Here are two recent reports of the situation in Calais, France from a local activist (translated from French).
Yesterday (24. Sep 2007) evening, Police forces were deployed to harass and persecute political refugees who live in our streets . Not content only to use tear gas , the destruction of squats and the prosecution of those who are fighting for the defense of human rights , the forces of order , without scruple invade our town with plain clothes policemen who come and go looking out for anyone witnessing their misdeeds.
An incredible armada of unmarked vehicles plough the roads of northern Calais , crossed from time to time by coaches of CRS police . An impressive force was sent intowards the hut where the evening meal is distributed to the refugees, to pursue a few refugees around 11.30 pm.
Still with a bit more efforts we will be able to imagine ourselves under a military dictatorship in South America . Fortunately we still have the people smugglers to make sure asylum rights are respected...
Despite the declarations of the asylum minister, this last week the CRS have begun their old habits of hunting , of gassing and of beating.
Young Erytreans , three minors have complained of being beaten and gassed, as they woke up . The CRS went as far as using more gas while they were giving chase.
So far as the asylum seekers. The Calais sub-prefecture and their colleagues in Arras are specialized for a long time in the non-renewal of recepissés or in not giving residents cards, which stops any benefits and the loss of funds.
The police station (gendarmerie) also seems to be on a war footing as they come and go in our streets . An army jeep was seen accompanying two vans of CRS police . But we also saw a line of vehicles full of military personnel. We don?t know if they are taking part in the surveillance of the local population.
Also the arrival of many refugees coming from Erythrea has pushed the police to put in place forced expulsions. The refugees are pushed towards Asylum administrative centres (CADAS) where people get out immediately . The police in Coquelles police station and detention facility have restarted making people sign documents without translating them, without doubt agreements to be deported .
The police at Coquelles trample on the asylum seekers rights under the law. Infraction of the law is so frequent that we need a surgery of all the organizations defending human rights and of volunteer lawyers working in relationship with CIMADE ( the human rights organisation that works in detention centres and prisons ).