At 10am today, the No Borders network (1) officially reopened the Kronstadt Hangar (2) in Calais to the migrant population. This follows the first public opening on Saturday 6th February, and the subsequent violent police eviction the following day (3).
The major of Calais ordered the eviction of the Hangar on alleged grounds that the hangar was not fit for public use, so the Kronstadt Hangar is now open as a private space for members of SoS Soutien o Sans Papiers only. All migrants and activists inside the hangar have official membership.
The hangar is presently open to migrants from 10:00 until 18:00. The hangar is not just a humanitarian space but also a space for political discussion and debate, as well as various cultural and entertainment exchanges.
Marie Chautempts says "while the authorities are blocking any shelter proposals, migrants in Calais are facing one of the coldest winters in recent history and a constant ritual of police harassment. The situation is degrading and goes against any common understanding of decent behaviour towards other human beings. Something has to be done, so we are fighting to creating to a space for migrants to come and engage in activities at their leisure."
It is to be noted that at the time of writing the circumstances regarding another police intervention are unknown. However, on the new front door of the hangar Article 1 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (4) has been painted. Any violent police intervention into the hangar is regarded as contrary to human rights law.
Tim Wallace says "another violent eviction will not deter us, we will not stand by and watch human beings being treated as animals. 8 years of violence and migrants are still in Calais because there is no recognition of the reasons behind migration from places such as Afghanistan, Darfur and Iran."
Calais Migrants Solidarity.
Notes to editors
(1) The No Borders network is a global movement of individuals and groups fighting for the right to freedom of movement for people, not just for the Lorries that make sections of European society rich. Since the No Border Camp held in Calais in June 2009, No Borders activists have had a constant presence in Calais under the banner of Calais Migrant Solidarity. We have monitored and documented police abuse and violent, collectively resisted evictions, organised humanitarian aid distribution, and made direct interventions for the rights of migrants.
(2) As a continued act of resistance and solidarity with undocumented migrants in Calais No Borders have rented the Kronstadt Hangar for the months of February and March, together with SoS Soutients O Sans Papiers. The Hangar is in between the port and the centre of Calais.
(3) On Saturday evening, about 100 migrants came to the warehouse with the intention of entering. They were met by two separate lines of French police on either side of the hangar. Shouting “freedom! freedom!”, the migrants and No Borders activists pushed through the police lines and successfully occupied the hangar. Donations of blankets, extra-clothes, basic mattresses and hot tea were provided for the migrants.
However, after a safe and secure night, 75 CRS police arrived on Sunday afternoon and forcibly evicted the new space by smashing down the front glass doors. 12 activists were arrested, but later released, while one was taken to hospital.
(4) Article 1 reads:"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood."