A British collective of open border activists and anarchists are planning to “fight” French police in Calais this week to stop them from dismantling the sprawling migrant camp known as “the Jungle”.
According to the Sunday Times, members of the British No Borders group met in South London on Sunday to plan their day of action, where leaflets bearing pictures of armed, masked activists smashing up a law enforcement van were given out.
Around 30 people —overwhelmingly young, white and middle-class — reportedly showed up . One of the activist told the paper that “lots of [them] would be going down” to Calais to block the evictions from the Jungle.
The Calais prefecture said they were expecting 150 to 200 activists, and were gearing up for violent clashes as police start taking down shelter and moving people out the camp.
— Calais Solidarity (@calaisolidarity) October 24, 2016
“Considering activists from hard-left group No Borders have arrived in the Calais area and have set up home in squats, there is a high risk the activists have penetrated the camp with a view to influencing the migrants as they did in March,” a police official said.
No Borders first began operating in the squalid camp in 2009, and describes itself as a decentralized network of individuals and groups fighting for the free movement of people.
For the group, borders are colonialist “weapons of divide and rule,” deployed by the capitalist class to protect their own corporate interest and “turn the rest of us against each other.”
“This group is anti-capitalist by nature. You will not find sympathies for police, border agencies or any other instruments of repression used to protect borders here” reads the description of their Facebook group.
Its members says they work with migrants in Calais to monitor police activity, raise awareness to the migrants’ plight, and help them escape evictions and find alternative places to squat.
But several French politicians have accused the militant group of taking advantage of the migrants’ dire situation in the camp to further their own political goals, while egging them on to riot and tear down fences.
Last month, the head of the Pas-de-Calais region Fabienne Buccio blamed the “extremist” activists for “manipulating and misleading” a “hard core” of about 150 migrants and inciting violence against police forces in the camp. .
Although it is unclear what the CMS’s actions will consist of, they called for “a transnational day of action and demonstrations October 24, 2016 to express […] support for those expelled from Calais” and to “build resistance to police attacks.”
— Calais Solidarity (@calaisolidarity) October 19, 2016
The three-day eviction operation aims to clear the sprawling shantytown of make-shift homes — a symbol of Europe’s failure to resolve its migrant crisis — of its estimated 6,000 – 10,000 occupants, and relocate them to asylum centers around France.
Sixty buses are slated to pick up 3,000 migrants on Monday, and 45 buses on Tuesday plan to remove another 2,500 people.