This is a post describing actual events in Calais, on the 28th of July, in the afternoon. We are sitting in the Richelieu park and having a chat under the sun. Suddenly four persons are encircling us and asking to see our ID. They wear civilian clothes. I ask for what reason, as I’ve been looking at article 78-2 of the Penal Procedure Code, and most of the time ID’s cannot be checked unless a Republic prosecutor demands it. In particular, we are just a bunch of people sitting in a park, so we are clearly not committing an offence, etc.
Fourth paragraph of the article goes into more details with regards to checking the ID’s of people who may be foreigners. In particular, it states that ID checks carried out within 20km of a Schengen state* are always okay. So where does that leave us? Closest Schengen state is Belgium, and Britain is not a Schengen state. The BAC agents were arguing that the sea was the border, which is bullshit, and in the end merely said that we could just ask the Republic prosecutor if that wasn’t true.
A bit later on, one of us took care to warn migrants of the presence of the police, and that got the person into a bit of a hot spot. We came to that person’s side and the BAC agents went off. At that point, one of us took a camera and started filming them, to which they turned back and started demanding to see the pictures. The camera was put back in its bag, and ‘no’ was said a good ten times, over and over again.
Some threats of arrest were launched, a call to some kind of HQ was made, several times it was asserted that permission was required in order to film. We already know that it is not true, and after discussing with some offended police for a few minutes (offended that we talked to them normally and didn’t cave in), it turned out that this was the good old ‘Droit a l’image.’ Essentially, the police conceded the point that we had a right to film them, but denied it on the grounds that we could not be trusted not to publicize it against their will. After I made the point that this reasoning would make all filming impossible, they reiterated that you needed to have a permission, after which I was advised by my friend to just give up. Which I did.
I went to warn some more migrants coming into the park, on the urging of that same friend, and by the time I got back the police agents were leaving the park slowly and no harm was done.
*A Schengen state is a state that signed the Schengen treaty, which basically says that border controls are cancelled between the participants. Basically, then, free movement within Europe. The UK is not a signatory, although it participates in some way. I can’t explain at the moment and in any case this is irrelevant. Calais is more than 20km away from the UK border.