There should be a history of walls, fences, and barriers in Calais. Fifteen years ago, the port and the channel tunnel site were initially surrounded by fences. Firstly the port in 2000, causing a displacement of attempts to pass to the tunnel site, which was in turn fenced off in 2001. Resulting gradually, due to the greater difficulty of the passage in Calais, in a wider dispersal of Exile camps to smaller ports, from Brittany to Belgium and the Netherlands, and near to the lorry park ups along the motorways leading to the coast. In the process, other ports such as Cherbourg were surrounded by fences.
At the same time, the British authorities offered the French authorities military radar for scanning vehicles, while other detection systems were also put in place. But the port authorities were generally reluctant as these controls slowed boarding and might harm competitiveness with other ports. But the British authorities in imposing a fine of 2,000 pounds per Exile found in the lorries, were able to reverse the situation, checks prior to boarding have become a competitive advantage to avoid fines.
The speech given by the authorities of the time is almost verbatim the one used fifteen years later. New fences have come to surround the port of Calais and the perimeter of the tunnel, then stretching back along the access ring roads , while trees and bushes were cut down to give police greater visibility of the approaches, and some land was flooded to prevent the passage of Exiles.
In continuation of fences along the port bypass , a wall was announced in the spring, funded by the UK Government (see here and here).
The British government formalized the construction on September 6th, when Calais attracted media attention again. This announcement confirmed the Franco-British declaration of 30th August: after the Brexit vote, nothing will change at the border, the wall materializes that.
On the ground, it will create more dangerous situations than fences, since it does not only prevent entry, but also escape in case of accident, and will keep in the tear gas the police use in large quantities.
And it will spread attempts at passage a little further toward populated areas, which will create more tension and push people towards the motorway, creating even more dangerous situations.
Unnecessary and dangerous, so it is in practice indeed a symbol, a sign, that of the unmoving stagnation of the French and British policies, at the moment when the French authorities are preparing the renewal of a ritual that has been repeated since the closure of the Sangatte Centre in 2002, the eviction – the slum destruction, in this version accompanied by the forced displacement and dispersal of the population throughout France. A fitting tribute by Bernard Cazeneuve to Nicolas Sarkozy on the eve of presidential elections, it will essentially be an amplified copy – paste of Operation Ulysses carried out by Sarkozy to push away the Exiles left on the street after the closure of the Sangatte centre.
A reminder of two petitions against the Wall:
the French government:
the British government: