Update from the Calais Camp

26 Jun

cal
Approximately 20 members of No Borders North East are in Calais as part of the first transnational camp aimed at highlighting the situation of migrants stranded in Calais, most of whom are trying to reach the UK and claim asylum. The camp is made up of about 1000 people, some of them activists, some of them migrants, whilst others are simply local people concerned with the escalating humanitarian situation. Members of No Borders North East have been distributing food to local migrants, as well as protecting a squat used by a number of Eritrean migrants against police eviction. Although the squat eviction was successfully resisted, the police later tear gassed the premises preventing the migrants from getting back in.
Some of the migrants in Calais are as young as thirteen years old, and come from places such as Afghanistan, Iraq and Northern Africa. We have witnessed extensive police harassment of both migrants and activists, and have heard numerous reports of migrants being emotionally and physically abused and brutalized by the local police. The police response to the camp has been huge, with over 2000 officers drafted in to the city. The attitude of the police is quite intrusive and is often one of confrontation and intimidation. Last night the police unsuccessfully attempted to gain access to the site of the camp in order to make further arrests of migrants but they were prevented as people woke up. It appears that the police are trying to find ways to distort the message of the camp through stimulating aggression and confrontation.
In contrast to this, the response of many locals has been positive and supportive. This is especially true of the younger generation who helped with the construction of the camp and who have been a constant presence throughout the week, joining in with migrants and activists. Everyone is gathering momentum for the planned march tomorrow. Up to 2000 people are expected to attend to protest racist border controls, show solidarity with all migrants and to call for an end to the system that denies dignity to people who are fleeing some of the world’s worst violence and criminalises the whole process of migration.
FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT FOR ALL! NO BORDERS. NO NATIONS. NOBODY IS ILLEGAL!

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