Tagged: police

Police Violence

Attacks in Calais against migrants have increased massively in the past few months in both severity and frequency. We have seen many migrants beaten by police causing broken legs, arms and facial injuries. We have also heard many reports of police chasing migrants into busy motorways, which have been the cause of deaths over the last few months. Last week an Eritrean man was hit by a car whilst being chased by police, luckily he survived but others didn’t.

On Friday 19th December I was witnessed a similar attack by police forcing people to run in front of traffic. Several Eritrean men were sitting on a dividing barrier along the motorway near Leader Price waiting for truck traffic to back up on the road.

A Peugeot Police Nationale car with three officers inside pulled up on the other side of the road behind the sitting men. They opened the doors and sat with their legs out of the car, hands on batons ready to charge at the men sitting on the barrier. At that moment the road was clear, with a group of trucks approaching at about 50 – 60 mph. The police rushed at the men right before the truck was going to pass, running at them with their batons out and forcing the migrants to flee in front of the moving truck.

The truck driver repeatedly hit his horn but made no attempts to slow down, seemingly just annoyed by the migrants for ‘being in his way.’ The men narrowly passed before the truck with the last man less than half a meter from being run down.

After the attack I saw the three police laughing and mocking the migrants, clearly taking a lot of pleasure in causing pain and suffering.

It is obvious to me after witnessing this attack by the police that it was fully their intention to cause serious injury or death to the migrants. The police in Calais are actively creating situations in which deaths of migrants is a likely outcome.

Other witnesses have told of similar incidents, including in the death of an unknown man on 1st December 2014 and police pushing migrants into the cold winter water whilst beating them with batons.

Racism in the police is extremely apparent and the feeling of being untouchable seems to be increasing which in turns increases their confidence to attack migrants more and more brutally.

The police are currently operating without any fear of justice. They attacks are carried out away from the eyes of the local Calais population, against undocumented and unaccounted migrants. No Border activists have been making attempts to film police during attacks but so far have been arrested and had their cameras destroyed with high voltage electricity at the police station.


Les attaques contre les migrants à Calais ont augmenté massivement au cours des derniers mois à la fois en ce qui concerne gravité et la fréquence. Nous avons vu de nombreux migrants se faire battre par la police causant des fractures importantes au niveaux des bras et des jambes ainsi que des blessures au visage. Nous avons aussi beaucoup entendu parlé de la police chassant migrants, les forçant à s’échapper en traversant l’autoroute. Ce type d’attaque a été la cause de décès au cours des derniers mois. La semaine dernière, un homme a été érythréen heurté par une voiture tout en étant pourchassé par la police, il a heureusement survécu, mais d’autres ne ont pas eu cette chance.

Le vendredi 19 Décembre j’ai été témoin d’une attaque similaire par la police forçant les gens à courir devant dans le trafic. Plusieurs hommes érythréens étaient assis sur une barrière de séparation le long de l’autoroute près de Leader Price attentant d’avoir la voie libre pour traverser sans danger. Une voiture Peugeot Police Nationale avec trois officiers se sont arrêtés tous près des hommes Erythréen assis de l’autre côté de la route. Ils ont ouvert les portes et se sont assis avec les jambes hors de la voiture, les mains sur matraques, prêt à charger les hommes assis sur la barrière. A ce moment, la route était clair, suivi par un un groupe de camions approchant à environ 50 à 60 mph. La police à chargé sur les hommes juste avant que le camion passe, courant leur matraques à la main et forçant les migrants à fuir devant le camion roulant à toute allure.

Le conducteur du camion a frappé à plusieurs reprises son klaxon, mais n’a fait aucune tentative pour ralentir, apparemment juste agacé par les migrants «d’être sur son chemin». Les hommes ont passé de justesse avant que le camion passe. Le dernier homme à passé à moins d’un demi-mètre de se faire écraser.

Après l’attaque, je ai vu les trois policiers en riant et se moquant des migrants, en prenant manifestement beaucoup de plaisir à causer de la douleur et de la souffrance.

Il est évident pour moi après avoir assisté à cette attaque de la par de la police qu’il était pleinement leur intention de causer des blessures graves ou même la mort des migrants. La police à Calais créent activement des situations dans lesquelles la mort des migrants est un résultat probable.

D’autres témoins ont partagé que des incidents similaires, y compris la mort d’un homme inconnu le 1er Décembre 2014 et la police poussant migrants dans l’eau froide d’hiver tout en les frappant avec des matraques.

Le racisme dans la police est extrêmement apparent et le sentiment d’être intouchable semble être en augmentation qui à son tour augmente leur confiance pour attaquer les migrants de plus en plus brutalement.

Les policiers agissent actuellement sans aucune crainte de la justice. Leurs attaques sont menées loin des yeux de la population locale Calais, contre les migrants sans papiers et portées disparues. Des militants No Border ont fait des tentatives pour filmer la police au cours d’attaques mais jusqu’ici ils ont été arrêtés et leurs caméras a été détruites avec l’électricité à haute tension aux poste de police.

Update from the Syrian protest in Calais

Today was the fourth day of our peaceful protest to ask for safe and legal access to the UK to claim asylum. We decided to walk to the port to deliver our letter directly to UK immigration authorities. As we were accompanied by journalists and others with cameras we were given no problems by police on our walk to the port. On arrival we took up position opposite the port whilst 3 of us and some people with cameras tried to enter the port by the footbrigdge. Here we were stopped by security who were soon joined by police, CRS and gendarmerie. Claiming it was private property they refused us entry to the port, saying we had no right of access, and they also refused to allow us to stay on the footbridge.

We are very disappointed to not be able to talk with UK authorities in a peaceful and civil manner. We will continue our protest tomorrow and thereafter until the UK government listens to our demands. Join us 2pm at old Salam, Rue Moscou, Calais.

The Syrians in CalaisP1080228 Screenshot from 2014-11-09 21:44:26 Screenshot from 2014-11-09 21:39:48

Mise à jour de la lutte syrienne à Calais

Aujourd’hui est le quatrième jour de notre lutte pacifique pour l’accès sûr et légal au Royaume-Uni dans le but de demander l’asile. Nous avons décider de marcher jusqu’au port pour délivrer notre lettre directement aux autorités anglaises. Comme nous étions accompagnés de journalistes, et d’autres personnes avec des caméras, nous n’avons eu affaire à la police lors de notre marche jusqu’au port. En arrivant nous avons pris position en face du port pendant que trois d’entre nous et quelques personnes avec des caméras ont essayé d’entrer dans le port par le pont piéton. De là nous avons été stoppés par la sécurité qui a vite été rejointe par la police, les CRS et la gendarmerie. Sous prétexte que le site soit une propriété privée, ils nous ont refusé l’entrée au port, en disant que nous n’avions aucun droit d’entrer, et ils ont aussi refusé de nous laisser rester sur le pont piéton.

Nous sommes très déçus de ne pas avoir la possibilité de parler avec les autorités anglaises de manière pacifique et civile. Nous allons continuer notre lutte demain et les jours suivants, jusqu’à ce que le gouvernement anglais écoute nos demandes.

What a mess…

Today has seen an eviction decision concerning Fort Galloo by the court, and the return of fascist scumbags in town.

After a long juridicial procedure the judge has made a final decision on the squat cannot remain. As of yet there is no date for eviction set by the prefecture (lazy shitheads). Meanwhile no alternative provision for the migrants has been offered, the women’s shelter is already over capacity, and promise of a daycenter is nothing but an empty gesture.

As if this wasn’t enough we had to suffer Marine le Pig coming with her fascist cronies to show their faces in order to spread their politics of hate and to benefit from the frustrations in Calais. Whilst about 100 fash turned out to see the Queen of the Right, about 30 anti-fascists came out to disrupt Marine’s airtime on the TV/radio. As usual, the police protected the fascists which resulted in 1 anti-fa being punched in the stomach by a high ranking police officer and another had their finger broken by a cop.

At this time of humanitarian crisis which calls for political innovation we see nothing but the same tired reactionary, racist politics being facilitated by the police. In the end the only “solutions” that have materialised are 100 extra cops and a NATO security fence all in the name of securing the border for the UK. With over 2,000 migrants in Calais and winter on its way, perhaps now is the time to try opening the borders…?

Police attacks

There is quite a lot of police violence at the moment, especially during the attempt of crossing and around Tioxyde (which is near to the port). A lot of people have been gazed inside the trucks, beaten, and some have broken body parts. It’s quite hard to challenge this violence as it is happening in different areas and at anytime. People have made collective crossing attempts to go inside the port, and this have been used to legitimate this increase of police violence.

Demonstration against police violence

On Friday 5th September a few hundred people came together in Place d’Armes in a demonstration to demand better living conditions and an end to police violence.

See the statement for the demo here

Pentax Digital Camera

Pentax Digital Camera

demo

One person from Sudan with a broken leg and walking on crutches says “its police who attacked me, its like this always on trains, in the street or at the border”. Several more people in the demonstration had bruised or broken arms or legs from being attacked and assaulted by police.

Racist ID police operations at Calais train station / Controles d’identite racistes a la gare de Calais

En français ci-dessous:

Link to a video from the 13th of August

IMG_7938The French state is continuing it’s desperate attempt to control people’s movement in Calais. A new repressive tactic in recent days involves major police operations against migrants arriving at the Calais train station.

We have observed these operations at the Calais Ville train station every day since 10 August. The police arrive in force, cordon off all the exits to the station, and then perform document checks on people coming off the train. They only check the papers of people without white skin, letting white passengers walk past unmolested. (An example of this can be clearly seen in the video footage shot on 13 August. First a number of white passengers leave the train without being stopped by the police; then a number of black passengers get off, all of whom are controlled.)

These operations have involved large numbers of officers from the CRS, Police Nationale, PAF frontier police, and also BAC undercover officers. The operations have not always led to arrests. In the operations we observed, we saw 8 arrests on the 10th of August, 0 arrests on the 11th, 1 arrest on the 13th and 2 arrests on the 14th. For sure, there have been other operations when we were not present. As well as using large amounts of resources and numbers of officers to catch a small number of people, these controls militarize the space, psychologically intimidating people traveling through Calais.

We suspect these operations may be part of a national strategy, as they coincide with other large police activities in cities including Lille and Paris – where there have been large numbers of arrests at migrant camps as well as at the Gare Du Nord train station.

IF YOU ARE IN CALAIS: these operations seem to be happening at unpredictable times, during the evening but also in the daytime. If you have some free time, why not pass by the station and see if anything is going on. If you see a racist police control, please call us on 07 58 62 58 63.

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L’État français continue ses tentatives désespérées de contrôle de
mouvements de populations à Calais. Une nouvelle tactique répressive ces
derniers jours a entraîné d’importantes opérations policières contre les
migrants arrivant à la station de train de Calais.

Nous avons observé ces opérations policières à la gare tous les jours
depuis le 10 août. La police arrive en nombre, fermant toutes les
sorties de la gare, et vérifie les identités des personnes qui sortent
des trains. Ils demandent les papiers seulement aux gens de couleurs,
laissant les personnes blanches continuer leur chemin tranquillement. Un
exemple clair de cette discrimination peut être vu sur la vidéo
suivante: d’abord des passagers
“blancs” sortent du train sans être arrêtés par la police, puis des gens
de couleur sortent et sont touTEs contrôlées.

Ces opérations ont entraîné l’augmentation du nombre d’agents de la
police nationale, de la PAF, de la bac et de CRS. Ces opérations ne
donnent pas toujours lieu à des arrestations. Le 10 août huit personnes
ont été arrêtés, le 11 pas d’arrestation, le 13 une personne, et le 14
deux personnes. D’autres arrestations ont certainement eu lieu en notre
absence. Non seulement ces rafles mobilisent un grand nombre de
policiers, mais permet aussi de militariser la zone, intimidant ainsi un
grand nombre de personne de venir à Calais.

Il est probable que ces opérations fassent parties d’une stratégie
nationale, qui coïnciderait avec d’autres opérations policières à Lille
et à Paris, où de nombreuses arrestations ont eu lieu sur des camps,
ainsi qu’à la gare du Nord.

Si vous êtes à Calais : ces opérations on l’air d’avoir lieux de manière
aléatoire, de jour comme de nuit. Si vous avez du temps de libre, passez
à la gare, voir ce qui s’y passe. Si vous voyez des contrôles de police
racistes, appeler le 07 58 62 58 63.

IMG_7934

Another illegal eviction in Calais

After Natasha Bouchart, Senator-Mayor of Calais, presented her new anti-squatting law in the senate last week, the illegal evictions continue in Calais.

A new house was opened in Calais on the weekend of May 31st to 1st June. After a week of going unnoticed (to avoid possible eviction without a trial in the first 48 hour), the occupation was made public on Sunday, June 8 (despite some confusing information announcing it as “the next opening” published on the website of La Voix du Nord on Saturday, June 7th ), and the first contact was made with passersby, neighbors and the bar newsagent opposite. Some of them considered the occupation of this house, which has been empty for three years, totally legitimate. Another house on the street about fifty yards away is already squatted.
That same day, at 11am, the police came by for the first time accompanied by a someone from the Calais OPH (Office of Public Housing), who tried to open the door. After a lot of reflection and many key turns in vain, they concluded that this house did not belong to them. The police then refused to take the evidence of the occupation that was presented to them (Attestation of Justice testimonies, photos, screen shots) kept together in a closed letter officially stamped the 2nd June and also a second copy of the same evidence provided separately. A journalist present at the time later interviewed the Mayor, who said she would file a complaint and send a safety inspection team there next Tuesday to see if the building might be suitable for public use.
On Monday 9th June, chairs, mattresses and other furniture were brought to 86 rue Massena to make the space more comfortable. But at 18:00, half a company of CRS police turned up with the owner. Using a battering ram, the CRS destroyed the door (on which the police had not found any traces of a break-in). The four people in the house were arrested, handcuffed and then taken away. The cops justified this operation with the testimony of a neighbor (a”friend of the owner,” in his own words) who stated that the building was empty Sunday 8th at 5 am. The inhabitants were asleep in the house at this time.
What is the point of certificates of justice and witness statements by other neighbors if the word of the owner’s friend alone is enough to say that a building is empty? … A perfect pretext for an eviction.
Thirty minutes after the evacuation, city services were already there to “secure” the house. The police said that people would be able to get their belongings back from inside, but were later prevented from doing so. The municipal services of Calais locked everything inside. In Calais, they throw you onto the street without so much as a blanket.
The occupants were only informed of the fact that they had been arrested after being locked up. One person was deprived of water and a blanket throughout their detention (20 hours) and another, who is asthmatic, had to wait several hours to retrieve their inhaler.
For anyone who needs a roof, Calais remains a lawless zone, or rather a zone where the law is manipulated and stretched according to the will of its political representatives.
Besides, if this legal system was ever respected for the sake of justice (a blinding illusion), how can it be that the offense of property damage in a group, which is often used to justify the arrests, then disappears and leaves, after release, only prosecutions for the refusal to submit DNA samples and fingerprints . Maybe we can see here a fertile ground for defense lawyers who’ve been broken down by the shitty politico-police maneuvers and whose actions in the past have brought their fruit in terms of dismissals and other abandoned cases.
This is hardly the worst abuse in Calais, but still it seems important to make this story known. As in other cases, we shouldn’t let ourselves get used to the bitter taste of an ever more impossible to swallow, failed democracy which has nothing more to offer than batons, arrogance and still other, less and less sustainable “legal frameworks”: there is still time to vomit.
All four of the arrestees, two under their own names, will appear on 22nd July at TGI Boulogne-sur-mer for refusal to provide DNA and fingerprints. The two others, registered as only as X, face the same charges.

Housing for all!

The Occupation Continues

Tomorrow, the occupation of SALAM by the inhabitants of the three camps evicted yesterday will enter its fourth day. They arrived early Tuesday morning, in anticipation of the destruction of their homes, at the food distribution center, which is normally closed except for an evening meal (and lunch on the weekend). They were looking for a safer space to stay, protected from the wind, the rain and the police, but also for a place to take a stand, to demand access to basic services and political consideration from the government, locally and across Europe.

Over the course of the day Wednesday, as bulldozers razed the grounds where more than 600 people had found shelter, people continued to join the occupation. Members of all the communities represented in Calais came together to plan a response to the brutality of the prefect’s orders and the uncertainty of their own situation. They decided to stay in SALAM, demanding that the prefect make an offer for their future or at least tell them where, in the end, he thought they would go now. Instead, he sent the police.

Shortly before 10:00 am, the gendarmerie cut through the fence and attempted to enter the grounds by force. Barricades were quickly assembled and those who managed to break through were forced to retreat. Confused and seemingly without any plan for how to proceed, they stood mutely on the Rue de Moscou, waiting orders.Meanwhile Serge Szarsynski, the director of the Direction départementale de la cohésion sociale, had been charged with the difficult task of convincing everyone to get on a bus surrounded by hundreds and hundreds of cops and go – somewhere. Where, he could not say (at first, he claimed Sécours Catholique, a rumor they vigorously denied), but he promised it would be very nice there and everyone would be happy and clean. Few people were impressed. The charitable mask stretched over this operation (treatment of disease, hygienic concerns, etc.) was beginning to tear and the bared teeth of racism were visible beneath.

Soon, he was forced to start negotiations with representatives of the occupiers. At first he demanded they leave SALAM before he would speak with them, threatening them with a police charge, but the occupiers resolved to stay until concessions were made. Szarsynski backed down and began shuttling back and forth between the occupiers and the prefect. In the end, he promised they would be allowed to remain in SALAM until Friday, and asked that they leave during the next day in small groups to find somewhere out of the way. He did not know or care where they might go, as long as no one would have to see them, but he promised they would not be harassed on their way.

Just like the government’s scare tactic of scabies, Szarsynski’s story began to fall apart very quickly. Several Afghans who accepted the offer of a shower and blanket found themselves 150 km outside of Calais, spending the night in a SAMU social (homeless shelter) – hardly the hotel room they had been promised. That night in the city, some men caught by the police were beaten severely. The message was clear: when the cameras are gone, one way or another, we will make you disappear.

As the occupiers discussed that night and into the following day, many voices demanded something more: it’s not enough just to be ignored and moved out of the public eye, where the police can attack, as they always have, with impunity. “We want rights,” one man said. “We want education. We put our lives on hold to come here, to flee from war and persecution, but we did not come here to live in tents and jungles. We want to start our lives again. We are not animals. Here, I eat once a day and I shower once a week. I am a human being.”

At the end of a long discussion and debate, involving several hundred people and up to six languages, they decided to act “as one hand,” together, finding strength in solidarity. They will remain in SALAM tomorrow morning and stay for as long as they can, demanding a solution, both to their immediate problems and to the larger political situation which created them. They demand a new location in the city of Calais, where they can live together, whether they decide to stay in Calais or continue their journey to England or elsewhere. They demand the creation of sanitary facilities, showers, toilets and laundry. They call for a meeting with the Prefect to address their demands and for a response from the politicians of Europe, who have trapped them here in Calais, and now expect them to disappear.

They also ask for the continued support of the people and associations of Calais and for solidarity across Europe and the world. They ask for you to come and help, to contribute food and infrastructure, to stand at their sides when the police arrive and to fight the border here and everywhere!