Arrests at Calais No Border Camp

Posted by admin on Jun 26th, 2009

Friday, 26, Jun 2009, By Alice Cannet.

French riot police made 47 arrests yesterday following clashes with activists trying to lead Calais asylum seekers through the channel tunnel to Britain. ‘No Borders’, the charity which campaigned for migrants rights set up a ‘camp’ in Calais last week where they intended to instigate discussion with the migrants. But yesterday, things turned sour as a hundred migrants joined ‘No Borders’ activists to protest against migrants being removed by the French authorities. As the camp prepared for marches on Saturday, where several hundreds were expected to turn up, activists chained themselves to a detention centre for UK-bound migrants.

Emails pledging to destroy wire fences and other security measures around the channel tunnel and ferry port were intercepted by the police.

There were also threats to burn ‘symbols of capitalism’, including local government offices, and hotels run by global chains.

Police intervention resulted in machetes, metal poles and a mace being seized. This morning an activist apparently ‘glued’ himself to Calais town hall to request showers for the migrants.

Calais’s ‘jungle’, a makeshift migrant camp at the French border has been the subject of debate in France and the UK following revelations of the living conditions of migrants staying there.

In April, the French authorities announced they were going to shut the camp and find ways to accommodate the migrants until their situation was regulated.

‘No Borders’ claimed that four hundred activists from around Europe had arrived yesterday at the camp, which will remain until Sunday, to take part in discussions and marches.

Police presence has surged in the region in recent months and more than 800 riot police patrolled in the port town while another 1,200 were on standby, ready to take action.

A police spokesman said: “The arrests on Wednesday were made in the vicinity of the camp, where we have been forced to introduce stop and search tactics.”

“Many hundreds are massing in the town, ready for a widescale demonstration against immigration control. All vulnerable targets are being guarded. We can take no chances.”

It has been widely suggested in the press that the UK benefits system was one of the main reasons for migrants to attempt to enter Britain via Calais.

However, Pete Sanders of No Borders said: “Some of the migrants we have met here are as young as twelve years old. To suggest that such young people take such a dangerous journey because they want money is not only ridiculous, it’s insulting.”

He continued: “That British politicians and journalists are prepared to demonise children like this is shameful to us all.”

The ‘jungle’, where about 2,000 migrants live, sprung up after the Red Cross refuge camp, Sangatte, was closed seven years ago.

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