We – the people living in the jungle – are organising a peaceful demonstration on Tuesday 13th October at 10am, for our demands:
- No deportations
- Safe housing for everybody
- Open the border
Meet at Salam camp
Also we will have a celebration (for everybody in the jungle) on Monday 12th October from 1pm at the theatre in the jungle.
Lets go friends!”
Nous – qui vivons dans la jungle – organisons une manifestation pacifique ce mardi 13 Octobre à 10h, pour nos réclamons:
– Aucune déportations
– Un logement sécuritaire pour tout le monde
– Ouvrez la frontière
Rendez-vous au camp Salam
Aussi, nous aurons une fête (pour tout le monde dans la jungle) le lundi 12 Octobre à partir de 13 heures au théâtre dans la jungle.
Lets go amis! “
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.
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 there was a demonstration in Calais remembering the people killed, and calling for the border to be opened. Between 2 and 300 people took part, of all ages, from all of the nationalities living in the jungle, and also many French and other Europeans.
We met at the bridge at the entrance to the jungle at 2PM. Strips of red cloth were handed out as a symbol of remembrance and rage, which people wore as armbands or headbands or to cover their faces. Some carried placards each with the name of one of the people killed at the tunnel, on the road, murdered by the border and by the police. Some carried long banners with slogans written mainly in English and French, such as: “Open The Border”, “No Border for Immigrants”, “Stop Police Violence”, “Que Tombent Les Murs” (may the walls fall), “Liberons les frontieres”, “Mort pour La France” (Died for / by France).
The back of the march was brought up by an open truck which carried people when they got tired, and another van carrying water and other supplies. Behind them, the police, following and watching. It was a hot day with the sun beating down and little shade most of the way.
We walked part of the same long route people are taking every night, kilometres of hard road ending in hope or disappointment. From the camp down the long straight stretch past the chemical stink of the Huntsman Tioxide factory. Then to the port, and along the port fences and barbed wire that keep people from freedom. We stopped, shook the walls, shouted sorrow and anger, tied ribbons to the fence.
Then through the old town onto the city beach. A ceremony was held on the pier, with white kites flown, and paper boats cast into the water. There were lots of people on the beach on a hot Saturday afternoon, Calaisiens and tourists. Some were hostile, but quite a few more joined in the ceremony.
Once again, the main chant was the one demand, the same three words: “Open The Border”.
Every night hundreds of people, including children, make the long 3 hour walk from the “jungle” camp to the Eurotunnel, hoping to cross to England. This video from Jason Parkinson was made at the tunnel last night / this morning.
The border kills. Open The Border.
Saturday night was an extremely empowering but also disheartening night here in Calais. A group of 250 migrants organized together to go and try to make it inside the Eurotunnel, not to climb aboard a train but to walk the length of the tunnel to England. They walked for hours to get close to the entrance of the tunnel and managed to breach a layer of perimeter fencing only to come up against the recently reinforced fence that is electrified and topped with barbed and concertina wire. The group then went to the fence and started chanting in unison. They demanded the right to move wherever they choose, to live in dignity in Calais, and to be free of police violence. They also spoke the names of those who have recently died attempting the crossing in the Eurotunnel and laid the blame for those deaths at the hands of the police and politician’s whose policy they are enacting.
It was a very large and strong group, however on the other side of the fence were many Gendarmes and also active French military who were menacing their machine guns. The group’s chanting continued for around an hour until the point they started to make their move to try and push through the fence. People had gone down a hill and were lining a steep verge consisting of loose gravel. Those at the bottom, closest to the fence, started to try and make their way over it when suddenly the Gendarmes released a huge amount of ‘tear gas’ onto the crowd. Exactly what type of gas they used though is not clear. Having experienced it and after speaking with people afterward, it was very powerful; much more so than typical CS gas and had strong effects even at the top of the hill far from where it was sprayed. It also created a shortness of breath and a panicked feeling which suggests that it may have been CR gas. After the attack there were also people lying unconscious on the ground. Any use of gas here and particularly CR (if it was indeed that) was completely unnecessary and irresponsible. The panic that the gas created caused a stampede up the hill, but as the footing was so loose people were falling over one another trying to get away from the poison. It was difficult to breathe, see, or move in that area and many people got hurt trying to flee from the gas into a more open space. However, the group, after recovering from the attack, got together and held a meeting about what to do next. They decided to occupy the road leading to the freight terminal at the Eurotunnel, their aim, to stop traffic until they were heard.
The group walked for around one hour from the fence by the entrance to the tunnel to the turn off from the highway to the Eurotunnel terminal. They arrived at about 3am and occupied the road blocking trucks from entering the Eurotunnel terminal. They repeated their chants and demands. When the two vans of CRS that showed up tried to move them on the whole group sat down in the road and started chanting louder. The police were forced to stop trying to move them on and stand by, observing a peaceful protest by 150 migrants as they demanded their rights, dignity, and free movement. The road was occupied for around three hours. The group kept chanting and shouting, being led by one woman repeating that the borders be opened to them to stop the deaths here in Calais. The police appeared to be tolerating the peaceful protest, until around 6am when more companies of CRS arrived. The Commissariat of Calais came and asked the group to disperse. They were complying and starting to leave the motorway when the CRS became impatient and started pushing and shoving people off. The group went as fast as possible but they had to go over many guardrails which took time. The police then started to throw people over the fence and sprayed CS gas. After this clearing of the road, people were dispersing peacefully when all of the sudden a whistle was blown. The CRS then started to run after the two groups that had gone off in different directions. They beat anyone who came within reach while chasing them off. They sprayed CS gas against the people who were running away, one officer even reached his arm around somebody who was running away in order to spray him directly in the face. This was completely unnecessary and a sadistic attack on people participating in a peaceful protest.
What we can take from the night, despite the severe repression, was the strength the group had not only in trying to reach the Eurotunnel but also organizing to blockade the highway. Important to note though, was the difference in policing tactics given the level of media attention that each event had. At the tunnel there were many film crews and so the police for the most part did not attack except for their one gassing of the entire group. However, during the eviction which took place in the morning after all the news crews had gone to sleep they were typically brutal. In case anyone could forget the violence continues here daily but also the resistance.
Open the Border! Stop the Violence!
As agreed, the refugees occupying the food distribution center had breakfast together this morning. They formed two groups, those who will continue to eat and those who are fasting. Those fasting had slightly larger portions. They sat in the middle of the courtyard. Yesterday, they made a list of 53 people willing to get involved. By late morning, there were more than thirty of them waiting for those who had tried to cross that night to join them – something they will no longer be able to do during the fast. This afternoon, we should know more precisely how many will participate in the hunger strike.
Their spokesperson can be reached at 07 53 93 21 53 (he speaks English).
Here is the text of the call-out on which they agreed:
FROM THE MIGRANTS OF CALAIS
TO THE FRENCH AND BRITISH AUTHORITIES
After the destruction of our camps and our occupation of the food distribution center, French authorities came to meet with us two times. They told us that they would come again to speak with us on Thursday, June 3. Nobody came and we haven’t heard any news from them.
Today, Wednesday, June 11, some of us, with all of our support, will begin a hunger strike. We ask the French and British authorities to to resume the interrupted dialogue and meet with us without delay.
We remind them of our demands:
– Houses in Calais for all the migrants who wish to go to England and for asylum seekers who are forced to live in the street
– Houses with decent hygienic conditions: toilets, showers, garbage collection
– Houses where we can come and go whenever we like, in order to be able to continue trying to cross to England
– Houses protected from police controls, harassment and evictions
– Access to three meals a day
– Negotiations between France and the United Kingdom to allow people access to British territory.
originally published on http://passeursdhospitalites.wordpress.com