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No Border Camp at the UK Border extention beyond the channel

no borders | 25.06.2009 20:47 | Anti-racism | Migration | South Coast | World

A farcical curtain of steel descended on Calais, and the massive campaign of demonisation of the camp by the local authorities continued in the press. The camp gradually grew to around 1000 people from all over Europe. Many local people visited the site, a group of around 100 mostly Kurdish and Afghani migrants participated at a daily basis and a lot of local kids and young adults hanged out in the Camp [Report and Pics]

It run alongside the main motorway from the port out of town and it was just a few minutes from the "Jungle", the makeshift camps where migrants are living. Migrants report that currently the controls at the border are very tight and that no one has been getting through for few weeks, consequently the number of migrants in Calais are at their highest in several years.

On Sunday 21st of July, people from the camp went to the festival in the town centre of Calais, with a sound system, to give out leaflets that explain the aim and nature of the camp, in an attempt to communicate directly with the locals beyond the media lies. After the prohibition to distribute any kind of literature that was issued the following Monday, giving out leaflets became an action in itself where people got arrested. Issues of the daily produced newspaper "Nomad" were also confiscated.

Assisting the migrants seems to be a criminal offence, which granted an arrest on Wednesday 24th June, but people have been thinking about some paractical ideas you can do this summer to help the hundreds of migrants stranded in Calais.

On Friday 26th morning, a man demanded showers for migrants when he glued himself to the entrance of La Mairie de Calais - one died trying to have one in the dangerous place where they are forced to wash themselves. In the afternoon, the local motorway was blocked to highlight the hypocrisy of allowing freedom of movement for goods and animals but not of people. Reports: [1|2] Pictures: 1 [Summary of Friday actions]

On Saturday 27th, the campers left the Camp at 10am to go to the transnational demonstration. Here there are reports and Photos 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | Videos 1 | 2.

Back in the UK, a demonstration was called in solidariy with the detainees in hunger strike in Yarl's Wood detention centre [Photos 1 | 2].

People are using alternative and corporate tools for real time reporting.

General info and resources: [ 1 | 2 | 3 | After Calais what's next? | Reflecting on Calais No Border Camp 2009 | Video on S4 Welsh Chanel

preparing the agenda for the meeting
preparing the agenda for the meeting

media tent - the beginning
media tent - the beginning

arrest in town
arrest in town

preparing banners
preparing banners

putting up banners
putting up banners

The Calais No Border camp is a joint venture between French, British and Belgian activists. It aims to highlight the realities of the situation in Calais and Northern France, to build links with the migrant communities, to help build links between migrants support groups, and to challenge the authorities on the ground, to protest against increased repression of migrants and local activists alike.

This camp calls for the freedom of movement for all, an end to borders and to all migration controls. We call for a radical movement against the systems of control, dividing us into citizens and non-citizens, into the documented and the undocumented.

It is included in the No Border Camps' 'tradition', set up in the whole world since 15 years - Strasbourg 2002, Gatwick 2007, at the US-Mexican border or in Ukraine in 2007 and we are linked to the August '09 No Border Camp in Lesvos ... Everyone is invited to join the camp to discuss about the borders and freedom of movement issues, to imagine and take part into symbolical actions, to live together collectively with the migrants of Calais and the activists and to demonstrate on the 27th of June.

There is a busy timetable of workshops that gets updated every day in the welcome tent.

General background: [1|2|3|audio interview]

no borders
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crossing the border

26.06.2009 19:45

As people get stopped, detained, brutalised and deported at the Calais border routinely, activists traveling from the UK to France had a very different luck.

Some people got stopped before getting on the ferry to Calais by border police, and were made to miss their ferry. After that, they had no trouble.

Some other people encounter not a single passport control either in Dover nor in Calais. Then, once in the town of Calais, they were stopped by French regular police and had their passports checked. Police wrote down every person's name and other details, classifying them into their different nationalities for future reference ("Hey, there are two Spaniards here", said one policeman to another).


Some more links

27.06.2009 10:57

one of noborders

some more pics of the camp

27.06.2009 19:51

The tent showing on the pics finally gave in to the wind and had to be put in another place, protected from the wind by the trees.

The blockade is from Wednesday, when police were not allowing people out of the camp at all, then campers went outside to block the road for every one else too. After a few negotiations both blockades were removed.



Hide the following 7 comments

Great stuff

26.06.2009 07:18

Total respect to the people at this camp. I really should be there. Tut tut!


errata corrige

01.07.2009 16:26

"On Sunday 21st of July, people from the camp went to the festival in the town centre of Calais, with a sound system, to give out leaflets that explain the aim and nature of the camp" etc...sure it wasnt the 21st of June? I just saw it.

wrong month

Demands from the camp....translations needed into other languages

01.07.2009 16:34

Demands of the camp.

People wishing to travel from Calais to the United Kingdom are living in inhumane
conditions and suffer constant harassment. In this space there is just police repression and
the laws of smugglers, while groups and individuals who support the migrants are criminalized.

This repression is generated by

- Outsourcing in France of the British border controls,

- The general hysteria around migration

- And the Dublin Convention (2).

We defend the freedom of movement, we are opposed to the borders of racism and
discrimination. First we demand:

1. entry to the UK for all unconditionally.

2. the cessation of attacks and destruction of places of life of migrants.

Access to care and showers must be guaranteed.

3. freedom of movement for all in and around Calais: the ability to move anywhere
without restrictions, harassment or fear of being arrested.

4. the cessation of repeated arrests.

5. freedom of expression for all, including migrants, the right to protest and
complain to the authorities individually or collectively.

6. To stop evictions whether by charter or not to countries at war or not.

7. The end of the repression of associations and individuals who support the
migrants including the provision of means of transport.

8. provide free and impartial legal advice in the UK, the rights of asylum and

9. immigration policy British arbitrary detention without time limit cannot be
exported to Calais. No new detention centre can be built and particularly a
structure of the Guantanamo kind.

No Border camp in Calais on 29 June 2009.

* For more information on the situation in Calais consult "the law of the
jungle" a report developed independently

no one is illegal
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some logistical problems

06.07.2009 20:15

Please help with some genuine questions regarding practibility and logistical common sense.
I can't help but be against the No Borders policies until I can get in my head how these problems would be solved:

1) I can't think of a country that has "unconditional entry" anywhere in the world.
- What happens to these people if they cant get jobs? Who pays for their food and board?

2) If the government give out free food / board etc and there were no borders. Would we get people in their 10s of millions coming to the UK?

2) Why arn't people settling in France since they are there already?
- What is the single reason that they find it so necessary to get into the UK? Why not stay in france, or go to spain. What is the incentive to come to the UK?

3) Having just travelled around Europe for 3 weeks, i do notice that the UK is absolutely packed with people. How many people would be an acceptable limit before we say enough is enough, 70million, 80, 90, 100+? or do we just keep the doors open?

4) Do you consider that your demands should override democracy based purely on moral viewpoints? Ie. Does a morality standpoint outweigh a democratic viewpoint?


@ logistical problems

07.07.2009 09:25

1) the demand of uncondictional entry refers to thte 1,000 or so people living in the jungle of Calais. The camp felt there needs to be some kind of compensation for the suffering at the hands of British French and EU policies - unconditional entry is one of them. They should be entitled to the right to work and to benefits just like everybody else.

2) No we wouldn't. When Spain and Greece joined the EU, these sort of fears where already around - but what actually happened is that more Brits moved out to those places than the other way round.

2) A number of reasons - English language is one; some have their families living here already; many have close links to the UK as they come from ex-colonies.

3) Having just travelled to Manhatten I noticed how a 'crowded' place is still the most exciting and most sought after places to live in.

4) The no borders point of view is NOT based on morality. it is based on the recognition that movement is part of the history of humanity and that it will never be different. If you accept that governments are there to stop people from travelling you also invite other authoritarian policies from ID cards to DNA databases.


answers to logistical problems

07.07.2009 12:31

1) We are revolutionaries, we see migration as a social movement that brings the crimes of imperialism and colonialism to the doorstep of the ruling class. The management of capitalism is not our concern. We are not about 'opening the borders' alone, but the destruction of capitalism and the class system.

2a) They don't. strawman argument.

2b) Empire. The people who want to come to the UK are from colonies both historic and modern. Some have worked for the british military in Afghanistan which has led to their need to flee, where else would they flee to? Some have grown up in a culture that was engineered by UK (after the old one was destroyed) and consider the UK part of the same 'family of nations' as their own

3) Who is we? The only reason people want to come here is the unjust nature of capitalist power relations, once these are destroyed migration is much less of an issue.

4) The viewpoint is the payback of imperialism, the huge levels of migration to the UK and other former imperialist power is the next step of the de-colonization process. For the class struggle to succeed we must harness the power of the majority world to join with working people in the west to create a new society.

Much more has been written on these issues elsewhere, for example: