As if the prefect of Pas-de-Calais wanted to celebrate his promotion as a prefect of the Normandy region (http://www.lavoixdunord.fr/119050/article/2017-02-15/la-prefete-fabienne-buccio-quitte-le-pas-de-calais), after a Sudanese deported to Sudan and the risk of deportation to Sudan of an Eritrean, a police operation that combines the hunt for minors, the hunt for solidarity people and the hunt for journalists.
The association Secours Catholique (Catholic Relief) had recently installed showers for the homeless migrants, this being the trigger that raised the hostility of the major of Calais (see here and here). The state is now fighting against the showers: yesterday afternoon, three CRS vans are parked in front of the entrance. At the arrival of the van of Secours Catholique, the police controlled and arrested all the people present, those being seven minors who came to take a shower, Mariam Guerey, an employee of the Secours Catholique, and Haydée Sabéran, a journalist for Libération, who works since long time in Calais.
During the control, the CRS communicate to their superior via radio. The arrest of the minors, the employee of Secours Catholique and the journalist was therefore validated by the hierarchy. All these people were taken to the brigade dealing with the repression of the activities of the “smugglers”, which meant that the charges for the Secours Catholique worker and the journalist were those provided for by Article L 622-1 of the CESEDA (Code of Entry and Residence of Foreigners and the Right of Asylum), which states that “any person who, by direct or indirect assistance, facilitates or attempts to facilitate the entry, illegal movement or residence of a foreigner in France shall be punished by imprisonment for five years and a fine of 30,000 Euro “.
So of course, at arrival at the police station, the tone changed, the possible custody turned into a free hearing, and everyone was released – released for minors, it means not only not having taken a shower, but being on the streets, which is symptomatic of how the police consider the protection of childrens in danger (see here and here).
Nevertheless, the threat is clear, both for people showing solidarity and for journalists, from the moment when a well-known journalist is not around.
The struggle for access to basic hygiene continues, since the mayor of Calais has just published a stoppage of works, which comes late since the showers are already installed and no work is in progress. It will at least make a dispute that gives the impression of doing something, and hinders solidarity.