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Calais report; Riot police surround leafleters in Calais town centre

no more deaths from capitalism madness! | 25.06.2009 21:54 | Anti-racism | Migration | Repression

Around 4pm this afternoon around 30 people from the No Border Camp went to Calais town centre in order to distribute the NOMADE newsletter and to talk to Calais residents about the aims of the camp. Given the high level of police surveillance the group were not able to travel together but had arranged to meet at a central location.

About 3 minutes after they met on Rue de Tannery (one of the main shopping street in Calais), four trucks and around 100 police officers from the CRS came out from surrounding streets in full riot gear and shields and surrounded the group. Helicopters flew in overhead as the cops started screaming at local shoppers to clear the streets. “They shouted that those with children should move out the way” said one eye witness; “People got really scared and stressed. Suddenly Calais became like a war zone.” One activist was arrested by police as he reached into his pocket to show the paper he was handing out.

23 people were arrested and taken to an “arrest station” nearby. Most were released after a few hours following an ID check. Two were taken to a police station in Calais and held for six hours. Alongside the CRS large numbers of plain clothes intelligence officers from le BAC (anti criminal brigade) were on the streets. “I never felt so frightened of being arrested simply for the clothes I was wearing” said Pati, a witness from Grenoble, France; “All this simply for trying to hand out leaflets.”

Police controls around the camp have intensified over the course of the day with few able to move from the camp without facing searches and ID checks. Le BAC officers are a constant presence around the perimeter and paths between the camp and ares of the jungle where migrants are staying are more or less sealed.

It is clear that any attempts by activists to move outside the camp or participate in any activities in the centre are to be met by excessive police repression. The demonstration, which is legally authorized by police and called in association with trade unions and humanitarian groups is unlikely to escape such extreme action.

Despite the repression outside the camp, the atmosphere inside has remained calm and relaxed as increasing numbers of activists, migrants and locals are joining us in the Calais sunshine. Tonight has seen music and dancing, giving us all an introduction to the latest Kurdish music (the punk and Gabba night was cancelled!) on site through a bike powered sound system. More migrants from different groups are coming into the camp and the kitchens are getting busier.

no more deaths from capitalism madness!


Display the following 2 comments

  1. Cheering you on — Impressed
  2. ...and fuck the police! — no borders