Calais No Border Camp 23-29 June 2009

The Calais No Border camp (23-29 June 2009) is a joint venture between French and Belgian activists and migrant support groups and the UK No Borders Network. It aims to highlight the realities of the situation in Calais and Northern France; to build links with the migrant communities; to help build links between migrants support groups; and lastly, but not least, to challenge the authorities on the ground, to protest against increased repression of migrants and local activists alike. For more info, click on Read More and check out these links:

This camp calls for the freedom of movement for all, an end to borders and
to all migration controls. We call for a radical movement against the
systems of control, dividing us into citizens and non-citizens, into the
documented and the undocumented.

Why Calais?

We have chosen Calais for two main reasons; it is an important location in
the history, development and practice of European migration controls and
has long been a major bottleneck for those seeking to get to Britain. But
more importantly, it is also a focus of the struggle between those who
would see an end to all migration into the EU, and those trying to break
down the barriers between peoples, the borders that prevent the freedom of
movement for all, not just the privileged few.

Since the mid-nineties tens of thousands have lived in destitution,
sleeping rough in Calais, waiting for their chance to cross the channel to
England. Between 1999 and 2002 the Red Cross ran a centre at neighbouring
Sangatte but this was forced to close after political pressure from France
and Britain. Since then, the massive police presence and repression in
Calais has forced thousands of men woman and children to wander the Calais
region and all along the North coast of France, Belgium and Holland. They
are routinely brutalised by the police; tear-gassed, beaten, arrested and
repeatedly interned at the nearby Coquelles detention centre. The police
regularly burn their shelters and the few meagre possessions that they
contain. The local groups that support the migrants by providing food and
other humanitarian aid are coming under increasing attack from the police
and a number of activists have been arrested in recent months. Meanwhile
British Immigration Minister Phil Woolas has been calling for the
construction of a permanent holding/detention centre for migrants in
Calais docks.

The Bigger Picture

Calais however remains only one small part of the overall picture of
European migration controls, a major internal border within the hi-tech EU
borders regime. Since the beginning of the decade, the EU been attempting
to build ‘Fortress Europe’; externalising EU borders into Africa and Asia
with EU border guards patrolling the Mediterranean, in Libya and off the
West Coast of Africa courtesy of the Frontex borders agency; and via the
European Neighbourhood Policy, where countries from the Ukraine all the
way round the Mediterranean to Morocco are now paid by the EU to do its
migration prevention work for it.

Migrants’ Rights Are Workers’ Rights

Through this system of border controls, authorities create two kinds of
migrants: a small number of ‘skilled’ migrants, who are designated as
‘useful’ to the state; and a massive number of undocumented workers who
have no rights and are therefore exploitable as cheap labour. Thus is our
fight for freedom of movement also a fight for the rights of all workers.

Transnational solidarity works!

Building links and working together allows us to share information between
us on a transnational level. It also allows us to exploit the fault-lines
and cracks in Fortress Europe. Last November, transnational solidarity
helped to prevent the planned deportation of Afghans from Calais to Kabul.

Campaigning Against Borders

This camp will continue the tradition of the No Border camps across the
world since the late 1990s and, like the camp taking place this year in
Lesvos in August, it will be a space to share information, skills,
knowledge and experiences; a place to plan and take action together
against the system of borders which divides us all. For centuries European
imperial powers have exploited the land, resources and people of the
majority world to become wealthy and powerful, leaving war, environmental
destruction and massive inequality in their wake. Those who attempt the
journey to the UK or elsewhere in Europe are challenging this injustice by
their movement. The situation in Calais is a result of the compromise and
conflict of interest between French and UK immigration policy and we call
on groups, networks and individuals here to take action across Europe and
to become part of a global movement of solidarity that defends their right
to choose where they move .

Equal rights for all !!

*No One Is Illegal. Freedom Of Movement And The Right To Stay For All*

One thought on “Calais No Border Camp 23-29 June 2009”

  1. Posted from Boulogne on Friday 19th June
    The French police are certainly taking next week’s event seriously. There are large numbers of Gendarmes posted in hotels in Calais and Boulogne, apparently for the next ten days to a fortnight. I saw them arriving earlier this afternoon. The hotel I am staying in (courtesy of a booking made some time ago) is full (with perhaps two thirds of the rooms occupied by police) and they say there is difficulty getting a bed in the Pas-De-Calais region.

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