This shows just how little it takes for the police in Calais to fire tear gas into people’s homes. There were several other incidents of tear gas being fired into the camp in the few hours after this one, each one aimed further into the camp, where people live, including children.
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Yesterday, (7th October) early evening, there was again teargas fired into the Jungle as there was a traffic jam on the motorway.
To stop people jumping on to lorries, police in full riot gear stood in their way to the entrance to this mortorway. There was crowds of people standing around aiming to cross on the motorway and into UK. The atmosphere changed, as the first round of tear gas was fired and the crowds dispersed. People gathered again and fought back with stones. This included many minors. As crowds grew, another round of tear gas was fired, the crowd dispersed and then slowly gathered again. This occurred repeatedly for over an hour. At one point there was music and dancing however as the crowd grown bigger and more gas was fired. At least 8 or 9 rounds of tear gas was fired, each time further into the jungle.
The police were also shooting the gas canisters directly at people, which is illegal in France. One man, at least was hit in the chest at quite short range from a canister.They were also deliberately aimed into people’s homes as gas canons were fired in direction of the Eritrean area on repeated rounds of tear gas. This extreme police violence happened indiscriminately and many children were amongst those where tear gas was fired.
It shows again not only the frequent and severe police violence but also that those without papers are those really challenging Europe’s border regime.
Hier (7 octobre), en début de soirée, comme il y avait un embouteillage sur l’autoroute, des gaz lacrymogènes ont été tirés dans la jungle.
Pour empêcher les gens de monter dans les camions, des policiers en tenue anti-émeute se sont postés sur la bretelle d’accès de l’autoroute. Tout autour, il y avait une foule de gens cherchant à traverser l’autoroute et à se rendre au Royaume-Uni.
L’atmosphère a changé lorsque les premières salves de lacrymogènes ont été tirées et que la foule s’est dispersée. Les gens se sont rassemblés de nouveau et ont résisté en lançant des pierres. Beaucoup de mineurs étaient présents. Alors que la foule grandissait une seconde salve de lacrymogène a été lancée par les flics, la foule s’est encore dispersée et s’est ensuite de nouveau regroupée. Ça a continué comme ça pendant plus d’une heure. À un moment donné il y avait de la musique et les gens dansaient au fur et à mesure que la foule grossissait et que plus de gaz lacrymogène était tiré.
Au mois 8 ou 9 salves de lacrymogènes ont été lancées, chaque fois plus loin dans la jungle. Les tirs ont été délibérément orientés en direction des maisons, vers la zone érythréenne. La manière dont les policiers utilisaient leurs armes est d’ailleus illégale, procédant à des tirs tendus. Une personne a été touchée par un cartouche en pleine poitrine tirée à courte distance.
Cela montre une nouvelle fois les violences policières fréquentes et graves, mais aussi, que ceux qui n’ont pas de papiers sont ceux qui défient vraiment le réfime européen des frontières.
Early this afternoon there was a traffic jam on the motorway near the jungle. Many people went there to try and get into the lorries. The police reacted by pushing them back in the jungle with use of batons and spray, and they fired tear gas on the jungle itself. At least 10 salvos of tear gas were fired indiscriminately into jungle near the part of the camp where many Eritrean women live, there are also children in that part of the jungle. People fought back with stones. The police are using intense violence to push people back into the jungle and prevent people from exiting. They also flew a drone over the jungle during the clashes to watch the people. One person is currently in hospital also having been shot in the stomach with a rubber bullet. Video here.
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.
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!
Ces images ont été capturées le 5 mai 2015, dès 8h du matin et tout au long de la journée, sur la branche d’autoroute menant au port ferry de Calais (A216). Ce sont juste quelques exemples du quotidien : l’ordinaire de la brutalité policière à l’encontre des candidats au passage entre Calais et l’Angleterre, qui tentent de se dissimuler dans les camions. Calais Migrants Solidarity entend aussi rappeler les conditions difficiles dans lesquelles ce travail peut être réalisé.
1- à 0’12, Trois membres des Compagnies Républicaines de Sécurité (CRS) forcent une personne qui s’était cachée dans un camion à repasser de l’autre côté de la barrière. L’un d’entre eux pousse violemment une personne et la projete ainsi vers le bas-côté. A la fin de la séquence (0’22”) un second policier décharge une salve de gaz lacrymogène à l’aide d’un spray alors que les deux exilés étaient déjà en train de fuir.
2 – à 0’28”, Un CRS évacue une personne qui s’était cachée dans un camion, et le projette violemment de l’autre côté de la glissière de sécurité.
3 – A 00’42”, Sur la bretelle d’autoroute A16, en direction de l’Eurotunnel. Une voiture de police ralentit et décharge une salve de gaz lacrymogène en passant à proximité d’un groupe de migrants se trouvant de l’autre côté de la barrière, comme pour les dissuader d’essayer de la franchir.
4 – à 00’51”, Une personne est violemment projetée à terre, hors du camion. Un membre des CRS la poursuit, lui assène plusieurs coups de pieds au sol. L’homme parvient à se relever et tente de s’enfuir, mais reçoit alors de nouveau coups de pieds et coups de poing. à 1’09, nouvelle salve de gaz lacrymogène par son collègue, à gauche sur l’image.
5 – à 1’15”, Un CRS évacue une personne qui s’était cachée dans un camion, et le projette violemment de l’autre côté de la glissière de sécurité.
6 – à 1’24”, Un CRS menace de sa matraque et court en criant afin de faire fuir un groupe de migrants, comme par jeu.
7 – 1’40” : Scène filmée le 22 avril 2015 à proximité de la bretelle de l’A16 et de l’Eurotunnel. Un des cameramen du groupe filmant les violences policières est poursuivi par la police, immobilisé et encadré par plusieurs policiers, il est jeté à terre, un genou sur sa tête.
8 – 1’55” : Un CRS frappe la glissière de sécurité avec sa matraque, menaçant un groupe de migrants.
Rappelons qu’en janvier dernier, l’ONG Human Rights Watch avait publié un rapport dénonçant les violences policières, entraînant une réaction condescendante, dénégatrice du ministère de l’Intérieur (“le Gouvernement déploie des réponses globales et adaptées.”).
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