Calais: several nights of clashes as people try to cross

Nieuws, gepost door: nn op 09/01/2016 01:01:20

Wanneer: 09/01/2016 - 14:39

Fights with the police have been happening in & near the Calais jungle for the past three nights running. This usually follows attempts by migrants to leave the jungle to cross to the UK. Yesterday it was announced that three armoured vehicles would be sent to Calais in an effort to get on top of the situation. The prefect needs to approve their use, but that’s unlikely to take very long. Updates below from Calais Migrant Solidarity.

5th January

At approximately 00.30am on the morning of the 5th of January, a group of refugees left the jungle and walked up Route Des Gravelines towards town. As they passed the house of the neo-nazi sympathisers connected with Les Calasiens en Colere, they were attacked by a group of fascists, who persued them and attempted to follow them into the Jungle.

When this happened, the Kurdish community, who have women and children living next to Chemin Des Dunes, mobilised themselves in self-defence and drove the fascists away from the Jungle. The confrontation then spilled out onto Route Des Gravelines. The fascists began throwing rocks at the Kurdish community, carefully observed by the xenophobic state fascists in uniform the CRS. In fact, the fascists could be seen throwing rocks stood side by side with CRS officers who were firing gas rounds into the jungle.

As members of the Kurdish community approached the fascists they retreated behind the police, who proceeded to fire large amounts of tear gas at the refugees. At one point, members of the Kurdish community advanced half way down Route Des Gravelines with two molotov cocktails, which they then threw on the ground in front of themselves. Clearly demonstrating that they are capable of violent action but that they had chosen not to use this level of violence. They then called out for the fascists to « fight them like men », rather than hide behind police lines. In response to this, the fascists remained behind the police. While the fascists cowered behind their police, the state thugs drove the refugees off Route Des Gravelines with a shower of tear gas.

The police then proceeded to advance onto Chemin Des Dunes, still firing huge amounts of tear gas. The police incursion into the jungle, came as far as the first water point by the Kurdish restaurant, before they retreated out of the jungle. There are also reports of police attempts to enter the family area, before they became lost and disorientated and had to retreat. By this point the police must have fired over 100 rounds of tear gas, which reached as far as the Ashram kitchen in one direction and the Sudanese area in the other. Concussion grenades were fired and rubber bullets were also deployed. The fighting ended at around 4am as large amounts of tear gas enveloped the family area. As the police withdrew, children and families who had been forced to evacuate their homes returned to try and get some sleep that night, despite the fact that their homes had been bathed in toxic gas.

Once again there has been a significant and indiscriminate chemical weapon attack on a refugee camp, primarily in an area populated by women and children. However it was also a night of collective strength that saw people coming together to defend themselves against an attack by local neo-nazis. The jungle fought against the fascists, who were incapable of entering the camp due to the efforts of the Kurdish community who are extremely well organised and came together rapidly when threatened. Furthermore, some of the refugees who were initially attacked were said to be Afghan. When they were attacked the Kurdish supported them. This has reportedly improved the relationship between the two communities. Against the threat of fascist violence, and with the backdrop of daily border violence, different groups of people from varying communities are creating new solidarity links and connections, reducing the borders between each other.

During the night and into the morning, No Borders activists were on hand to offer remedies for the effects of tear gas. Spraying Maalox or blowing smoke into the eyes of those who had been overcome by the noxious fumes. We stand in solidarity with all the other residents of the Jungle!

6th January

At midnight on the 6th of January, refugees put logs and metal poles on the highway to block traffic and make it possible to access the backs of lorries going to the UK. Rapidly the police reduced the traffic on the motorway, temporarily closing the entire road. However people continued to gather on the edge of the Jungle to fight the police.

A large amount of tear gas was fired and the police adhered to their usual strategy of launching the canisters across a wide area far beyond the front entrance of the jungle, at the end of Rue Des Garennes, where people were gathered. The intent of the police to collectively punish people was clear. During the night there was also many injuries from tear gas canisters hitting people, causing burns and bleeding. The police’s use of CS gas on refugees has become normalised in the media and in the Jungle. The tear gas could be smelt across the entire camp and the cloud of toxic fume could be seen from far away.

As the fighting continued, the police deployed two water cannon and also the lethal force of rubber bullets, which injured two minors. They also fired salvos of tear gas canisters ballistically, shooting them straight into the Jungle at head height, rather than firing them into the air to drop down.

If the injuries from this assault are difficult to quantify, it is easy to count the scores of respiratory problems, skin and eye irritations. The mass tear gassing also burnt and damaged multiple buildings. Once tear gas has contaminated buildings which are mostly made out of plastic canvas, the smell of it and the acrid taste it leaves in the back of the mouth are impossible to remove.

In spite of the heavy bombardment of chemical weaponry, lots of the people living in the jungle continued to show defiance and to attack the police with stones. Cries of « fuck you police » rang out over the hum of generators and the concussion grenades. People also picked up still smoking gas pellets and threw them back at the police. As always, No Borders activists were present to record the police violence and administer Maalox to lessen the affects of the tear gas.

The amount of police, security forces, and resources deployed in Calais at the moment is staggering. Throughout the night several companies of CRS could be seen re-deploying over the motorway between Route Des Gravelines and Rue Des Garennes. Three water cannons were in place. Yet in the face of this brutal repression, people continue to attack and cross the border, and people continue to defy the police!

7th January

At midnight on the 7th January around 30 CRS officers were at the main entrance of the jungle, on Route de Garennes, stopping people from leaving. After a while the police moved into the edge of the Jungle in an attempt to provoke a violent response. Around six officers made their way into the entrance of the Jungle and proceeded to shoot tear gas canisters in front of themselves, creating a wall of poisonous fumes to mask their movements.

At this time there was also a crowd of people gathered to observe the police’s actions. Without any warning, the police fired a barage of tear gas directly and indiscriminately into the collected onlookers. They also used rubber bullets, shooting sproadically at people. Several shots hit people in the chest and head. Two water cannons were also present, waiting under the highway bridge on Route des Garennes.

The whole restaurant area at the front of the Jungle was filled with tear gas. The police’s actions were directly designed to provoke the crowd and some people from the Jungle responded by throwing rocks, cries of “Fuck you!” and their middle fingers. But again big areas of the Jungle, where people were sleeping, were filled with clouds of noxious tear gas.

Later in the night the police’s actions on the other side of the Jungle, near Route de Gravelines, was a direct replica of previous nights. The police could be seen conducting their dirty business of harassing refugees, side by side with a local gaggle of neo-nazi lapdogs. Fascists were seen throwing stones at refugees and launching fireworks into the Jungle and just like before, when people from the Jungle responded to the fascist threat, the police came to the aid of these small minded boneheads, showering their mutual enemy with salvos of tear gas. The actions of the police are now indiscriminate from the fascist militia set-up in the last few months under the auspices of the group Les Calaisiens en Colere and with support from le Movement de Action Sociale. It is clear that the residents of the Jungle are now fighting a combined force of white supremacist thugs and local neo-nazis.



Police and neo-nazi collaboration!:



We, the united people of the jungle, respectfully decline the demands of the French government with regards to reducing the size of the jungle.


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