Calais: 200 people storm the channel tunnel
UPDATE 6 OCTOBER: Calais Migrant Solidarity reports that all people arrested in the action have now been released.
Last night (Friday 2nd October) after midnight over 200 people without papers broke through the vicious razor wire fences and invaded the channel tunnel, trying to make it to England. According to the authorities, some made it 10 miles in before being stopped. Maybe some, unknown to the authorities, even made it through.
The tunnel was shut down all night, and this had a knock-on effect as freight traffic was redirected to the port, backing up the roads causing a major traffic jam which allowed others to get inside trucks. At about 8.30 this morning, there was a further traffic jam as people without papers made barricades across the dual carriageway above the jungle, stopping trucks and climbing inside. Strangely only two vans of gendarmes (French military police) were present, frantically driving back and forth for an hour gassing people and trying to run them over, but powerless to stop them.
Unfortunately, these daring actions came at a heavy price. Over 100 people were arrested in the tunnel last night. 7 were injured by cops, some maybe quite seriously. As of this evening, over 20 people were still being held. We don’t know as yet if they will be released, or sent to detention centres with a view to deportation, or charged with criminal offences. In either of the last two cases, we need to give our active solidarity.
That is what has been happening in the real world. Meanwhile, in a fantasy world, French police “trade union” representatives once again issued statements, lapped up by the right wing press on both sides of the channel, blaming “anarchists” for “coordinating” the offensive on the tunnel. We can say the following about this:
The collective actions last night and this morning, as other offensives in recent weeks, were self-organised by people without papers. People from Africa and Asia don’t need European anarchists to incite or organise them. These are people who have fought revolutions, lived through wars, undertaken perilous journeys, all of which may mean not just great individual courage, initiative and resilience but also collective solidarity and self-organisation. The “British anarchist” line from the cops and journalists is insulting and deeply racist. We “No Borders”, anarchists and others, are proud to stand in solidarity with our friends without papers. But these actions are theirs, they don’t need us to lead them or show them how to fight.
Why are the authorities and media spreading these allegations? Coordinated collective action against the borders by people without papers is very powerful. Across Europe, in recent months, such actions have been spreading and increasing in scale and intensity. This clearly scares those who want to maintain “Fortress Europe”. But action by migrants alone may not be enough to really shake the murderous border regime. Our power will be strongest when people with and without papers fight together. This seems to be what the authorities are trying to prevent above all: their aim is to isolate migrant struggles, make them invisible and alien, confine them in the ghetto miles out of town. Trying to demonise and criminalise our solidarity is a move in that game. It won’t succeed.
Al shab yurid iskat al-hudud. The people want to bring down the border.
PS: See also our earlier statement on similar allegations a few weeks ago.
Note from Rabble: A solidarity demo is being called at Eurostar St. Pancras International for 24th October. This is shortly after and just around the corner from this year’s Anarchist Bookfair.