Calais: “We will not let ourselves be taken away!”

Statement from Housing for All Calais

Since Friday 4 February, we have been occupying a building in Rue d’Ajaccio, which has been uninhabited for a year. This occupation took place within the framework of the commemoraction, an international day of mobilization initiated by the families and relatives of people who have died at the border, to denounce the murderous migration policies of the UK, France and the EU.

In Calais, about 1500 people are living on the streets in unacceptable living conditions. Displaced people occupy wastelands and have no access to basic services: housing, sanitation, water, food and medical care. The state imposes conditions of extreme precariousness and invisibility through illegal evictions every 48 hours, the theft of personal belongings by the police, the illegal dismantling of living sites without the possibility of defense in front of a judge, and recurrent police violence. The French and British governments, alongside Natacha Bouchard and all their other friends, have deliberately turned a political issue into a humanitarian crisis, keeping people who want to cross the border in a context of survival.

But displaced people are not the only ones experiencing precariousness and lack of access to housing in the Calais region. The entire housing estate which the building is part of is due to be evicted and then destroyed. While some people, including those in the building we occupied, have already been evicted, others are still opposing their eviction in the absence of any alternative proposals from the town hall. It is in this context that, when the first police officers arrived on Monday 7th, many residents came to show their support for the occupation. We were thus able to express our refusal of the discourse of war between the poor. French or foreign, with or without papers, a roof is a right. Moreover, the police refused, on several occasions, to see the evidence of occupation.

Since 2pm today, a disproportionate police presence has surrounded the building. The police are not allowing anyone to enter, nor are they allowing food, water or equipment to be provided. We restate our demands: we demand an end to all evictions in Calais. We demand an end to the harassment of people blocked at the border by the police. We demand the regularisation of all squats in the city. Finally, we demand the immediate requisition of all empty buildings in Calais, and that sustainable solutions be provided to all inhabitants, whatever their administrative status or vulnerability.

Until our demands are met, we will not leave these premises. We refuse to be intimidated by this police pressure and remind you that the time limit for ‘délit de flagrance’ is over: there can be no eviction without an enforceable court decision. We will not let ourselves be taken away!

We call on everyone who is in solidarity with the people on the street and those blocked at the border, and on everyone who believes in the right to housing to come and help us defend the buildings we occupy!

Housing for All Calais
calaislogementpourtoustes [at] riseup [dot] net

Statement by the occupiers:

For several days we have been occupying a 10-storey tower block in Calais. In parallel we are occupying other buildings in the city. With this occupation we want to express our political and material support to the displaced people blocked at the French-British border.
At the moment we are besieged by the police who are deploying repressive procedures: they are trying to cut off our electricity supply with the help of Enedis technicians, they are forbidding the delivery of water and food and are currently entering the building. We call on our comrades in Calais and elsewhere, including the local inhabitants of Fort Nieulay, to come out en masse to support the occupation and to multiply the occupations of empty buildings! Freedom of movement for all!

Refugees related groups in France
Some squats in France:
Groups (collectives, social centres, squats) in France:
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