Update from Calais
Hello from Calais!
Representing Sheffield at the biggest gathering of No Borders activists in Calais since the camp in June – we were pleased to see a full weekend of discussion; strengthening the network in North-West Europe, and deciding on the best course of actions to work for those here who face the worst of fortress Britain and its Channel-border.
Decisions ranged from improving communication ties to planning actions – all of which helped us learn from, and bridge differences, in activism of those from within Europe and those from beyond it!
Lots of ideas picked up will be coming to our city in the North soon, so watch this space!
The situation in Calais remains tense as activists regularly confront the cops and work to stop the police violence that blights the lives almost every day of those “sans-papiers” (without papers).
As it’s getting colder, many of those who have arrived here from Africa and the Middle-East are desperate for shelter. Many have little more than blankets provided by humanitarian groups and No Borders activists, but some have taken to squatting in order to reclaim space that the money-driven system we experience deprives them of.
Crossing the Channel is dangerous and this is highlighted even more by the tragic news that an Indian was killed trying to cross on a lorry a week before we arrived.
Many have next-to-no-idea how difficult it is to cross until they arrive and are faced with the choice of climbing under a dirty and lethally hot lorry, climbing into a tanker or container that may suffocate or trap them on a longer voyage of possible starvation or dehydration, or paying thousands of Euros to smugglers who exploit the situation but are suspiciously free from the police oppression that others face daily.
It is clearer than ever how borders destroy lives and the friends that we have made in Calais are counting on our solidarity to reach a better way of organising the world.
Together, we believe we can achieve this, and once back in Sheffield, we’ll hope you can join us to make it happen.
We’ve got a world to win back.
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