Calais: French Authorities Are Determined To Close The Jungle

Calais jungle camp, March 2016. Picture by Markwin Kobus

Calais jungle camp, March 2016. Picture by Markwin Kobus

On February 29th, the French police started to evict the so-called “Jungle” refugee camp in Calais, France. Refugees resisted the eviction by climbing on roofs and some started a hunger strike. Others have sown up their mouths.

A volunteer who is supporting refugees in Calais, Markwin Kobus said yesterday: “Today had the most intensive, shocking impressions so far. Tears well up in my eyes thinking back about what happened in this place that some people are forced to call home.”

He added: “On the roof of one of the shelters very near were shelters were pulled apart some refugees and volunteers occupied the roof of the shelter, braving the cold weather. Riot police very close to them and some guy playing a table harp at the police, beautiful music! The police slightly withdrew and started pulling down shelters elsewhere. At some point in the morning we witnessed a group of 6 Iranian men walking towards the police line, faces mostly covered, but their sown up mouths clearly visible. The ultimate expression of having no voice. They were carrying placards and there were loads of media people around them. They slowly walked towards the police line (One of the place saying “NOW will you listen”) The police got very nervous, not able to do anything because of all the media there. They withdrew a bit and you could see the horror in their eyes as well. The Iranian guys stood there for a while and then withdrew and dispersed.”

Until now the French police only evicted a part of the camp. Markwin said: “Yesterday the clearing of the camp continued steadily, without too many incidents between police and volunteers/refugees. It’s bizarre, around the Ashram kitchen there isn’t a building left standing, so it’s now in the middle of the waste ground, but still in use.”

French authorities continue to criminalise refugees and supporting networks. In a statement “Migrants solidarity” wrote: “Yet again, various officials – from the Interior Minister Cazeneuve himself, to Buccio the Prefect and Bouchart the Mayor – have come out in a chorus of lies about “No Borders”, lazily parroted once more by the mainstream media. Claims vary from the idea that No Borders are responsible for any acts of violence, to the notion that they don’t actually care about the migrants in Calais, or that they’re actively burning down shacks in the jungle. This tactic is now as predictable as it is crude; whenever migrants dare fight back against their daily repression and humiliation, the answer of the authorities is the same: No Borders must be manipulating them.”

In the past few days there were several solidarity demonstrations for the refugees in Calais. Today there will be another solidarity demonstration in Paris (March 4, 2016 at 6:00 pm – 7:00 pmGare du Nord, 18 Rue de Dunkerque, 75010 Paris, France). Tomorrow there will be solidarity demonstrations in Villefranche-de-Rouergue (March 5, 2016 at 11:00 am – 12:00 pm Mairie de Villefranche de Rouergue, Place Louis Fontanges, 12200 Villefranche-de-Rouergue, France), Bath (March 5, 2016 at 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm, Abbey Courtyard, Bath, UK), London (March 5, 2016 at 2:00 pm – 3:00 pmParliament Square, Westminster, London SW1P 3JX, UK)  and Witney (March 6, 2016 at 12:00 pm – 3:00 pmChurch Green, Witney, Oxfordshire OX28 4AW, UK). 


About Author

Born near the city of Amsterdam I started filming, taking photos and writing for autonomous and other magazines in the 1980's in Amsterdam. Nowadays I write for Revolution News and several blogs in Germany. Sometimes I live in Germany, sometimes on Tenerife, Canary Islands.