[ 23. Sep 2009 ]

Calais: Clearing the jungle: the aftermath

Pashtun jungle in Calais: Police bulldozed migrants houses

Calais Migrant Solidarity: Press release from activists on the ground in Calais, September 23rd 2009


Today activists in Calais are seeing the fall-out from the massive PR exercise that was the clearance of the Pashtun 'Jungle'. Yesterday 600 police, in a massive show of force designed specifically for the international media, [1] arrested 278 migrants, including 132 mainly traumatised minors. Most of the adults were either taken police stations or to the Lille-Lesquin detention centre for processing. It is believed that the minors will be taken to the Metz-Queuleu juvenile prison.

Many of the migrants that had remained in the 'Jungle' and were arrested yeaterday had already either received their Green Cards or had made applications to remain in France. As a consequence, activists in Calais are already coming across migrants who have been released from detention onto the streets with nowhere to go. Many are telling the same story: the police have robbed them of their clothes, money and mobile phones. [2] They are in a much worse situation now than they were when they stood around fires at dawn yesterday morning waiting to be arrested.

Meanwhile the police, following Eric Besson's announcement that all the other Calais squats and 'jungles' will be closed by Friday, [3] are continuing to hunt down migrants in the town. [4] And one thing that we fear is that, now that the world's media have got their story and have left Calais, the kid gloves will come off and it will be back to normal with routine use of excessive force, pepper-spraying and other abuse for the migrants to endure.

As the joint statement from French organisations such as La Belle Etoile, GISTI, Secours Catholique, Terre d'Errances, Medecins du Monde, Cimade, the Greens and Amnesty International made clear, this is not a solution to the problem. "It is necessary that the European states no longer abdicate responsibility to their neighbours. European solidarity must become a reality. The Dublin II Regulation has to change, it traps the refugees in a deadlock and leaves them unprotected." [5]

For more information contact:
calaisolidarity (at)
From UK : 0044752188562

Notes to Editor:

Calais Migrant Solidarity is a network of European No Borders activists who are based in Calais and are resisting the police repression of the migrants. CMS conducts twice daily patrols observing police actions, documents and communicates these crimes, creates new safe spaces for migrants, and simply spends time listening to the migrants struggle.

[1] The fact that the French authorities had given the migrants more than a weeks advance notice of the event, allowing up to 600 to leave the camp and the low-key policing during the event is largely proof of this. Even the French media have started to label Besson [4] "The Great Barnum". See:
[2] See the Twitter posts on the CMS Home page
[3] See: Eric Besson is the French Immigration Minister.
[4] See: [2]. Also No Borders activist was arrested yesterday for transporting 3 Iranian's in a car. A number of activists have been arrested under Article 622 of French law, which is aimed at people traffickers, for giving aid to migrants, include driving them to hospital.
[5] See: