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The port town of Calais in Northern France represents the final point of the journey in a migrants struggle to gain entry into the United Kingdom. Much has already been documented about the plight of those stuck in this hellish purgatory, of the violence, the poverty and the invisable situation punctuated only by media scare stories of ‘waves, hordes’ of scrougers and bogus asylum seekers.
However my story is about the less exposed side of the struggle, of the health and well being of these desperate people. I spent my time at the No Borders camp at the port and the jungle, visiting and bringing minimal releif in the form of First Aid.
My first encounter of the migrant health care system was a hurried car journey to the Eritrean squat in the Ferry Port. A team of medics gathered together having heard a scare that the squat was being raided, but after three or four stop and searches by the CRS we decided that we would be more useful Read the rest of this entry »
This is the personal recollection of the Calais No Border Camp by one member of our group, others will follow soon.
I am surrounded by faces, all beaming at me, eyes glittering with interest, with expectation. The floor is beautifully carpeted and a Turkish man has motioned me towards a space towards the back of the structure opposite the door, carefully dragging a cushion from the wall in a manner imbued with all the gentle goodness and grace that the Muslim character engenders.
The shelter is poorly lit and stuffy inside, but though bare, it is clean. Blue tarpaulin sheets are stretched taught over a robust wooden frame, wooden pallets provide the base for a perfectly flat floor and the roof rise’s each side to an apex.
“The Wind?” I ask, “No problem.” “The rain?” I get the same reply.
Two miles away and two hours previously it was still stiflingly hot when I had turned the corner of the Boulevard des Allies to see, set against the maritime train station in Calais a sight starkly reminiscent Read the rest of this entry »
We’ve been very quiet on the blogging front since the end of the No Border Camp in Calais. The events on the ground in the region have got more intense, with French Authorities attempting to remove all migrant camps, however activists have been staying in the area doing Calais Migrant Solidarity. Some of us intend to return to Calais in the near future, if anyone is able to travel to Northern France to give support, get in touch.
Back here in Wales, the UK Border Agency have been very busy trying to (and often succeeding) ruin people’s lives. As usual the defence of their intrusive activities would be funny if it were not so tragic. The forcing apart of a married couple, was, in the words of their spokesperson “to protect young people” and to made sure they “receive the help and support they need”. At present the couple are legally entitled to live together anywhere in the EU, except the UK.
UK Border Agency staff routinely and systematically brand people liars when Read the rest of this entry »
This year’s No Border Camp in Calais has now finished. It was a powerful and unique event. Bringing together activists from across Europe to share a camp alongside undocumented migrants from Africa, the Middle East and Asia as well as significant numbers of local residents was no easy feat. Especially under the watchful eye of over 2,000 police, nearly all armed and with full riot gear (though often no uniforms and no noticeable identification). Full credit to everyone who took part in any way.
Though the Freedom of Movement demonstration on Saturday 27th was the central event that got media coverage, it was the week long camp that was the real story. As part of the war of words about the camp we have been using our Twitter feed to keep a constant stream of updates on what was taking place, as well as Read the rest of this entry »
With the Calais No Border Camp less than a week away, to go along with the activist mobilisation, the mainstream media disinformation is in full swing. Whilst most of the scare stories have appeared in the French press, never one to miss a spot of sensationalism the Daily Mail has run a story about the camp. Amoung other things Mail hack Peter Allen claims that we “heartily support” the views of Natacha Bouchart, the mayor of Calais, who has called on residents of Calais to leave en-masse for the duration of the camp and has cancelled several local events for no good reason. Unsurprisingly our views and that of Ms Bouchart are drastically different and the idea we intend to incite migrants to er… migrate is laughable.
Today will be the last day of the “No Land’s Men: The Struggle for Calais” photo exhibition at the Oriel Canfas gallery of the Chapter Arts Centre. The exhibition features some truly moving and touching artistic works by Julie Rebouillat, and gives a rare glimpse into the world of undocumented migrants trapped on the doorstep of Britain.
On the opening night on Thursday we held a talk and film showing in La Salon, where we tried to expand on the reality of the situation in Calais, and the way in which UK border policy has created this Read the rest of this entry »
On Wednesday 27th May a group of No Borders activists braved the lousy weather to picket the Border Agency offices on 31-33 Newport Road. We distributed leaflets to those passing by and entering the building, which were well received. Despite the weather, the police deemed a presence necessary at this peaceful protest, as those who arrived were suprised to be awaited by two CSPO’s standing in the rain!
The next picket of the UKBA at 31-33 Newport Road will be held on 17th June 2009, 12 noon. We will be Read the rest of this entry »
At midday this Wednesday 27th May, we will be holding a picket outside the UK Borders Agency at 31-33 Newport Road, Cardiff (map) to protest against the systematic de-humanisation of migrants in the UK via enforced destitution, detention and deportation. The picket will also be in solidarity with the repressed migrants in Calais, looking toward the Calais No Border Camp in a month’s time. The demonstration will be from 12noon until 1pm, so come and join us, we will have a selection of banners and placards, but feel free to bring your own too!
The situation for migrants in Calais is nothing short of a major humanitarian crisis, which has been created by Read the rest of this entry »
The photo exhibition “No Land’s Men: The Struggle for Calais” comes to Cardiff on Thursday 11th to Saturday 13th June.
This exhibition by Julie Rebouillat has been travelling around the UK over the last few months and will conclude in Calais for the No Border Camp on Tuesday 23rd June. It features Read the rest of this entry »
The new issue of Gagged! is a Cardiff Anarchist Bookfair special. As well as featuring the full programme of the bookfair, including our workshop at 1pm, there is an article on the upcoming No Border Camp in Calais, reports from our demos against deportations to Iraq and against the ethnic charter flight to Nigeria, as well as Mayday in Cardiff. Along with plugs for the Calais info night on 4th June and our benefit gig on 9th June. All this plus a selection of other articles by South Wales Anarchists, Westside Climate Action, Cardiff Anarchist Black Cross and FITwatch.
If you’d like Read the rest of this entry »
As well as the No Border Camp info night on this Thursday we will once again be moving across town to O’Neils on Trinity Street on Thursday 4th June at 7pm for a night to raise awareness about the No Border Camp. This time, rather than our usual organising meeting, we will have music and entertainment from Tracey Curtis and Cosmo in-between some Read the rest of this entry »
On Saturday 23rd May South Wales Anarchists will be hosting the first Anarchist Bookfair in Cardiff. We will be attendance with our stall in the main hall giving away free leaflets, newsletters and stickers as well as selling a small selection of books and badges.
We will also be hosting a talk and discussion at 1pm in room 1. Everyone is welcome, though we’ll be tailoring our talk to what we assume will be an anarchist audience. Like everything we’re doing over the next few months we’ll be using the opportunity to encourage people to join us in attending the Calais No Border Camp. Here’s a summery of Read the rest of this entry »