In Calais repression has escalated to unprecedented levels and the police are on the hunt for migrants day and night.
Arrests have increased dramatically since the end of November, as well as raids on squats and jungles. The new Pashto jungle is being raided over and over, with dozens of people arrested every time including several unaccompanied boys, some as young as 11 or 12. Police brutality is on the increase for beatings – a 13 years old boy has been injured in a leg by being hit with a truncheon. The CRS have been seen again using gas.
All new camps have been destroyed. After arresting everybody who does not manage to run or hide, the police slash the plastic covers with knives and destroy blankets and people's possessions. Two large urban squats are also under constant attack and police patrol the beach and the park arresting people there all the time.
Usually people are released after a few hours, or they have to spend 12 hours or more in the police station. They have to walk one hour to go back, including under age children, sick and injured people and people with papers (who have applied for asylum in France). Increasingly people are detained for longer, lately often taken to deportation centres other than Coquelles. They are routinely threatened they will be deported if they do not apply for asylum in France - to Afghanistan or other countries. Many people have finger prints in other ‘safe’ counties from where they have transited – such as Greece – and they may sent back there according to the Dublin2 agreements.
(note: there is evidence of police torturing migrants in Greece, two have been killed; illegal deportations from Greece to Turkey are a common occurrence –and from Turkey eventually to the countries the people are escaping from, in flagrant violation of the 1951 Convention on Refugees).
The migrants of Calais want to go to England and eventually make a claim for asylum there. They want to live without constant fear of arrest. Shakir said: "the public of Calais are good but the police are a problem". His friend Tariq said: "If I am in England I will celebrate Christmas, but I will probably spend my Christmas in the police station. "…Shakir is under 16. He is alone in Calais, on his journey from Afghanistan.
URGENT ACTION IS NEEDED TO OPPOSE THE REPRESSION AND THE VIOLENCE THE MIGRANTS ARE SUBJECTED TO.
Calais Migrant Solidarity have been present on the ground all the time since the No Borders camp in Calais (end of June).We now have an office space and a space where people can sleep – it can get pretty crowded though! More support is needed, especially since the repression is escalating. With Besson’s threat to make Calais ‘a migrant free zone’ by the end of the year in mind, we are calling for more activists to come and support.
If you want to get involved or just would like more information, please call 0634 810 710 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For more details and updates see:
Notes on the situation of the migrants in Calais after the 'humanitarian' and 'dignified' destruction of the migrants' camps:
Migrants: still here. At least 300 people go to food distributions in Calais . An estimate 2000 migrants have spread around the coast to safer places, or down South. The most visible result of the repressive immigration policies implemented by the French government is that life for the migrants has become unimaginably hard.
Smugglers: still here. In fact the price of a journey from Calais to England has pretty much doubled since the destruction of the jungles: the average cost for a 'guarantee' journey to the UK in the back of a truck is now 1500 euros. This is another remarkable result of the new immigration policies, despite the French immigration minister's worthless claims that the destruction of migrants camps was done 'with dignity' and for ‘humanitarian reasons’, and to defeat people’s smugglers. In fact the smugglers are profiting from people's misery and people are pushed further into the 'mafia’s' hands by the desperate conditions they are forced to live in.
Jungles: still here. The Pashto jungle has been razed to the ground, trees included, but people are sleeping in the woods nearby. The new camps have also been destroyed by the CRS (riot police) and people just shelter under bits of tarpaulin. The CRS keep going there and arrest all those who do not manage to escape, any time day or night. After, they slash the plastic covers with knives and destroy the blankets and people's property. It rains a lot. Hazara jungle: similar situation.
Iranian jungle: similar situation.
Kurdish jungle: similar situation.
Sudanese jungle: camp destroyed again and again, most people have gone to the beach (shelters have been destroyed also there) or to squats or they are trying to sleep rough in various places.
Bridges: gone. All the people who were sleeping under bridges, where at least they had some shelter from the rain, have moved elsewhere due to excessive police harassment and repeated destruction of tents and blankets.
Squats: still here. Africa house has been razed to the ground. Ethiopia house still here but under attack by the CRS. Recently evicted, everybody who did not manage to run or hide arrested and all blankets and people's property destroyed. People returned having nowhere else to go. Calais Migrant Solidarity and than Salam gave them new blankets and warm clothes. Later the police returned and arrested people again... and again
Another large squat inhabited by Egyptians, Palestinians and other Arabs plus many Afghans is also under attack.