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.”).
Plus d’information :
On Wednesday the 15th of April 2015 one of our cop watch teams captured this footage of two CRS riot police handing a truck driver their batons, with the intention of assisting him in the illegal assault of refugees found in the back of his lorry. We have heard many stories from migrants about how the police beat them in the back of trucks where you are ‘at their mercy’ and there are no witnesses. This sadistic tactic is used to deter refugees travelling to Britain. The footage was captured near the entrance of the Euro-Tunnel and shows French police breaking French law by handing a lorry driver their weapons and watching as he uses them to assault or intimidate unarmed and vulnerable people inside his vehicle. You see the police handing their batons to the driver at 1 minute 16 seconds and 1 minute 50 seconds in the video.
At 2 minutes 53 seconds you see a migrant coming out of the truck. From 4 minutes 10 seconds you can see the CRS van registration AL 178 JH, despite distortion created by the heat of the day. We apologize for filming this crime at long range and not intervening but have learned from bitter experience that making ourselves known to the police results in cop watch teams being assaulted, arrested and having their cameras destroyed, leaving the violence to continue undocumented. This video clearly shows the French state breaking its own laws in order to assist the British state in its dirty and illegal war of intimidation against refugees. Unfortunately this is not an exceptional incident but an example of the disgusting tactics deployed every day to enforce the border in Calais.
Neighbours on the east side of the new migrant jungle located near the Jules Ferry Day Centre have paid a contracter to dump large amounts of earth along the encampment. The intention of the erected embankment seems to be to block the view of the jungle from the neighbours large county farmhouse and to stop black people walking near their house.
People living in the jungle came out to protest, sitting on the dirt as construction trucks dumped earth dangerously close to spectators. The police stood by to enforce this construction. Since when is it an issue for the police to enforce construction? Not even on the neighbours land ? Or with a building permit ?
Some people told the police the only reason they are building the embankment is because they are black. That if they were white, it would not happen. Immeadiatly after the trucks and the police left, many people began working together to dig through the wall, to reopen an entrance into the camp.
It seems that the cops are trying to make their presence felt in the new jungle.
Running above and alongside it, the highway gives a good vantage point for the police to look in on the new jungle. So far there have been many visits from police, just sitting there and spying in from the highway.
There have been reports of police inside the jungle, looking around the camps people have built, and of a helicopter over the space.
Also, it seems that people are being controlled when they come back into the jungle.
As of today the police have failed to come to evict any of the places. Their threats seem to be another tactic of intimidation and exhaustion, forcing people to wake up early.
The ultimatum to leave for the people in front of the BSMO is friday 6am, the one for the church at 10am.
there is a request for people to be there in the night and in the morning to support them the moment the police will come.
please spread this info.
la police plannifier des qctions pour demain, vendredi
L’ultimatum de quitter pour les personnes en face de la BSMO est vendredi 6 heures, l’une pour l’église à 10h.il ya une demande pour les gens d’être là dans la nuit et le matin pour les soutenir au moment où la police viendra.
la police ne est pas allé Galloo avec le même message, mais il est possible qu’ils y aller demain aussi.
s’il vous plaît diffuser cette information.
People living in the jungles around Tioxide had an unwelcome wake up call for the second time in 2 days this morning when around 40 police took an uninvited visit into the camp to look inside peoples tents and hang around. Some people’s documents were checked. We can guess they came to count how many are living there and generally to scare people in the build up to evictions at the beginning of April. They didn’t even bring coffee and croissants. Maybe next time…
This is an addition to a previous blog post on Friday where we said:
The people in the Sudanese jungle had an unwelcome visit from the police and people from the town hall this morning. They were told to leave by the end of March, or the police would come to close the camp.
In actual fact, most of the major living spaces; Tioxide, Bois Debruille, the people staying outside the BCMO (the old cold weather shelter) and the people from the Syrian Church were also visited on Friday, all receiving the same message.