On Sunday 7 September, local fascist group ‘Sauvons Calais’ will once again try to hold a demonstration ‘against immigration’ in Calais, bringing in hardcore neo-nazis from across France. A number of high-profile fascists have already confirmed their presence including Thomas Joly (general secretary of Parti de la France), Yvan Benedetti (conseiller municipal of Vénissieux and former-member of the now banned organization L’Œuvre française), and Richard Roudier (of Réseau Identités). It is also likely that some neonazi gangs will arrive before and stay for more time after the demo to attack vulnerable people in the streets. [Read More]
Never again ?!
We thought that we had witnessed the worst in 2009 with the destruction of the Afghan jungle; the mass arrest of 278 of its inhabitants and their coordinated detention across the whole of France. However, this Wednesday 2 July 2014 the state showed how much further it can go. At 6am the CRS, PAF, Gendarme, and the Police Nationale undertook massive coordinated evictions and raids against the migrant population of Calais.
At 6am this morning riot and border cops accompanied by gendarmes evicted three squats housing over seventy people as well as SALAM, a food distribution point, where over five-hundred people had been sleeping outside since their camps were destroyed a month ago.
As agreed, the refugees occupying the food distribution center had breakfast together this morning. They formed two groups, those who will continue to eat and those who are fasting. Those fasting had slightly larger portions. They sat in the middle of the courtyard. Yesterday, they made a list of 53 people willing to get involved. By late morning, there were more than thirty of them waiting for those who had tried to cross that night to join them – something they will no longer be able to do during the fast. This afternoon, we should know more precisely how many will participate in the hunger strike. [Read More]
After Natasha Bouchart, Senator-Mayor of Calais, presented her new anti-squatting law in the senate last week, the illegal evictions continue in Calais.
A new house was opened in Calais on the weekend of May 31st to 1st June. After a week of going unnoticed (to avoid possible eviction without a trial in the first 48 hour), the occupation was made public on Sunday, June 8 (despite some confusing information announcing it as “the next opening” published on the website of La Voix du Nord on Saturday, June 7th ), and the first contact was made with passersby, neighbors and the bar newsagent opposite. Some of them considered the occupation of this house, which has been empty for three years, totally legitimate. Another house on the street about fifty yards away is already squatted. [Read More]
On Friday, the migrants occupying the food distribution center brought a list of demands that they had agreed upon to the prefect and the media. At first, the prefect maintained that the 48 hour period in which they were to vacate the premises had expired and refused to enter a dialogue. However, seeing that they were determined to stay, he set up a meeting for today [Saturday] with the departmental Director of Social Cohesion, who was soon joined by the sub-prefect. They proposed a second meeting to the refugees next Tuesday, on the condition that by then they move to another place and leave the food distribution center. It seems that a meeting is planned Monday morning at the Ministry of the Interior regarding the situation of the migrants in Calais; the meeting on Tuesday will likely depend on the decisions taken Monday. The proposal to continue the dialogue in another location was accompanied by a threat: if the migrants did not leave the food distribution center on their own over the weekend, they would be evicted by force, arrested and sent back to their countries of origin. Of course, this poses the question of where should they go. The authorities let slip the idea of moving to the old municipal camp site. The state now stands before the contradiction of demanding that people leave one place only to occupy another, without permission, somewhere which inevitably belongs to someone. The site of the old camp grounds belongs to the city of Calais. [Read More]
Tomorrow, the occupation of SALAM by the inhabitants of the three camps evicted yesterday will enter its fourth day. They arrived early Tuesday morning, in anticipation of the destruction of their homes, at the food distribution center, which is normally closed except for an evening meal (and lunch on the weekend). They were looking for a safer space to stay, protected from the wind, the rain and the police, but also for a place to take a stand, to demand access to basic services and political consideration from the government, locally and across Europe. [Read More]
Today more than 300 police descended on Calais to evict three tent camps in the city centre which have existed since last October: the «Syrian camp», which was set up following the occupation of the port, the «Eritrean camp» under the bridge, which was established after the eviction of their squat, also in October, and a smaller camp close to the food distribution. Together these places were home to around 650 people in Calais. The state has tried to disguise this police operation as a humanitarian intervention, citing scabies and poor sanitation to justify destroying people’s homes without providing them with any alternative solution. They neglect to mention that these problems exist only because they have forced people to live in very crowded conditions without regular access to toilets, showers, or places to wash their clothes and bedding. They legitimize the paternal intervention of the state by painting a picture of migrants as diseased and unable to care for themselves, rather than accepting responsibility for creating the circumstances which have caused these problems. [Read More]
*Everyone come to Calais May 27th or in the night of the 26th!!!!*
The authorities have decided to destroy the three main camps, which shelter around 700 people. The only prospect for the inhabitants: a pill against scabies and life in the street! There can be no question of repeating the events of 2009, when the eviction of the Afghan jungle resulted in the arrest of hundreds of migrants, their detainment all over France and attempts to deport them to Afghanistan. There can be no question, after five years of persecution, of starting all over again from zero, while the machine of repression gears up once more. Never again! [Read More]
On May 27th, the three main camps of Calais will be destroyed by the police. More than 600 people live in these camps, which were won through constant migrant struggle after a long series of evictions. No solution has been proposed for the evicted migrants. Moreover, a social center and two further squats are up for eviction starting on May 30th. All told, more than 800 people will be put on to the street.
In this stopping point on the way to England, squatting is the only housing solution that exists. It is also a tool of resistance for migrants to protect themselves from violence and police harassment in the camps and in the city. Today, the mayor of Calais’s fight against squatting has reached a new low. This time she has proposed a law which would change the 48 hour period in which squats must be evicted (which is not officially set down in French law). We know very little about the content of this law, only that it will attack the right to housing for all. The entire future of squatting in France is endangered by this law. [Read More]
The mayor of Calais, Natach Bouchart has decided on the evictions of the two main camps, known as the Syria Camp and Eritrea Camp. Despite these names, these camps are home to members of many different communities. There are over 300 people in the Syrian Camp in front of Salam, and the Eritrean camp has also undergone a massive influx recently, potentially doubling the number of inhabitants in the last weeks. Migrants of all the communities know about the eviction threat.
The three No Borders squats, opened at the end of February, are also facing eviction at the end of May. These three squats are also providing homes for many people, especially since the eviction of the Sudanese Jungle in mid April. The loss of these buildings will only add to the number of people sleeping in the already overcrowded camps. [Read More]
We are a group of people from different countries and different political backgrounds who are fighting for the right to housing for everyone , whatever their origin. Since the end of February we have held three empty public buildings, abandoned by the DPO of Calais on Rue de Vic, Rue Auber and Rue Massena. Although there are no plans for these houses, the DPO has engaged in legal proceedings and the court has ruled that the buildings are to be vacated on 30th May
Since the end of February, in the three squats, lives have been created and many links with neighbors have been built. These are temporary places, but necessary. Solidarity and housing are crucial for survival in daily life.
We demand that the sub-prefect do not send the police or intervene on May 30 or the following days, to forcefully evict these three occupied buildings. [Read More]