At Coquelles demonstrators went around the back of the detention centre with whistles, drums and megaphones, chanting and communicating with many people incarcerated inside. This is the second noise demo in the last couple of weeks, to continue to show support to people locked up in the Calais immigration prison (see http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2012/02/492168.html?c=on).
The border police, Police Aux Frontières, immediately removed detainees from the nearest prison wing and shut them into the rooms furthest away. This just made chants louder between people inside and out. Banners written by friends said ‘Stay strong. We are with you’ in different languages and were hung on the fence.
Recently people have been deported to Sudan with many more people also being threatened. People from Sudan state that if they are deported back they are certain they will be persecuted, tortured or killed.
Conditions inside the detention centre are particularly bad at the moment with rooms, so overcrowded people are sleeping in the corridors. Detainees have also complained that they are not getting enough food. As well as the limited portions, the meals that are served are often not Halal, so Muslim prisoners are able to eat little other than white rice. The detainees are also being denied access to the outside yard and visitors have been refused access inside several times for no
Even people who have started an asylum claim are being held for as long as twenty days in these cramped conditions.
Today’s demonstration coincides with the No Borders Carnival in London, which marks the end of a week long convergence of people fighting against detention, deportation and border controls. The demo in London today started at St Paul’s Cathedral at noon where people from many communities took to the streets in a lively event with samba, banners and celebration.
Also last week No Borders activists acted against a mass deportation flight to Ghana. On Tuesday 14th, over forty people blockaded Harmondsworth and Colnbrook detention centres in London, as dozens of people were due to be deported on a specially chartered flight to Ghana. On Friday 17th No Borders activists also occupied the headquarters of Barnardos, Britain’s largest children charity, demanding that it “quits the child detention business”.
One of the demonstrators in Calais says about the week of No Borders events, “These actions are against the violent system of immigration regimes, detention centres and prisons across Europe. The number of centres and border controls incarcerating and deporting people without papers is increasing. While at the same time persecution of people based on where they are from and how much money they have has become normalised and institutionalised.
Strengthening borders strengthens systems of segregation and builds bigger and higher walls and barriers between people. No Borders is a network of groups and individuals who stand against all forms of repression and control and struggle for the freedom of movement for all”.
- The violence, abuse and harassment against people without papers is systematic, it
is not just a few ‘rouge’ police or individuals from border agencies. In Calais you
can see evidence gathered over two years by Calais Migrant Solidarity:
This evidence has been taken on by the new Human Rights Commission in France and is
currently the subject of “an enquiry”.
- For details of previous evictions, harassment and abuse of people with and without
papers from in Calais see www.calaismigrantsolidarity.org
- The No Borders Convergence 2012 (13th – 18th February) is a week-long event
featuring workshops, meetings and actions against the border regime. The callout and
program can be found at http://london.noborders.org.uk/convergence2012.
- For further information about No Borders UK see www.noborders.org.uk
- For information on demonstrations and actions this week in London and Calais see:
London detention centre blockade to stop deportation, Tuesday 14th February:
Calais demonstration against migrant squat eviction, Wednesday 15th February:
Banardo’s occupation against child detention, Friday 17th February:
Calais Migrant Solidarity