Calais (France): Another illegal expulsion

Communication received by people in solidarity who live in this city.

A communiqué from people in solidarity with the inhabitants of 63 rue Georges Maquer in Calais

More and more regularly living spaces in Calais are being illegally evicted.
The manipulation and non-respect of the law here in Calais is leading to abuses and regular and intolerable violence. Such violations of the law in a state where law are supposed to be respected are particularly inadmissible when they are carried out by the law enforcement authorities. They are all the more intolerable when they target people already in situations of high vulnerability.

Today at around noon police arrived at the home of our friend Camille, at 63 rue Georges Maquer in Calais. There were several friends gathered to celebrate her house, where she had been living for some days, a fact of which there was evidence.

Around noon police arrived to interrupt our joyous moment. After that came the OPH, the owner of the building, together with a bailiff.

In a state of law, the bailiff should have come to view our occupation, and then the owner could have lodged a complaint in order to be heard by a judge.

Today in Calais, shortly before 17.00, police broke down the door with a battering ram and arrested all friends who were gathered there, both inside and outside the house.

Today friends have been evicted without any prior court order, and thus illegally, from their homes.

This situation is unfortunately not unusual. While there are many homeless people and a lot of uninhabited housing, the police regularly illegally evict the inhabitants, increasing the precariousness of their situation.

Camille and these friends had already been the victim of an illegal eviction last week (86 rue Massena, Calais), which ended with two detentions and an upcoming trial premeditated destruction of property, but living in an empty house is not a crime.

Today again the door of the house is blockaded, access is therefore banned for us, and everyone’s things are permanently locked inside without knowing if and how friends and friends can have access.

This is something that we would not wish for anyone.

But unfortunately Camille and these friends are not alone. in Calais this latest expulsion takes place in a general repressive situation. According to the IGPN report [1], there have been two to three illegal evacuations of living spaces every week, including during the winter. In particular, these evictions target people in high vulnerability and so increase their precariousness.

The Cold Weather Plan provides emergency accommodation in cold warehouses, but they are too rarely open, the social services are still insufficient, and many people are refused every night…

The present solutions are inappropriate, despite the speech of our President on 27 July 2017 [2] stating that “the first battle” was to house “everyone with dignity”, and that by the end of the year he did not want to have “anyone living one in the streets or in the woods”.

Despite this, many homes remain resolutely empty, the city is filled with mor and more deserted houses, either walled up or abandoned. The forces of law and order are increasingly suppressing, illegally and with impunity, those who dare to bring these houses back to life by sheltering there.

Housing is a right, not a privilege, everyone deserves a warm, dry, and safe place to live regardless of age, origin, gender, sexuality, or social class…

We want to denounce, the systematic refusal of our politicians to welcome people with the dignity, and their contempt for the poorest people, and their disrespect of the laws that are supposed to protect them.

We are obliged to remind everyone that in France depriving people of their homes is possible only after the decision of a court, within the framework of a procedure formally notified to the inhabitants.

We confirm that 63 rue Georges Maquer 62100 Calais is the home of Camille and we ask for the respect of the laws, for us and for all the other people who live in this city.

Friends of Camille, for her and for all

[1] See: “Evaluation of the action of the police in Calais and Dunkirk”, p.32, October 2017.
[2] See Le Parisien of July 27th, 2017.

[Calais Migrant Solidarity – 17 January 2018.]