAM in peace or do they have to fear eviction in the coming days?
The testimonies of police brutality against isolated people in other parts of the port don’t inspire anyone to leave the group. The list of demands drafted by representatives of each community were taken to the sub-prefecture on May 30th.
Faced with the silence of the authorities, the refugees living at SALAM decided to hold a demonstration in the streets of Calais last Saturday, June 7th, to call attention to their demands and call for the resumption of negotiations.
A few stayed in the camp to keep watch, while more than 200 others, refugees of all nationalities and their supporters, marched toward the town center with drums, banners, signs and fliers to inform the populace.
A communique with their demands.
And another (in French) denouncing the town hall for evicting the camps just so the tourists who come for the maritime festival “Escale à Calais” [Port of Call Calais] don’t have to see the miserable living conditions of the refugees in Calais.
The little fascists of ‘Sauvons Calais’ followed the demonstration from afar, but did not manage to disturb it. One of them stuck his arm out in a Nazi salute, only to take to his heels and run. Another drove by in a car, shouting “they all belong in the oven!”, right beneath the eyes of the police, who did nothing in response to his inflammatory, hateful comments.
In general, passers-by reacted to the demonstration with goodwill and accepted the fliers. New supporters followed the group, which stopped for a moment in front of the town hall before continuing toward the theater and returning to the camp, two hours after they had left.
If the authorities continue to ignore the united communities of the camp at SALAM, more demonstrations will certainly follow.
*Everyone come to Calais May 27th or in the night of the 26th!!!!*
The authorities have decided to destroy the three main camps, which shelter around 700 people. The only prospect for the inhabitants: a pill against scabies and life in the street! There can be no question of repeating the events of 2009, when the eviction of the Afghan jungle resulted in the arrest of hundreds of migrants, their detainment all over France and attempts to deport them to Afghanistan. There can be no question, after five years of persecution, of starting all over again from zero, while the machine of repression gears up once more. Never again!
Last September, the yearly season of raids and evictions, the authorities collided with the courage and determination of the Syrian community of Calais, who, to oppose this repression, fought back by occupying the port. Some of us remember those images, in which two of them can be seen on the roof, threatening to throw themselves into the void to ward off the cavalcade of CRS determined to evict them. And of the CRS giving up, standing idly by, powerless spectators of the courage and determination of those who they could not defeat…
These refugees from Syria demanded the right to come and go freely, to be treated like human beings, and even if they were not able to cross to England, their struggle resulted, at the very least, in the many tents of the ‘Syrian camp’. Named in reference to this episode, the camp has been able to hold out until now. The police have been forced to harass the camp more discretely, fearing a new wave of radical contestation. It is this ‘Syrian camp’ and those it inspired who are threatened today, but also the camp under the bridge. The Eritreans, who where evicted from their house in mid-October, decided to create a camp below the bell tower of the Town Hall. What courage, to set up camp under Bouchart’s very nose, who had no choice but to see the inhuman consequences of her racist policies.
To let these camps be destroyed with impunity would be an insult to the memory of this exemplary struggle, for which some were ready to give their lives. To allow, in silence, a horde of CRS trample these spaces of life, resistance and solidarity, would mean to forget what the Syrians were fighting for, people whom many of us know, who have faces and names, who are resisting and jamming the works of the mechanisms of destruction and dehumanization to which they are subjected.
We must pay homage to their courage and their determination. The Syrians have shown us the way, given us insight into the power of resistance and the fear that we are all capable of instilling in our oppressors, taking ground piece by piece. They took the risk at the beginning, demonstrating that they are ready to pay whatever price that respect and dignity might cost.
Right now, in the camps, there are migrants of all nationalities, who give life to these spaces of resistance every day. We should fight to hold onto these spaces of struggle, which the authorities want nothing more than to destroy, harass and render invisible until the migrants ask nicely to go home. Only struggle pays off!
We call for everyone to come to Calais on the night of the 26th and the morning of the 27th to resist the eviction of the camps! There was a time when we were isolated and powerless in the face of their repression, but now, after five years of struggle, we have all the means necessary to make a network of action. So let’s mobilize in force! Come fight along side the migrants!
*We must beat the authorities and it’s now or never!*
Emergency situation in Calais!
All squats and camps will be evicted in the next few days!
On May 27th, the three main camps of Calais will be destroyed by the police. More than 600 people live in these camps, which were won through constant migrant struggle after a long series of evictions. No solution has been proposed for the evicted migrants. Moreover, a social centre and two further squats are up for eviction starting on May 30. All told, more than 800 people will be put on to the street.
In this stopping point on the way to England, squatting is the only housing solution that exists. It is also a tool of resistance for migrants to protect themselves from the violence and police harassment to which they are subjected in the camps and in the city. Today, the mayor of Calais’ fight against squatting has reached a new low. This time she has proposed a law which would change the 48 hour period in which squats must be evicted (which is not officially set down in French law). We know very little about the content of this law, other than that it will make a clear attack on the right to housing for all. The entire future of squatting in France is endangered by this law.
We call all squatters to take action in their own cities to defend themselves from this grave threat to the right to squat. Moreover, we call all squatters, activists and militants to come fight this law where it was born: here, in Calais!
We call everyone to come and resist these evictions and to squat more empty buildings in Calais.
We call everyone who believes that after years of constant evictions with no solution for housing the migrants, this game of cat and mouse must end, because it takes place at the cost of the living conditions of refugees.
Antifascists, militants, activists, Zadists, freedom marchers: come support the struggle in Calais!