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Calais: Repression and Resistance

IMC Features | 10.02.2010 12:12 | Migration | World

On Sunday, 7th February, French Police attacked the Kronstadt Hangar as part of an ongoing campaign of repression against migrants, which included the destruction of many migrant camps and squats in July 2009. The Hangar had been hired by the No Border Network and the French organisation SôS Soutien aux Sans Papiers as an autonomous space for migrants and activists struggling for the right to freedom of movement. Before the Hangar was opened, migrants had been meeting up outside the night shelter during the day, but the night shelter had finally closed at about the time the hangar opened its doors on 6th February.

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Links: Calais Migrant Solidarity | No Borders London |

At about 5pm on that day, police began appearing outside the Hangar in an attempt to prevent migrants entering. At 7 pm migrants who had attended an NGO Food distribution point away from the hangar, managed to break through police lines in order to get inside, where they spent the night.

At lunchtime the following day, migrants left the Hangar to attend another food distribution point, and on their return, once again found all roads to the hangar blockaded by police who then smashed their way into the hangar with a battering ram, arresting the 12 activists who had remained inside. Having illegally evicted the building, police then welded it shut.

Upon their release, activists discovered that police had been roaming the area arresting migrants they came across. Many migrants were believed to have gone into hiding, whilst others grouped together to offer resistance. Activists and migrants are now regrouping to consider their next moves.

On Tuesday 9th February, a solidarity demonstration was held outside the french Consulate in London. The handed out leaflets demanding "an immediate end of the repression against volunteers in Calais and the opening of the border between the UK and France! The transnational NoBorders Network will continue its work in Calais. The authorities in Calais have been trying to remove migrants from Calais for years without success, because they are in denial about the terminal reality of the un-equal world we live in. This is not over, solidarity and resistance for the right to freedom of movement will continue."

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No New Sangatte!

11.02.2010 16:59

The French Minister of Immigration, the Mayor of Calais, and the (Orwellian) Secretary of State for the Family; (she murders families); give statements about No Borders; here's a rough translation:

The Minister of Immigration Eric Besson today condemned the occupation since nightfall of a hangar by 100 migrants in Calais, reaffirming his "determination to not allow the creation of a 'new jungle' or a 'new Sangatte' on French territory".

The state, it was underlined in the statement, "will not allow the reconstruction of a place which serves as a base camp to mafia networks of clandestine immigration near the port of Calais".

According to the minister, since yesterday afternoon 100 people occupied the hangar which was rented on 1st February by the association "SOS Sans Papiers". The group, "composed of foreigners in irregular situations, flanked by members of the 'No Border' network, have forced police to do controls" said the minister, who added that the occupants of the hangar demonstrated in "a public declaration" the "intention to make a place to accommodate illegal immigrants".

The occupation of this hangar which is "unsuitable to accommodate people" is "unacceptable", concluded the minister, who has "started to consider actions which will bring an end" to this situation.

The Secretary of State for the Family Nadine Morano has previously assured the Forum of Radio J that there will be "neither a new Sangatte, nor a new jungle".

"We will not let anyone stay in the woods or in hangars", she added, repeating that "the doctrine of the government is clear: we want a humane immigration, respectful whilst, at the same time, fighting against the networks of clandestine immigration."

The UMP mayor of Calais Natacha Bouchart said that they had been tricked and and spoke of "provocation" by the network No Border which aides the migrants. "The plan [plan grand froid] was activated for a day and a half and, as agreed with the associations, the room [BCMO] was closed", she explained on France Info.

"It had been agreed by all" that the room could not longer be "occupied at night". For the other place, she asserted, "the police forces and the state have guaranteed me that they have set up an operation to prevent the migrants from entering the private place. Apparently though, this operation was not sufficiently resourced", she complained.

The "jungle" of Calais, the wooded zone near the town's port, where hundreds of migrants have stayed since the closure of Sangatte in 2002, was dismantled on the 22nd of September last year.

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July 09??

12.02.2010 08:03

repression of migrants has been going on in Calais since Sangatte closed in 2002.
Futher to that, migrants have been repressed ever since they were forced to move 'illegally'


wording changed

17.02.2010 11:09

Cheers cms, I've tweaked the text in response to your comment; hope it's now more accurate.