Calais: the saga of evictions continues

Yesterday morning, October 22, 2020, the Prefecture of Pas de Calais once again proceeded with the eviction and mass destruction of a camp. It was a place called “Unicorn Jungle”, where nearly 300 exiled people were surviving, according to the distribution of tents made by Utopia 56 a week earlier. Once again, the associations denounced the brutality and inefficiency of these operations. They do not respect the fundamental rights of the exiled.

The associations denounce the violation of the exiled people’s right to come and go. Once again, a dozen buses had been chartered to take them to an unknown destination. The authorities carried out a “sheltering” operation for at least 190 people. This “sheltering” of men, but also women and children. The uselessness of this “sheltering” operation can be seen, in particular, by the frequency of these operations. [Read More]

Calais: the tension does not fall back

On Saturday, September 26, 2020, more than 400 people walk in the rain for freedom and human dignity.

Calaisians, activists, volunteers and migrants found themselves in the pouring rain and set off in a demonstration from the camp next to the hospital in Calais. In spite of the wind and rain, the migrants join the parade by dancing to the sound of drums, leading the march and parading with joy and determination in the rain.

At the arrival at the Place de Norvège, a few words from supporters and migrants alternate with music and hip-hop improvisation in all languages. In spite of the cold, it is a moment of euphoria and unity between people who don’t have the opportunity to mix in the city otherwise.
At the microphone, migrants testify to their fatigue and exasperation in the face of daily harassment by the police who evict, destroy tents and confiscate their materials, calling for them to be treated as human beings and not as animals. [Read More]

Calais: the ban on distributing food to migrants is maintained. Mobilization on September 26th

For the judge of the administrative court of Lille, 4 kms on foot to eat, that’s fine.

In an order dated September 22, the judge of the administrative court of Lille rejected the request made by 12 local and national associations to cancel the order of September 10, by which the prefect of Pas-de-Calais prohibited any free distribution of drinks and food in certain places in the city center of the municipality of Calais.

The judge stated that the distributions put in place by the State were allegedly sufficient to cover the needs of all exiled people present in Calais, including those sleeping in the city center, considering that “the circumstance that in order to access them, migrants settled in the city center since early August must travel three kilometers is not such as to characterize undignified living conditions”.

This assessment is particularly questionable. Indeed, the humanitarian indicators developed either by the UNHCR or within the framework of the SPHERE project, specify, for example, concerning drinking water, that it must be accessible at less than 500m from where people live – the distances in question being in this case between 4 and 5km, which represents an hour’s walk one way, and that it is necessary to go to two distributions per day. [Read More]

Calais: a decree forbids associations to distribute food to migrants, humanitarians rise up

An order published Thursday by the prefect of Pas-de-Calais forbids associations not mandated by the State to distribute food to migrants living in Calais. L’Auberge des migrants and Utopia 56 insist on such a measure which they consider “shameful and scandalous”.

A new tug-of-war between migrant aid associations and the authorities in Calais, northern France. In a decree published on Thursday, September 10, the prefect of the Pas-de-Calais, Louis le Franc, announced a ban on “any free distribution of drinks and food [in about twenty streets, quays, squares in the city center] to put an end to public disorder and limit the health risks associated with undeclared gatherings.

“Non-compliance with distancing measures”

Insofar as the State has mandated an association, la Vie active, to provide “four daily distributions of meals”, that it makes available to migrants 38 water taps 5 days a week, including “22 accessible 7 days a week” and that water is distributed during meals, the prefecture considers that “the set of services provided makes it possible to provide migrants with sufficient humanitarian services with regard to the needs of this population, particularly food”. [Read More]

Calais: associations refer cases to the Human Rights Defender and UN rapporteurs on the situation of migrants

Today took place in Calais the 693rd eviction from an informal living space since 1 January 2020. As of 13 August 2020, the fundamental rights of the exiled people surviving in Calais are still not respected (Human Rights Observers).

Thirteen associations working with migrants in Calais announced on Friday that they had contacted the Human Rights Defender, as well as seven United Nations special rapporteurs on human rights, to “alert them to the inhuman living conditions” of refugees.

In Calais, the evictions of camps are continuing and police repression of migrants has increased since the arrival of Gérald Darmanin at the Ministry of the Interior, according to human rights groups present in the area.

In an attempt to make their voices heard, thirteen of them – including the Auberge des Migrants, Médecins du Monde and Secours Catholique – seized on Friday 14 August the Human Rights Defender Claire Hédon, whose mandate has just begun, as well as seven United Nations special rapporteurs on human rights. [Read More]

Calais: Coronavirus, housing and deportations

For more than two weeks now, France has been on lock-down. With most French people unable to leave their homes, migrants in Calais are still being evicted from theirs. Human Rights Observers in Calais have counted 45 deportations since March 17th. A police union, Synergie-Officiers, has called for an end to these daily deportations, but the department and prefecture still insist they continue. The PAF (Police Aux Frontiers) have stopped carrying out these daily deportations in the city, initially retreating to their work in the detention centre. This just means different cops do them (CRS and Gendarmerie).

The crisis that is the states’ response to the coronavirus pandemic does not show any signs of letting up. Additional powers are being granted to states from now. As one example (stay aware of others) of the state using the pandemic to meet its goals that could not otherwise be easily achieved, Greece used it to justify evicting many families from the Politechnio squat.

In Calais, health and sanitation have already been used as excuses for deportations. Despite a later ruling against the closing of shops and restaurants in the jungle, armed police seized food, water, gas, cigarettes in 2016, under pretext of “sanitary control.” Calling it a humanitarian intervention, in 2014, the state evicted about 650 people because of scabies and sanitation. Neither then nor now, the state took responsibility for creating these conditions for people or gave solutions. [Read More]

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. [Read More]

Calais: Recent police attacks on distributions

In the last weeks the police have started to include attacks on support infrastructure in their campaign of violence and intimidation against people on the move in this city. Volunteers and supporters in Calais have been reporting police attacks during food distributions, traffic stops and fines when going out in association vehicles to do distributions, threats to seize vehicles, poisoning of water supplies, and the destruction of donations. This is in addition to the police violence which takes place daily in the jungles, at the parkings, and in the streets for which volunteers are not often present.

Image: Water containers contaminated with CS gas
[Read More]

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Calais Research Network: 40+ companies profiting from the Jungle eviction and border violence

The eviction of the Calais jungle is about to begin, but who does this act of brutality serve? On the one hand, cynical politicians looking to the French presidential election next year, desperately trying to cling onto power with a show of toughness. But also, it will boost the profits of a host of private companies who supply the rubber bullets and barbed wire, bulldozers and deportation buses. [Read More]

Calais (France): Updates of the October 1st Demo

A comrade was arrested and charged for attempting to conceal his identity and participating in an unauthorized demonstration; the trial will be on 7 November, in Boulogne-sur-Mer.

The following text has been translated from French, from an article published on October 3rd, 2016 on Squat!net. The next solidarity gathering will take place in Calais, on friday October 14th, at 4pm, Places d’Armes.

This Saturday, October 1st, a solidarity demonstration was scheduled in Calais departing from the “Jungle”, the name given to the largest slum of France, where thousands of migrants are living. The event had to cross through Calais to reach its ending point downtown.

Two days before, the protest had been “prohibited” by the prefect of the Pas-de-Calais, Fabienne Buccio, who announced “a ban on any protest demonstrations in connection with the issue of migrants in Calais, Sangatte, Coquelles, Fréthun and Marck-Calaisis, during the entire day of October 1, 2016.” [Read More]

Calais (France): Total jungle eviction may begin on 17 October

The French State has been spreading word that it will evict the whole of the Calais Jungle, meaning the homes of 10,000 people, by “the end of October”. The latest rumour is that the attack will begin on 17 October and will feature a new weapon: blinding laser cannons developed for use against Somali pirates, now to be used for the first time against Africans and other migrants on European soil.**

Other talk is that the eviction will take just “three days”, and that not only the self-built jungle but also the official Jules Ferry day centre and maybe even the state-built Container Camp will go. Comrades from the ZAD (occupied zone of resistance to the airport project in Notre Dame des Landes) also believe that their own planned eviction may be delayed so that the state can first throw all its forces at Calais.
[Read More]

Calais (France): Homes on trial

On September 28, eight friends will have an appeal trial for charges related to the last squat attempted in Calais. Aquitted by a previous court ruling, largely due to police abuse and police not even following procedures. Now the state representatives have filed an appeal (to contest what?!).

If you think of the judicial system as a good measure of “right” and “wrong,” it is Natacha Bouchart (Calais’ mayor) and Philippe Mignonet (deputy mayor) who should be on trial. They have executed massive and numerous evictions in Calais – making thousands of people homeless, using force to traumatize people, damaging people for years. [Read More]