Socialist Worker

Refugees evicted from camps in France—on Britain’s say-so

Hundreds of people trapped at Britain’s border have faced increasing harassment by French authorities. Now—with the collusion of Tory Priti Patel—they’ve been attacked by police

Issue No. 2671

Refugees in northern France are under threat

Refugees in northern France are under threat (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Hundreds of refugees in northern France faced a mass raid by the police this week.

The French state had posted eviction notices for refugee settlements in Calais and Dunkirk.

This would force out more than 800 refugees who are living in and around the gymnasium in Grande-Synthe, Dunkirk.

Hundreds more face a similar threat at one of the biggest makeshift settlements in Calais.

One British aid volunteer, who recently returned from Calais told Socialist Worker, “The situation is tense among refugees who are clearly aware the pressure is ramped up by French police.

“There have been a number of small police incursions already.”

The volunteer added, “The eviction notice for Calais has been posted and they fear a mass incursion. They expect to be moved en masse.

“Meanwhile as the summer ends and the weather gets worse, so does life for refugees who are forced to live outside.”

The threat of mass evictions follows a meeting between Tory home secretary Priti Patel and French interior minister Christophe Castaner.

They resolved to ramp up border security with more UK Border Force and French police patrol boats in the English Channel.

Alongside more patrol boats British and French authorities want to make life even harsher for refugees trapped at Britain’s border in France. This will only force more to take the dangerous sea journey.

Appeal

Refugee aid organisations have issued an appeal for people to make donations ahead of the evictions.

Riccardo la Torre, an FBU union member, joined a delegation of firefighters to Calais last month. He said, “The camps are due to be ripped up by a section of the French police that are particularly hostile and aggressive.

“When we were there we heard stories of the camping and cooking equipment being confiscated.”

Trade union and student delegations, organised by Stand Up To Racism (SUTR) and Care4Calais, bring vital supplies to refugees.

Their aim is to help build a mass movement that welcomes refugees in Britain, not simply charity.

Riccardo described how police recently asked the fire brigade to help them search for refugees who had made it across to Britain.

“They said there might be a stowaway from Calais in the back of these trucks and we want you to get your thermal imaging out and find them,” he said.

“We said, ‘Why—are they in trouble?’ They said, ‘No, we want you to find them so we can nick them’. We said you can get stuffed, boys. You always have a choice.”

The refugees trapped in northern France have fled war, dictatorship and poverty.

The only solution is to open the border and let them in safety—and that requires a mass movement that can force the British state to do it.

International Conference Against Racism and Fascism - Saturday 19 October, Central London. Hosted by Stand Up To Racism. Book tickets at bit.ly/SUTR2019

Defend EU migrants’ rights

Labour shadow home secretary Diane Abbott and other leading figures in the party have signed an open letter demanding European migrants are safeguarded.

The letter, initiated by Stand Up To Racism, calls on the government to pass legislation guaranteeing the legal status of all European Union (EU) migrants.

It says that “at a minimum the government must scrap the five-year cap” on EU settled status. Currently migrants who have lived in Britain for fewer than five years can only apply for the inferior pre-settled status.

It also says, “Every EU national resident in the UK should preserve all their current rights.” And it calls on the government to “re-establish the original deadline to apply for settled status”.

Anti-racists should use the letter to gather support for defending EU migrants’ rights and free movement.


Protests after Islamophobic attacks in London

Around 150 people joined a protest outside North Ealing Tube station in west London last Friday. It followed an Islamophobic attack that hospitalised two women.

The attack left one woman with broken ribs, and the other with a black eye and internal bleeding.

It took place in front of their two children.

The protest was called by West London Stand Up to Racism.

Around 40 anti-racists turned out in Waltham Forest, east London, last Saturday after an attack on a local Muslim woman.


Anti-Nazis oppose pathetic Robinson supporters in Leeds

A rump of Tommy Robinson supporters marched through Leeds city centre on Saturday of last week.

Around 50 fans of the jailed Nazi gathered in the city chanting, “Free Tommy”.

They were outnumbered by a 250-strong counter-demonstration organised by Stand Up To Racism (SUTR) and Unite Against Fascism.

Anti-fascists chanted, “From the Pennines to the sea—Yorkshire will be fascist free,” as they marched from the city.

Sam Kirk from SUTR Leeds said the Nazis’ turnout was “pathetic”.


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