Sunday, 7 February 2010

Calais Update: Police Smash Their Way In

Below is the latest press release on the situation in Calais, as the police broke into the hangar this afternoon after the visiting migrants had left peacefully, fearing for their safety following the violence from the heavy police presence outside the Kronstadt hanger. The 30-40 activists inside we all arrested and taken away for questioning. The latest update indicates that the inside of the hanger has been trashed by the police and they have welded the front doors shut, preventing No Borders (who are legally renting the space) from entering). Meanwhile the routine harassment and arrest of migrants goes on and there continues to be a heavy police presence on the ground.


This afternoon, Sunday 7th February, police raided the Kronstadt Hangar in Calais, smashing glass doors and arresting those inside.

The hangar, a new space for migrants and activists in Calais rented by the No Borders network and the French organisation SoS Sans Papier [1], opened yesterday afternoon to immediate repression from the authorities.

After the opening police blockaded the streets around the hangar and tried to prevent migrants from entering. In spite of this 150 migrants went in to have tea and coffee.

When people tried to leave this lunchtime they were beated by police batons and several of them sustained injuries, including one who was hospitalised. Soon afterwards, police forced their way into the hangar, causing damage to the building and arresting those inside.

London No Borders condemns this repression of migrants and supporters in the strongest terms. Its spokesperson Thomas Hausberg said that "if providing even basic support to homeless and destitute migrants is considered a criminal offence, the state has lost all semblance of humanity."

It seems that this police repression and violence has been officially sanctioned. French Immigration Eric Besson has branded the Kronstadt Hangar "unacceptable" and in recent days Calais mayor Natasha Bouchart said she was prepared to use all means to prevent the space from opening. "Bouchart", commented Rosie Young, another No Borders activist, "seems to have a personal vendetta against the migrants".

This Tuesday London No Borders and No Borders Brighton are calling for a protest at 12.30pm outside the French Consulate in London.

London No Borders

For further comments please call 07535 319119 or e-mail

[1] At a press conference hosted by London No Borders last Thursday, it was explained that the aim of the Kronstadt Hangar is to provide a safe space for migrants and supporters to meet, to make the migrants visible and give them a voice of their own. For more details on the press conference see:
See also Guardian article from Thursday:

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