Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Calais Update

Following a noisy and successful demonstrations outside the French Embassy in London yesterday and outside the meeting* between the chief of police for the Calais area and the humanitarian associations, which let the French authorities know that the migrant support networks will not let them get away with further brutalisation of the Calais diaspora, last night in the Jungles passed relatively quietly.

From activists in Calais: "We spent the night in the main jungle with migrants who were more visibly shaken than usual by the deportation threats. Some patrolled other jungles in cars in an attempt to monitor the police. It has been a night of people arriving from Netherlands, Belgium, UK and other parts of France to show solidarity with the migrants in Calais. Early in the morning CRS riot police shot tear gas into the Pastun jungle and beat up and removed five people. Unfortunately this is nothing new in Calais these days.

"Some UK and Dutch press arrived. The morning saw Eritrean and Iranian migrants being stopped and detained on the streets of Calais; again nothing new. Whether this meant 48 hours detention or deportation for the Iranians we don’t know. The racism of police actions was visible in their removal of black sans papiers while white activists refusing to show ID were let go as we watched our friends being taken away giving us the thumbs up from the windows of the unmarked police van. We condemn these acts of terror. As the repression continues the links between migrant activists and resident activists grow.

"We are tired and angry at what we see and learn, but for the migrants and activists dealing with this situation this is a daily test on the nerves. Maybe this ‘rehearsal’ by the police is to test our limits. But it only seems to strengthen people's resolve as more of us arrive to support the jungles."

* Where the sous prefecture sought to reassure the associations that the clearing of the Jungles was not imminent but refused to give any further information.

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