Bridges clearing, 28th of October

This blog is not supposed to be used for that purpose, but nevermind. I want to give a story of what happened before all goes away. This morning, around 9.20am, the bridges were cleared. There were four tents all in all, there.

The morning had started a little late ; I’d set the alarm to go off at 6 and I’d planned to leave immediately for the office, to start a patrol with P at 6.30am. But as you know, when you totally lack sleep, it’s much more difficult than that. So I got up, and I took some time to have a coffee. I’m so selfish. Then I tidied the whole washing up, and looked up some text on nationalities, and even printed it. That’s outrageous.

In any case, I get out by 6.35 and arrive around 6.55. I ring the doorbell and wake up C for no reason, cause P was waiting in the hallway. We do our little patrol without seeing any cops. All is quiet. We reach the Hazara jungle and decide to take a break there. We go in a little, but we don’t find anyone. On our return, we sit down and talk. Wow, what a gloomy factory over there ! It’s quite fun actually. We’re about to go on our bikes, but suddenly a CRS van shows up behind our back. And remains there.

Its inhabitants look at us for a long time, probably pondering what to do with the crazies. We try not to look in their direction. This feels awkward. At some point, two of them get down, and one goes inside the jungle. Soon enough, he gets back with no one in front of him. We stay a little while yet, still trying not to make eye contact. Then we decide to go back to the town center.

On the way back, the story is the same : no signs of CRS, everything quiet. We meet with M who’s heading towards the train station ; he’s going. After a little chat, we’re going back to the office. P proposes to get some bread ; C is just getting up. Then I get a call by V that there are 3 CRS vans and 1 snatch van around the tea distribution area, which is the ex-Belle Etoile noon distribution place. I get there fast with a bike and a camera. C is due to join with me later on.

When I get near it, I see V heading back to another part of the bridges area ; he thinks there’s gonna be destruction because he’s seeing municipal employees and their SUVs. So I get closer to the tea distribution but there doesn’t seem to be anyone anymore. On the other hand, I see CRS cops around the Iranians’ tents. I go there quickly, but the CRS are again already gone. The municipals are on their way though and I try to obstruct.

Seeing as they are much more numerous, and me much weaker in strength, I and V decide to go for salvaging as much as possible. Mainly, personal rucksacks, blankets and sleeping bags. Not one tent though. We didn’t get much. Far away I see a police car get down in our direction. Time to move, now. So I take as much as I can, and leave C and V to try to defend the rest of it from the CIU.

When I get up the bridge, I see C and V away from the area ; two cops are accompanying a migrant who used the tarpaulin to make a bag with everything else. Effective. The cops didn’t seem to intend to arrest him so I think he’s fine. They went their own directions eventually.

Then it was the turn of the Pashtun tents on the other side of the river. At this point, V had my bike so I walked there quickly, intending to do the same again. But by the time I’d arrived there, and descended the staircase, the cops had already guessed what I was going to do. And one of them, a woman, immediately said « Sir ! Sir ! You cannot be here, this is a private site. You are not allowed here. _ I just want to take and salvage as much as possible. I’m only looking for that. _ Yes, but we’re already going to send some of this stuff to Salam, don’t worry. You’ve seen the other bridge, we let this migrant take his stuff. This is a private site, please go away. » While she’s blabbering on, I’m looking at her with an unconvinced eye, and decide to give up. There’s some blankets on the floor, but I don’t have my bike to escape from the cops.

So I head back towards the road, and ask « Okay, but who should I call, to check. » One of the other cops is bewildered that I’d have the gusto to question their honesty. « Hah ! ‘To check !’ » That female cop tells me « Well thank you for respecting my word. You can call Sylvie Copyans. And thank God you’re here ! You’re so important. Now can you give me your name ? _ I do have a name, but I don’t have to give it. » I’m trying to go away before the ID control thing starts, but it’s too late. She grabs one of my arms. « Can I see your ID sir ? » I show it. There’s my name on it, she knows it, shows it to the others. « Ew, I’ll have to wash my hands. Well this is a private site, but I’m letting it pass. Go away now. _ Yes master. _ Yeah right. »

At that point I just want to leave and rest. I go back to the office with the blankets and sleeping bags that I left somewhere safe. That is, I left them with migrants looking over it. It’s a little difficult for me, because unlike the previous guy with his tarpaulin, I’m completely stupid and I only used a little rope that cannot constrain everything. It’s all so huge that the best way is to hug it. So that’s what I do. When I get back to the office, I get a call by V who has the bike. I need to get there to take it back as well. Once there, V tells me more about the same female cop. She seems to be atrocious with anyone involved in No Borders, and activism around the migration issue. She also told V that « Yeah, you’re so helpful. I’m a lot more helpful by being a cop than you ! » When V was at the Eritreans once, she also told everyone there, something like « You morons ! » Also, the story about bridges being a private site : the Regional Council is the ‘owner’. That’s weird. Is it a private entity now ? And finally, I could have avoided this because I’d heard my mom tell me that the prefect yesterday at this meeting said something along the lines that the bridges would be cleared. I had no idea it would be that swift. We could have simply unmounted the tents and store them somewhere.

I went back with the bike, and C started talking about a plan, and asked my opinion, and I began to start, but I couldn’t finish. I was on the verge of tears. I just mumbled that with all that happened this morning, I couldn’t talk, and I needed to rest. I left. I’m going home but first I want to send this on the internet. Not much more happened for now. It’s 11.15 am and I’m writing from the library. It feels so good to be treated normally.-m

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4 Responses to Bridges clearing, 28th of October

  1. agirlandherthumb says:

    Wow, thanks for leaving that M – brings it all flooding back! I think it´s really good to write about this sort of stuff, it helps document what is happening, shows people who aren´t there the situation in a much more concrete way and it´s also very cathartic.

    Love and solidarity,
    Jo x

  2. Pete says:

    Hard times! I write to you in solidarity and hope the winds of courage blow with these words into Calais! Revolt and we oppose the established powers and their corrupt monopolies over resources they mistake for life. A mistake without understanding life or the very nature of Being, of companionship, connection, love. Have an aim and strike out for an end to their positions of power, there, see it: revolution. But it is all for nothing if we forget Freedom, that which is truely uncatagorisable, unsubtractable into parts slowly eatten away by the death leviathan state. All potentialities ever present with each breath. So too can joy be renewed with each breath, as we step up to act once more. We do not fight for freedom, we are free therefore we fight! we love!

  3. Sabot says:

    Scum. Sounds like you could really do with some time out of calais though – there’s only so much repression any one person can take.

    In solidarity,

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