Thursday morning, clashes took place between the police and exiles during the dismantling of a migrant camp located near the Transmarck zone, in Calais. According to associations, the situation deteriorated because the exiles were unable to recover their belongings. The prefecture denounces, it, “the very great aggressiveness” of the migrants.
For migrants settled on the coast of northern France, it’s a daily ballet. Thursday, December 30, around 9 am, the police took over the so-called “Old Lidl” camp, located near the Transmarck zone, in Calais. Objective of the morning: to expel the hundred people – originally from Sudan for the most part – who are there. This morning, the police deployment is more important than usual. “Usually, it is the police and gendarmes who dismantle the camps. For the past two weeks, they have been supported by several squadrons of CRS”, explains Pierre Roques, of the Auberge des migrants association.
When the deportation operation begins, the exiles, who are usually allowed to collect their belongings, are prevented from doing so. According to Human Rights Observers (HRO), a total of 32 tents are confiscated. “Before, people could collect their goods at the Ressourcerie [un magasin solidaire où étaient stockés les biens des migrants après les expulsions ndlr]. But since its closure, if they cannot recover their belongings at the time of dismantling, they lose them permanently “.
On December 1, Marlène Schiappa, Minister Delegate to the Minister of the Interior, in charge of Citizenship, moved to Calais and announced “the creation of a new, larger, more secure, more dignified place of storage. and redistribution of the affairs of migrants, in conjunction with associations “. The Minister had visited this new place: a large white marquee located rue des Huttes.
Praised by the minister in front of the cameras, the place had yet, at that time, “still no heating to dry the tents”. And his security protocol had “not yet been validated by the prefecture,” said the director of the Ressourcerie, still manager of the place, François Cordier, to InfoMigrants. Almost a month after its presentation, it is still not operational.
Projectiles against LBD fire
Thursday, faced with the impossibility for migrants to recover their belongings – which often amount to a tent and some personal property in a bag – the tension rose between them and the police. Faced with pebbles and stones thrown by the exiles, the police responded with tear gas and LBD fire.
According to the prefecture of Pas-de-Calais, the police “were the target of numerous thrown projectiles”, “from the start of the operation”. The hundred or so migrants present on the spot, “showing very great aggression”, “refused to leave the place”, says the institution in a press release. Violence condemned “firmly” by the prefect of the department Louis Le Franc, while providing “his full support to the wounded police and gendarmes”.
On the side of the police, there are “about fifteen” wounded, “taken care of by the emergency services”, indicates the prefecture. The deputy commissioner of Calais, Mathilde Potel, said, for her part, to The voice of the North that “about forty police officers were injured, hit by stone impacts”.
When the clashes stopped, around 11 am, “three exiles were taken care of by firefighters, dispatched to the scene for the police, assures Pierre Rocques. One had a crooked hand, another had the very swollen thigh, it had doubled in size. Most likely from an LBD shot. “
According to the prefecture, these operations aim “to avoid the reconstitution of a large unsanitary encampment and to remove migrants from the Mafia networks of smugglers who encourage them to cross the Channel at the risk of their lives”. But the associations denounce a real policy of harassment suffered by migrants on a daily basis. In Calais and in the region, large-scale dismantling takes place every week. The “small” evictions, every 48 hours.
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“After two consecutive days of expulsions and two days without expulsions to allow the police to celebrate their Christmas, this morning in Calais the state harassment has started again. In the rain and the cold, the exiles were woken up and forcibly left their tents, “HRO wrote on Twitter on December 26.
“After the violence [de jeudi], the police did not carry out further evictions later in the day. Today, they are catching up, “deplores Pierre Rocques, from Calais, where the police proceeded, Friday, to the dismantling of several migrant camps.