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We suspected it with recent police operations, accompanied by arrests, against the shops and restaurants of Calais shantytown (see here, here, here and here). It’s official now: the prefecture lodged a complaint to the Lille administrative court for the destruction of these shops. The hearing will take place on August 10.

It has happened in other slums away from the city center, when with time the collective life organizes. People will do the shopping in town and open a shop to sell the products. Sometimes people prepare and open a space for conviviality, restaurant or tea room. This was the case in the Afghans shantytown in 2009, or in settlements evacuated in 2015 to concentrate the exiles on the current slum site, such as Tioxide or Dubrule wood.

Things were much faster on the current slum, and from April shops and restaurants have been created, sometimes a relocation from the previous camps. And they have developed, following the growth of the shantytown and the increasing of its population. When destruction of the south, those inside, as the majority of its inhabitants, had resettled in the north.

Shops yes, but also possibility of autonomy for the people who have some money, not entirely relying on soup kitchens, housing for the people who work there, meeting space, and then always share the food with friends in Down and Out and these shops also help people to live.

This is what is promised to the destruction now.


Hannah-jungle-street léger

A street of the shantytown, by Hannah Kirmes-Daly.