Chiara Lauvergnac reports on the recent events on the Calais border.
Mawda, two years old, shot dead by border police in Belgium
Mawda Shawri was killed by a bullet that hit her in the face, probably aimed at the driver of a van carrying 30 migrants (mostrly Iraqi Kurds) that had been chased by four police cars, the night between 16th and 17th May 2018. Mawda’s family have said the bullet was fired from a police car that had flanked the van. The family were arrested and only heard their daughter was dead a couple of days later. The magistrate in charge of preparing the court case has dismissed the police’s version that Mawda was hit by a stray bullet. The policeman who shot her is still at liberty. Demonstrations and vigils have been held in Dunkirk, where Mawda and her family were staying, Liege, Calais and Brussels. Mawda’s funeral took place on the 30th May drawing a crowd of 1500 people at least. The grieving family expressed their gratitude for the great show of solidarity by Belgian citizens.
Read more here.
On the 24th May, planned evictions of all Dunkirk sites went ahead.
“After much anticipation and many postponed warnings, the French authorities evicted all of the current sites in the Dunkirk area. They began with the emergency centre that was set up back in mid-winter. This centre had become “home” to over 300 people, with another 100 living slumped against its walls outside. The families and individuals were directed onto buses that would drive them to an unknown destination. Following this, the police and CRS turned their attention to the woodland where we operate, sending dozens of officers through the forest, turfing people out and destroying shelters. As always, there were unjustified arrests and blatant abuses of power. Fortunately, due to the warnings and advice of volunteers most people had already departed the previous day” (Report by Mobile Refugee Support).
Destructions of camps continue at the Calais border. In Calais, segregation in the ‘jungles’ is complete. Migrants do not go to town any more for fear of being arrested. Destruction of tents, blankets and people’s property by police are a daily occurrence. There is no water. Police violence is very high and there is a proliferation of guns in the camps, especially in the Afghan area, and guys with guns and cocaine addictions, and underage boys sleeping there. After the shooting in February, when 5 very young Eritreans nearly got killed, police did not catch anybody. Volunteers keep going to the jungles to bring humanitarian aid, else there would not be any witnesses.
Up to 2.500 men, women and children were surviving in the streets of Paris in appalling conditions. Two men have drowned after falling to the river. The Interior Minister Collomb, sollecitated by the mayor of Paris Annie Hidalgo, promised to destroy the camps and re-house the people – which may help those who want to stay in France, but in the case of the numerous people with fingerprints in other countrie could result in more deportations.
A mass eviction took place on 30th May in Paris. As usually happens, the refugees were raided at dawn, made to wait for hours, shouted at and abused by numerous riot police (one cop per two refugees), no information was given, then they were deported on coaches to unknown destination.
A national demonstration is planned in Paris for the 2nd June against the new immigration law, that if passed will see asylum rights very much curtailed.