North East Solidarity with People in Calais

9 Feb

People from the North East are organising solidarity trips to Calais to support people without papers and their supporters who are facing increasing repression. No Borders and other groups have been working with people migrating through Calais to resist police violence and state oppression that has tried to systematically “disappear” them. The police eviction of a self-organised migrant centre on Sunday 7th February (see press release below) is the latest strike against people challenging the border regime.

Requests from Calais include solidarity actions, visits to Calais, donations of cash… see http://calaismigrantsolidarity.wordpress.com/ for more info and updates.

MIGRANT CENTRE EVICTED BY FRENCH RIOT POLICE IN CALAIS

Under instruction from the town authorities, the elite French CRS riot police today forcibly evicted the new Calais migrant centre – called Kronstadt Hangar – by smashing down the front doors, less than 24
hours after migrants and No Borders activists pushed through police lines to occupy the building, which has been legally rented by No Borders [1] and SoS Soutien aux Sans Papiers. [2]

Marie Chautemps said: “The Kronstadt Hangar was opened as a direct intervention into a winter of repression that the migrants in Calais have faced since their ‘jungle’ communities were destroyed in a cruel PR stunt, back in September.”

She continued that: “With the authorities blocking any attempts to create a place for migrants to shelter from constant police harassment or from the bitterly cold winter, the Kronstadt Hangar intervention was
made in the name of common human respect as well as resistance to an increasingly fascist EU border policy.”

On Saturday evening, about 100 migrants came to the warehouse with the intention of entering. They were met by two separate lines of French police on either side of the hangar. Shouting “freedom! freedom!”, the
migrants and No Borders activists pushed through the police lines and successfully occupied the hangar. donations of blankets, extra-clothes, basic mattresses and hot tea were provided for the migrants.

However, after a safe and secure night, 75 CRS police arrived on Sunday afternoon and forcibly evicted the new space by smashing down the front glass doors. 12 activists were arrested, but later released, while one was taken to hospital.

The police proceeded to trash the hangar and all the possessions inside, and have welded the entrance shut, so that it is now currently impossible for anyone to re-enter the warehouse.

In a press release issued earlier today, SoS Soutien aux Sans Papiers highlighted the joint agency between the French and UK governements, in operations such as these. [3] Just as there is increased collaboration between the governments on both sides of the channel, so there is an increase in resistance to the repressive policies of Szarkozy, implemented with the approval of the British government. Alex Parks said “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 in Calais.” [4]

http://www.calaismigrantsolidarity.wordpress.com

ENDS

Notes to editors

[1] The No Borders network is a global movement of individuals and groups fighting for the right to freedom of movement for people, not just for the Lorries that make sections of European society rich. Since the No Border Camp held in Calais in June 2009, No Borders activists have had a constant presence in Calais under the banner of
Calais Migrant Solidarity. We have monitored and documented police
abuse and violent, collectively resisted evictions, organised
humanitarian aid distribution, and made direct interventions for the
rights of migrants.

[2] SoS Soutien aux Sans Papiers is a French organisation that fights for
freedom of movement for all and migrants rights. The 2 networks have
collaborated
since the No Borders Camp in June 2009.

[3] For example the joint charter flight that returned migrants to
Kabul at the end of last year.

[4] London No Borders are organising a protest at the French Consulate
Tuesday 9th February 12.30 in solidarity with those in Calais.

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