"We strongly feel monitoring police activity could be very useful ..." - here you find day by day reports from activists on the ground in Calais.
Thursday 23rd July (7.30pm)
It seems certain now that the charter flight is NOT leaving tomorrow (Fri 24) after SALAM spoke to CIMADE, however it may be soon so there is no need to relax.
Raids on the jungles and squats have intensified: last night a Sudanese squat was raided 4 times, with tear gas and two people were taken; the Pashtun jungle was also raided in the early hours in the morning, nobody was taken but the police took pictures and counted all the migrants they found there ? mostly minors as many of the adults who are more at risk of being deported have been hiding elsewhere; similarily there have been raids on Eritrean and Somali squats.
People on the ground are needed more than ever.
Many local people have gone to the jungle today after an appeal made by activists during a concert.
Saturday 25th July
- Between 9 and 10pm we were at the Palestinan camp, no visible police activity but they said they are being raided up to three times a day. Two Palestinians were taken three days ago, one was released, the other, who has a wound in his head, has not been seen since. Also an Eritrean friend of theirs was there, the cops took him and he has not been seen since.
- Shortly after 10 pm, we drove to the Eritrean squat: it had just been raided with gas, people were still in shock. They said on Friday the police raided the squat 5 times and took 11 people. Many Eritreans are no longer there cos they can't take these raids any more and have moved out somewhere else.
-We went back to the Palestinian camp thinking the police may be going that way but no police activity there.
- Than we drove to the Sudanese squat they were all out shivering with the cold cos they said the squat and also their blankets are full of gas and they cannot use them any more.
- Around 11 pm we drove past the Hazara jungle ( no sign of police activity) and past the Pashtun jungle, few streets from the Pashtun jungle we saw two police vans parked and another coming, so we drove back and alerted the Afghans. Two of us stopped near the jungle with a camera, two drove around and were stopped by cops, IDs taken and bags checked. After that we drove back, picked up our friends and continued following the cops.
We saw a big group of Afghans, including many minors, who run before the police. Later three boys (12 to 15 apparent age) told us the police took 6 children, they releasd three of them, three were still missing. They were trying to go to a concert and were told by police to go back to the jungle.
One of the Palestinians told us the police have used batons that give an electro shock on him.
We strongly feel monitoring police activity could be very useful if there were more people doing it: with 5 people and one car we can do little more than observe the disaster and write reports on the abuses we witness.
Monday 27th July 2009
- We arrived at the Pashtun jungle just after the police raided it, they were there between 8am and 8.45 with three police vans and a bus they filled with Afghans, they won't tell us how many but one cop said they will get out in few hours.
- Before (7am) we were at the Sudanese ex-squat; the police was there and checked our IDs.
- We also checked the Eritren squat but no visible police activity there.
The police were rather talkative and told us they know some of their colleagues are using tear gas and beating people. They also said they know politicians are using them for nonsense.
The police arrested a group of 10 Iranians who walked on the sidewalk.
They catch every times the same refugees of any nationality/ are these discriminatoryuarrests, because most times they have no reason to check their identity (having already fingerprinted them several times).
Tuesday 28th July 2009
About 30 cops arrested other 7or so Iranians and about 10 Afghans from the Hazara jungle, however these people have been released according to what the migrants tell me and also the ones arrested on Monday.
The people arrested on Tuesday were taken to the police station, photos and fingerprints taken, the Iranians were kept for 8 hours, the Afghans were released earlier because the police said they could not get a Pashtun interpreter. After 8 hours the Iranians were let out and walked back to their camp, two hours walk, but when they arrived at the camp they were arrested again and taken to the police station again; the men were released around 11pm and again they walked for two hours to go back to their camp. It is not clear what the police are trying to acheive but such irrational and grotesque behaviour.
Wednesday 29th July 2009
Around 9.00 am this morning police surrounded the Pashtun (Afghan) 'jungle' and they forced all migrants to be photographed one by one and in groups.
"There are always CRS (riot) police coming to the 'jungles' in groups of about 20 at a time. Some sneak in through the trees, and then everyone is shouting 'police in the jungle'"
Thursday 30th July 2009
Migrant in hospital after police assault and arrest - for sitting in the park
After lunch time food distribution french national police hospitalised one migrant and arrested another: Several of us saw the migrants chatting peacefully in the gardens in front of the town hall. A police van then arrived and police men jumped out and ran towards the migrants who tried to desperatly flee. The police caught up with them and viciously beat one of them to the ground with a baton. He was hospitalised and the other was cuffed and taken away. When asked the police told us that they'd been arrested "for running away from them". The police later claimed that they had been called to the area because the migrants had been trying to break into a camping car (which was parked in a very busy and visible place in front of the town hall).
This was a surreal and incredibly vicious incident; locals and tourists got a glimpse of the routine hassle that migrants are subjected to here, before continuing about their business in sunny Calais.
Otherwise fingers crossed police activity has been low today. 12 CRS were seen this evening watching the pashtun jungle, after they photographed each of the 600 migrants individually yesterday morning.