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Calais update: people urgently needed!

Calais Migrant Solidarity | 04.02.2011 01:26 | Migration | Repression | World

The past month in Calais has been particularly violent, and we are in desperate need of more activists to give those on the ground a break.

Africa House resident watches CRS
Africa House resident watches CRS

Here's a partial summary of police brutality towards migrants there over January:



Two young Palestinians age 16 and 18 went to try & cross via the Eurostar with two others. They were found by security with a dog and the two boys went & hid in one of the water pipes connected with the reservoir. The two other migrants saw the scene - one was arrested and kept 24 hours in police station, the other escaped. They say security left the dog off the lead, which may have caused the boys to panic and go further into the water pipe, where they may have fallen in and drowned. There has still not been any news. The boys were newly arrived in Calais and not even the other Palestinians know their names.



On 28th January, a Sudanese man was hospitalised after falling from a roof during a police pursuit.



In an incident strikingly similar to one which happened to a Pashtun youth last autumn, a 12-year old Tajik boy lost his finger during a police pursuit. The boy got the ring he was wearing caught on a fence as he jumped down from it. He was taken to hospital, accompanied by his 10-yr old brother who sustained minor hand injuries. CMS activists were visiting them, and sespite the miserable circumstances, the boy was good spirits, joking that his finger has reached England without him.



During yesterday's Africa House raid, during which people were punched and kicked in the face, the police were overheard saying that raiding the squats is just not effective enough. So this morning they raided the roads surrounding food distribution site.

There is an agreement in place with the charity that this site remains off-bounds for the police while people are gathering to eat. However, they frequently hover and pick people up en-route, which sometimes has the effect of keeping people in the 'jungles'.

Today began like any other, with a raid of Africa House, in what is a daily routine designed to give residents no peace. The police frequently raid the site multiple times throughout the morning.

After this, an activist went straight on to the food distribution site where the CRS (French riot police) and PAF (border police) ambushed everyone leaving the food distribution site in a pincer movement.

Once all the migrants in the area had been caught or had run away, the vans began hunting down those who had escaped. Groups were sprinting
together in all directions, with the police chasing after them in vehicles and on foot, before beating and dragging them off.

Some Sudanese guys tried to escape along some train tracks but were chased by three vanloads of CRS - one bloke ended up collapsing with an injured leg.
The police then gathered others who'd been arrested, including a man who was collapsed on the floor moaning in pain, possibly hit by a car.

The police refused to call an ambulance and smashed an activists camera to stop them filming the scene. Once the man who had collapsed had fallen unconcious they managed - with more hitting, shoving and kicking - to drag and throw him into the already overcrowded arrest van.


On top of all this is the usual daily raids of squats, and the abuse and psychological warfare against migrants, as well as increasingly frequent violence towards Calais Migrant Solidarity activists.
It is sick and tragic that after fleeing conflict in Darfur, Palestine and Afghanistan these people have then to risk their lives across Europe just to be able to lead a peaceful life.

Once again, come to Calais! People are really needed. For info on what we actually do, check out our website.
We've also got a nice new office for people to work from. Just get in touch before you head over:0033 631 869 878

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