Enough is Enough: ongoing repression in Calais
Friday, August 21, 2009
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! Let's act now to denounce and resist the repression of migrants in the Calais region.
Following Besson's declaration to make Calais a "zero-migrant zone" before the end of 2009, the destruction of jungles, mass evictions of squats and subsequent forced deportations look likely to take place over the coming weeks and months in the Calais region. Although no mass evictions or deportations have yet taken place, and the specific plans of the French government remain unclear, policies and actions aimed against migrants is undoubtdebly stepping up. The last month has already seen regular evictions and an increase in police activities and brutalities. The video recently produced by a No Borders activist is evidence of this:
A small group of us have been present in Calais since the No Border camp at the end of June, including people from Manchester. Having been witness to daily arrests, gassing and beatings of migrants, we believe now is time to act, denounce and resist the repression of migrants in Calais. Police activity has made Calais a sieged town where migrants are denied their basic rights of access to food, water, sanitation and freedom of movement. We cannot wait for the French government to carry out more devastating actions in Calais, we need to act now!
We have been trying to monitor the police, and when possible prevent them attacking migrants and the camps. We have alerted politicians and NGOs to what is happening in Calais. We have protested at the French Embassy in London, UK, and the French Consul in Barecelona, Spain, and at the CRS police and mayor in Calais. We are hoping to get a more permanent space in Calais soon.
Please join us in Calais.
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LATEST PRESS RELEASE: A squat in Calais, occupied by dozens of Afghan migrants, was destroyed yesterday morning by the French authorities under the pretext of an anti-scabies operation.
The French government is exploiting a scabies epidemic to clear the migrants from the ad-hoc encampments known as the ‘Jungles’ in the Calais area.
At approximately 10am, scores of unknown individuals wearing gasmasks and dressed in white uniforms, entered the Tajik/Hazara squat in scrubland near the ferry port, tore apart their shelters and sprayed an irritant chemical over their belongings. They claimed to be disinfecting the area as part of a programme to treat scabies, despite the fact that the operation was officially cancelled by the French government. Cooking utensils were contaminated, and the absence of running water in the camps made cleaning their equipment especially difficult. “ We are not animals.” One Afghan said. The unknown individuals also seized essential materials such as clothing, and arrested six people, all under the gaze of several vanloads of CRS police.
Humanitarian groups and activists from the No Border Network and Calais Migrant Solidarity had been monitoring the situation in the numerous camps – which in all, are inhabited by some 1,800 migrants from countries such as Afghanistan and Sudan – but the raid occurred shortly after they had left the camp for the morning.
This incident indicates change in tactics by the French authorities as they now seek to justify the continued repression of migrants in Calais, which has been drawing increased criticism by human rights groups. They intend to protest against the daily raids and police repression with a demonstration leaving from Coquelles detention centre at 2pm on Saturday 22nd August.
Posted byManchester No Borders at 7:40 AM