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Calais: Demo Against Border Regime

17.12.2002 08:17

Calais, December 15. About 500 people from France, UK and the Netherlands demanded freedom of movement and humanitarian support for thousands of refugees left without shelter in the Calais region since the closure of the Red Cross camp in Sangatte on November 5th.

Britain accepted 1000 Iraqui Kurds and 200 Afghans on temporary work permits, changing their status from political to economic refugees. The remaining Sangatte residents can choose between claiming asylum in France and being deported. Refugees who arrived after Nov 5th are facing dispersal, deportation is likely. Some of them occupied a church and were forcefully evicted.

From January 08, changes in the asylum system will make it harder for migrants to enter Britain and stay. The demo was called by the Calais C.SUR collective containing 30 organisations, the unemployment group AC! and immigrant supporters from GISTI. Supporters included the French Green Party, Act-up (against discrimination and social control), and libertarian anti-capitalists. Barbed Wire Britain, the Committee to Defend Asylum Seekers and noborder London mobilised on the British side.

Considering the processing of migrants in the region, Sangatte can be seen as a laboratory of social control. Consequently, the demo coincided with a day of action in France against the new terrorism and security bills. Some people from Iraq and Afghanistan joined in, but most were too scared due to pressure from French riot police. Despite rain and immigration politics, the demo was a cheerful event, a coalition between anti-racists, charities, media and noborder activists, samba bands and some of the people who risk their lives to cross borders.

Pictures| Report|
Immigration facts|Right wing media scare stories|Situation of migrants in Calais region| Refugee Council: who are the refugees|carf info|Statewatch|noborder info| migration management info]

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