Tagged: town hall

10/09/15: Evening sit in by the Syrians violently broken up by police and Natacha Bouchart visits the Jungle

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.


8th September protest of the Syrians at the Town Hall

There are nearly 300 Syrians stranded in Calais, including women and children. They gathered in front of the Town Hall. They are asking why the UK are not taking them. They do not want any help, they do not want benefits or money they just want to be allowed in the UK where they can work.The Syrians have been present in all the demonstrations with all other nationalities but Tuesday they decided to go on their own.


500 Migrants March to Calais Town Hall


Today approximately 500 people, mostly refugees, marched to the centre of Calais to protest for humane treatment and for the freedom of movement. The migrant-led demonstration  occupied the car park directly outside the the Town Hall, where people are telling their stories and demanding that their voices be heard. The speakers are also denouncing police violence and the deaths at the border while at their backs a police line is protecting the entrance to the Town Hall. They are demanding that the UK opens the border and let them in. They are demanding that France gives decent accommodation to those who asked for asylum in France, instead they are still in the jungle. Additionally 176 people went on a food strike (refusing the one meal a day that they get from the government in the camp) three days ago, so they have been on hunger strike for three days now.

Migrant-led demonstrations of this scale have not been seen in Calais for a long time, and with 3500 or more migrant people in Calais are likely to get bigger. The people have decided that their protests will continue until they get a result. When Natalie Bouchart felt the pressure to speak to migrants for the first time yesterday she had requested that no further demonstrations occur, and will surely be surprised by the events of today. There is a strong migrant movement in Calais, and it cannot be ignored.


In the evening there was another gathering in front of the Town Hall to protest the deaths in the Mediterranean and Europe’s inhumane migration policies. About 100 Calais citizens, activists, volunteers from associations and migrant people attended. Instead of holding the traditional one minute silence they let out a strong cry to express their anger.


Mayor once again attempts to segregate public spaces – this time banning football

Sunday, like every Sunday for more than two years, people of many nationalities gathered in the citadel, a sports area in Calais to play football

However in recent weeks it seems the Town Hall has decided it no longer wants ‘migrants’ to play football in public areas.

On Sunday, September 7, the group Sauvons Calais, supported by radical far-right organizations, demonstrate before the town hall of Calais. A ‘Football Against Racism’ tournament is organised in parallel on the grounds of the citadel, where they play every Sunday. But they find the citidel doors closed because of a decision of the municipality to prevent the tournament. So people decided to move the tournament to a different field, people had a great day and it finished beautifully with a rap battle.

On Sunday, September 14, people come again to train at the citadel as usual. The caretaker of the citadel tells them they are not allowed to play. They ask for an official written decision, there is none – so they start playing. Three officials from the Town Hall; Agius, Garnet and Mignonet with their favourite police ushers, came down personally to tell people the Mayor does will not allow them to play football on this public land. They say the Mayor has decided only liscenced clubs or children under 10 years old are allowed to play football here (or more like white-looking European people). Players decided to ignore this clearly racist attempt to stop them coming to this popular sports area, and continued to play.

So the national police were instructed to come on to the pitch and ask the players to leave the field. But the players refused, and people continued to play football.

On Sunday 21st people come again to play football at the citedel. The city council has put a sign at the entrance to the site to reserve the use of the licensed clubs and students, following on from their attempt last Sunday to deny access. The Deputy Mayor Mignonet, comes again accompanied by his other favourite users, bailiffs, to claim people playing football will be charged with ‘occupation of the land’. The bailiff became very aggressive when we asked him why it is no problem for other young people of Calais who were playing on the same field.

When interviewed by the local paper, it seems the Town Hall is wanting to extend this to every public space in Calais. If you want to play football, says Emmanuel Agius, you must request permission from the town hall unless you are under 10 years. Agius says, “You can walk in public places, but for the rest, you have to ask permission from the mayor. We do not play ball in the park, at least not that way! If they ask permission, the mayor will decide. Me anyway, I do not give a favorable opinion to the No Border: These convicts are clearly my enemies.” [1]

And so the Town Hall shows its alliances once again ; neo-Nazis fascists are given permission to have a platform outside the Town Hall to openly incite racist hatred and violence, while at-the-same-time, ‘migrants’ are banned – with assistance of cops and baliffs – from playing football or ‘the rest’ in public places. There are elected officials who consider municipal property as their private property, and can choose to exclude those they dislike.