Home | Friday 14th May 2010 | Issue 722
On Tuesday 11th, France’s CRS riot squad raided ‘Africa House’, the squat in Calais of African migrants. Six riot vans full of police and two unmarked ‘arrest’ vans arrived to round people up for the crime of having no papers. They spent an hour combing the building and eventually left with 23 people. Most people were only held for a few hours before being made to make the long walk from the Coquelles detention centre back into town.
A day later the police rounded up five Hazara Afghans who are camping out in the shrubbery near the old hover port and also five Palestinians trying to make it to the UK in a truck. The CRS units receive a 1000 euro bonus at the end of a tour of duty if they exceed their arrest quota of migrants. Policing of migrants has been transformed into bounty-hunting.
Police raids on ‘jungles’ are an almost daily occurrence and are part of a concerted campaign of repression by the French state to make Calais a migrant free zone. In April 2009 the French minister of immigration, Eric Besson, vowed to drive all migrants out of Calais. In September of that year the process began with the smashing of the large Pashtun ‘jungle’ and the arrest of 278 people. Since then all pre-existing squats and jungles have been evicted with the exception of Africa House, which is set for demolition in the next two months.
On Saturday 8th, as Calais celebrated the defeat of the Nazis, No Borders activists and migrants organised a march through Calais to highlight their situation. Two No Borders activists attempted to display photos of police brutality at the official commemoration at the town hall but were swiftly dragged away by the police along with two observers and detained until the rally ended.
* No Borders Transnational Day Of Action For Freedom Of Movement: Paris, May 15th. Meet 2pm at Jaures Train Station. http://calaismigrantsolidarity.wordpress.com