Calais, August 2020: what’s up
- And things are happening in Calais.
Mathilde Potel, new deputy commissioner in Calais. Six months at the Saint-Denis police station before applying for Calais at the end of her studies. Welcome on this trampoline! Because there are some who have made a career out of Calais. A recent example: the former prefect under Sarkozy at the time of the “first” eviction of a “jungle” in Calais, Pierre de Bousquet de Florian, is now chief of staff of the new French Minister of the Interior, Gerald Darmanin. And in the prefecture since then, things have continued to move, and with a tight laugh: ciao to Fabien Sudry, who has become prefect of the region.
Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, and to win the musical chair game and be able to tick Calais in his tour of France, it’s Mr LE FRANC (Louis). Bye
- Border stands still, but so do people having to fight their lives to cross it. Crossing with small boats continues, and continues being possibly the most mediatized way of crossing. Here we talk about it, here the BBC talks about recent crossings. Also: Priti Patel plans to use the navy to tackle the growing number of migrants crossing the Channel from northern France, but (surprise!) that would be illegal! A shame for people so attached to the idea of legal / illegal to have made crossing with a ferry impossible for many, forcing them to risk their lives in smaller boats with their dangerous politics!
- The Calais town hall doesn’t differ much in terms of announcing and talking things they don’t know. Sat 8 August, some people had announced they would take showers and talk in public square about the lack of access to water for people sleeping rough: about 4 water points for more than a thousand people. Seeming to think pointing out the issue would cause problems of public security (really?), the municipality announced on the press that they would have issued one “arrêté” for this time again. Clearly with short memory,as warnings were already issued by tribunals a couple years ago concerning their abusive use of “arrêté” to forbid demonstrations/ events that they didn’t like without any grounds, But, this time… lie after lie: it wasn’t the case. Only, the water points nearby the event (that took place, despite the attempt to intimidate people gathering) were closed for the occasion. What a great symbolism!
- and their series of (recent) lies goes on: after rewriting the history of Calais by enclosing, evicting, and forgetting or destroying former inhabited places. Now they rewrite tribunal decision, with the deputy major Mignonet stating on the printed press ” Pourtant, depuis 2017, des arrêtés municipaux interdisent les distributions de repas aux migrants en centre-ville de Calais. « Elles restent interdites aux associations, c’est de la provocation, et elles vont à l’encontre de la décision du Conseil d’État en 2017, estime Philippe Mignonet, adjoint chargé de la sécurité. Le préfet a été informé et on attend sa décision face à la situation. »”
Oh well, the Conseil d’État decision itself tells a very different story, saying that there is no ground for the town hall to take such decisions and they are therefore invalid! Here the full reading. Mignonet, liar!
- A couple of evictions were made with the new old technique of ordonnances sur requêtes. These evictions, larger in scale and more effective than the every-two-days raids, have seen part of the people trying to cross to the UK brought to centres further inland or scattered around the city. This means relative chaos and harsh material conditions, but also more people of color present in public space, and smaller camps, more made out of affinity groups rather than vicinity with crossing places and services allowing for new old forms of self organizing. Oops! predictable” side effect” that could harm the apartheid politics carried on by the city..!
- The evictions made a great excuse for the state to stop providing services in one of the two-three places they were providing some food and basic access to hygiene, a still largely inhabited industrial area. Left, one water point for the several hundred people scattered in the surrounding. But please, wash your hands often.
- The town hall continues to justify every-two-days raids and larger evictions as inhabited places are unhealthy, and neighbours complain about rats and alike. Yet, the town hall announces their firm refusal to put bins or even just a collection system in place. Whose hands are dirty here? Sounds all too much like many times before, one example of which can be found in this article about Black Lives Matter from 2016.
- Detention centre still very present, so as the border regime. An updated guide on how to support people locked in and phone numbers are out here.
Shut down all detention centres!
And more here, about Calais and why Calais, here, about border profiteers and securization… and everywhere, to bring down all borders.