The present town of Calais consists of the union in 1885 of two communes, Calais, today called Calais north, surrounded by water, and Saint-Pierre. The link between these two parts of the city is made by a bridge near the station, as much to say that it is a place through which one passes often.
In other words, the station of Calais-ville and its surroundings, with the parks, Saint-Pierre and Richelieu, have become strategic points of control for racial profiling .
A slice of 1/4 of an hour, this Saturday afternoon :
Arrival at the station at 14:30. A mobile gendarmerie van is parked on the side of the car park, in front of the station. Two people who might be of African origin are being controlled between the van and the wall. Waiting the time to observe, the two people are released and cross the road.
Let’s go back to Calais north. On the bridge, we cross three gendarmes mobiles who are going towards the station. They do not control us (we are of European appearance), no more than other people they walk past (of European appearance). We turn to see if they will re-control the two people who might be of African descent.
Arriving at the level of a person who could be of Afghan, Middle Eastern or North African origin, the gendarmes control are controlling him. The person shows his papers, the gendarmes let him go on.
A few meters away, the gendarmes have surrounded the bus shelter. There are the two people who have just been checked in front of the station. They traveled about 60 meters, the previous control was completed less than 5 minutes ago, the gendarmes who carried out the two checks are part of the same team.
At the same time, another person, black hair and dyed slightly brown, is being controlled at the van in front of the station.
14:44, we leave the scene and continue our journey.
A brief time slice, in a limited space, which gives an insight into the daily life of anyone who looks foreign, in Calais, today