In Calais, the shower war continues (see here, here and here), conducted by both the municipality and the state against the people living on the street who come to wash themselves, and also against the Secours Catholique which has installed those showers in the courtyard of a hangar owned by the association.
This afternoon, when the showers were to begin, four CRS vans and one unmarked car were parked near the entrance. The police control the first vehicle that brings exiles in, and arrest seven minors, then three minors and four adults that were in the next vehicle. According to the police, minors would be taken to the reception center for foreign isolated minors managed by France Terre d’Asile in Saint-Omer, 30 km from Calais. Where they will not stay if they want to try to go to the United Kingdom, and in this case they will return by foot, or train, with the risk of being stopped again during the systematic racial profiling controls which happen in Calais station (see here, here, here and here). The police say they act on the prosecutor’s requisition, which would mean that the prosecutor considers taking a shower as a threat to public order, justifying these controls.
The showers did not take place this afternoon, so that the people who would have come to wash wouldn’t have been stopped.
In Paris, it is the war of breakfasts. On 16 February, volunteers who come to distribute breakfast to the exiles who sleep outside the so-called “humanitarian” camp set up by the major of Paris Porte de la Chapelle (see here in French, here and here in English) are obstructed by the police, which presents a document that is supposed to be a decree issued by the préfecture of police. Who denies having given such an order. Blocks of stone were also put in the neighborhood by the town hall to prevent people from sleeping nearby.
On the page of the collective Solidarité migrants Wilson, February 16:
«16/02 HONTEUX: by order of the prefect, any distribution of food and drink around the center is now FORBIDDEN!
After taking away blankets, after the dispersions, AFTER THE STONES, we move on to the next stage: the migrants are PREVENTED TO EAT.
8:30 this morning, when we go to the police to inform them of our presence, they forbid us to distribute. Neither in front of the center. Neither in front of the waste dump. Nor on the other side of the crossroads. Nowhere. And for good measure, they give us two fines when we leave (5th fine for our small collective)!
We haven’t seen from close the document from the préfecture, which lists all the locations forbidden to us. Let us reassure ourselves, anyway we were able to distribute food, our 45 liters of hot beverages and all our bags of unsold bakery, but under what conditions! Hidden well beyond the bridge, on a corner of the sidewalk where we still weren’t sure we would have not been bothered, and where hundreds of migrants (300 goblets used this morning) have nevertheless managed to find us.
The other scandal is that from now on, it is confirmed, there is nothing more to eat or drink for the migrants admitted in the daily reception in the center! They will spend the day with their bellies empty. The volunteers who manage this welcome are to recover the remains of our distributions to have themselves something to distribute inside! Yesterday a family was staying there all day and the volunteers did not even have a bottle of water to give to the children: yes, it is also that, the welcome that the City Hall of Paris is so proud of.
And now no one will have anymore access to the sidewalks of the center to at least feed and warm the people in the queue …
BUT HOW ARE SUPPOSED TO FEED THEMSELVES ALL OF THESE MEN, THESE WOMEN, THESE CHILDREN?
WE WILL CONTINUE EVEN UNDER THREAT!
HOW TO HELP US? You can support us financially via our online funding https://www.leetchi.com/c/solidarite-migrants-wilson
And you can join us by signing up on our online schedule https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1CDTu2aZcuhldwhfPfrch75FxfsIFTbe97SN17bq2MQc/edit?ts=5849bb00#gid=0, the idea is that of being lots to register once a month to ensure a daily presence.
Added February 18: Many of you joined our call to join our morning breakfast to support our right to be in solidarity and humane! THANKS TO ALL. ”
“PROHIBITION OF DISTRIBUTION: the sequel
I have called the Prefecture of Paris to have the heart of it.
Here is the answer that was given to me: “There is no decree. No ban on distribution. Just a few restricted areas. ”
So, of course, I was surprised: And the document that the policeman read to me, and shown, which was dated February 13, the day when police officers chased the Wilson Migrant Solidarity volunteers during the distribution? And the physical prohibition to distribute that we were made?
Answer: “There is no decree”. But this official paper then? Answer: “There is no decree”, if there is no decree what is it then? Answer: “There is no decree”
And what should we do tomorrow if we are forbidden to distribute again? “Well, you will obey the police, of course. Whatever they ask you. For safety reasons. ”
And the fines? “If they gave you one, you must have started to distribute when you were forbidden.” (when we were fined we had not begun to distribute, and we moved away following their order).
It is still unclear what the nature of this document was. It has indeed been seen, even from far. And it was read to us. So, if we have understood what the Prefecture has said and repeated (“There is no decree”), what was it? An internal document, written instructions for police officers on the ground?
We don’t even know what prefecture could deliver it. Would it be the prefecture of Seine-Saint-Denis, which was on the same place this famous Monday 13? Yet the “Humanitarian Center PARIS Nord” is under the jurisdiction of Paris, right?
We do not know what was really written there and what part could have been changed from the interpretation of a somewhat over-zealous official: we have seen it from too far.
What is certain is that our distribution has been banned in the outskirts of the center, that our interventions, which are merely a matter of simple humanitarian sense, are every day more difficult and that we simply want to be able to continue as long as the issue is not taken over by the public authorities as it seems to us it should be. In the meantime at least people should be allowed to sleep, to protect themselves from the rain, to drink water and to eat. ”
Media coverage seems to have made the prefecture and the town hall take a step back from the ban on breakfasts, but the police multiply the fines on the vehicles of the volunteers, as it did in Calais (in French).
Jacques Callot: Tennis game on Santa Croce square, in Florence.