At the moment we are getting a lot of questions about when the evictions are going to happen or start. Lets be clear, they started a long time ago. Just because the police have not gone into the jungles and squats and destroyed them in a big violent media spectacle, they have been happening and will continue for a long time.
They started when the plans for the new day centre were announced. They continued when they announced that everybody has no choice but to move to the land outside the centre, and no other living spaces will be tolerated. They continued when many people claiming asylum in Calais were re-homed to other cities in order to reduce the numbers of people on the ground. They continued when daily police violence and arrests increased dramatically over the last few weeks, making sure that people were tired and exhausted and with no energy left to face the police. They continued when they Offi and the police continue to visit living places, counting down the days until the police are coming, making sure people feel like they have no choice but to go.
Pschologically and physically harassing people into moving to a place they don’t want to go is an eviction. Maybe this has not been an eviction that makes for a good news report the way you write them, there are no dramatic photos, but it is an eviction none the less.
Last week (as we have said before) the women from the Women’s House were moved, against their wishes, to a new house inside of the day centre. Over the weekend everyone from the camp Tioxide and the Afghan jungle in Bois Debruille moved to the new day centre. They did not do this by choice. They did this under threat of arrest, violence, and destructions of their homes.
En ce moment nous recevons beaucoup de questions sur le moment où les expulsions vont se produire ou quand démarrer. Soyons clair- ils ont commencé il ya longtemps. Juste parce que la police n‘est pas allés dans les jungles et les squats pour les détruire de manière ultra spectaculaire, médiatique et surtout violente, il y’avait quand meme des expulsions et elles continueront encore pendant longtemps.
Les expulsion ont commencé lorsque le projet du nouveau centre de jour a été annoncés. Elles ont continué quand ils ont annoncé que toutes personnes n’aurait pas d’autre choix que d’aller sur le terrain autour du centre, et que aucun autre lieux de vie ne serait tolérée. Elles ont continué quand beaucoup de demandeur d’asile à Calais ont été placés, dans d’autres villes afin de réduire le nombre de personnes sur le terrain. Elles ont continué lorsque la violence et les arrestations au quotidien par la police ont considérablement augmenté pour faire un sorte que les gens étaient fatigués et épuisés et sans énergie pour faire face à la police. Elles ont continué quand l’Offi et la police ont visité regulièrement les lieux de vie, pour s‘assurer que les gens n’ont pas l’impression d’avoir d’autre choix que de quitter leurs lieux de vie.
D’harceler les gens psychologiquement et physiquement pour qu’ils se déplaçent à un endroit où ils ne veulent pas aller est une expulsion. Peut-être que cela n’a pas été une expulsion qui en fait un bon articledans le journals pour les journalistes qui vivent de la sensation- il n’y a pas de photos spectaculaires, mais ce mine de rien une expulsion.
La semaine dernière (comme nous l’avons déjà dit) les femmes de la Maison des femmes ont été déplacés, contre leur volonté, à une nouvelle maison à l’intérieur du centre de jour. Au cours du week-end tout le monde du campement Tioxide et de la jungle afghane à Bois Debruille s’est déplacé vers le nouveau centre de jour. Ils ne l‘ont pas fait par choix. Ils l’ont fait sous la menace d’arrestation, la violence et les destructions de leurs maisons.
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.
A 28 year old man from Ethiopia died in Calais in unexplained circumstances of the 14th of February. His friends had left him in the morning, and when they returned to their camp in the evening, he was dead. He died alone in a little makeshift shelter in a makeshift camp near the big jungle Tioxide.
Two doctors attended the scene: the first a female doctor who arrived with the paramedics, who said there was a bruise on the man’s nose. The second doctor from the police recommended that a post-mortem is made. Some of his friends are saying that three days before the man was beaten by a lorry driver.
People from the Ethiopian community came from all around Calais; tioxide, Bois Debruille, Galloo and the women’s house to grieve together.
The price for your borders is too high. We will never forgive and we will never forget
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 September 5 a few hundred migrants demonstrated joyously in the streets of Calais to demand that they be able to cross to England and that police violence stop. They were also demonstrating against racism, for liberty and for respect for human rights.
On September 7, over 200 people, sympathisers of ‘sauvons calais’, held a demonstration with the mayor’s blessings on the square before the town hall. Speeches were given by various members of the ultra extreme right, there were fascists banners and fascist salutes in the assembly. An investigation will be opened. A counter demonstration was organized by the antifa in the region to protest against the fascist gathering. On the same day, the citizens wanted to organize a festive footbal match in the old city, the field in the old city where the migrants have played for 2 years already was declared forbidden by the town hall on that occasion. The tournament took place anyway on an appropriated field and it finished beautifully with a rap battle. Continuing on the same path since then, the town hall continues to forbid migrants from playing football on ‘it’s’ field, and sends officers accompanied by guard dogs to prevent people from occupying the field every Sunday. They have even shown an interest in filing a complaint against ‘illicit occupation’.
They continue to arrive in dozens to Calais and nearby… There are about 1500 in Calais. Some of them are staying at Tioxide, a squatted field, and in the surrounding dunes. The others are in squats or other fields around Calais. 300 are in ‘Fort Galloo’ , an enormous squat opened during the demonstration on July 10. Cohabitation is problematic due to stress, repression, regular menacing from the Calais fascists and exhaustion. The enforcement judge, the last judge to take a decision on the squat, after an initial decision to evict in August, authorized scientific experts to inquire and will reconvene on the 24 and 25 of September to give a final decision on October 17
Crossing and Repression
For several weeks the migrants have gathered en masse along the motorway at the entry to the port to try to clime onto lorries that are in traffic. They regularly try their luck entering the port en masse. A new CRS company has been called to try to stop them from crossing, and we’ve regularly heard stories of violence (gassing the inside of the trucks, beatings) and seen injuries among the migrants. There are countless instances of intimidation, police agression, injuries at the port, around the jungles and in the city.
The Extreme Right
Several activists have been subject to verbal and/or physical agression by individual fascists during the past weeks. Those noxious individuals are very present and don’t hesitate to provoke the humanitarians, the migrants or sympathizers with nazi salutes. At the beginning of the month a 15 year old girl was assaulted by fascists and given death threats. On 19/09 some individuals threw molotov cocktails at a squat which housed primarily Egyptians with children.Vigilance in the face of these provocations adds a new stress that we don’t really need.
The Game FR/UK
A new UK-Franco Joint Declaration has been made. They decided together to create a ‘common fund in the framework of an agreement on the struggle against clandestine immigration at the Calais port’ which ‘would allow to wind down the crisis that has plagued the migration question in Calais for several years’ : Translation : Re-inforce the borders, increase repression, coordinate with third countries to facilitate expulsions… plus a tiny bit of humanity so as not to lose face !
The situation is become equally difficult to manage in Calais for the activists, the militants, the humanitarians, the migrants and… the CRS !
Calais is the mirror of what happens at all the borders to Europe : Mellila, Lampedusa, Greece, Tunisia, Bulgaria…….
Thousands of people try to reach Europe, a place of peace and serenity for them. Even if the hospitality in Europe and the UK is problematic, they know that they won’t die of hunger there and they won’t be hit by bombs. And Europe doesn’t see where the problem is and they ban crossing while constructing a fortress, an army, walls, continuing to send arms to rebels or non rebels, crying danger about one or another ‘terrorist’ group and continuing to empty the African soil of all of its riches.
On the Programme in the Following Weeks :
Increased difficulties for migrants in crossing, growing tensions everywhere, evictions of places of living, deportations en masse to countries of transit or departure…… and new arrivals of migrants from Italy, Choucha, Spain, Greece….
Already on 23/09/2014 in Paris: a hundred people, mostly Sudanese and Eritrean, were stopped in a raid at pont de la Chapelle at 6 :30 and taken to the police station.
The Work on Our Plates:
Today there are 4 of us on the ground in Calais, that doesn’t help us much to meet the high challenges that are presented to us. There is also a lot of work to do surrounding spreading information to different communities on the repressive decisions that have been taken, on constructive tools on the growing risks of deportation, for example : France successfully deported a Sudanese person to Sudan on September 17 and has been reserving flights to Khartoum since the start of the summer.
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.