Calais Legal Centre Burns
Cowardly Attack Will Not Stop Centre's Work
The Calais Legal Centre was last night on fire as a result of a cowardly attack. A few days previously the Centre had been raided, its lock having been broken and all its furniture stripped out. Donations to replace the stolen furniture were mounting up but this further attack is a considerable setback to the Centre.
Series of Attacks May Implicate Police
On Friday, March 11th, an hour after an altercation between one of the Centre's lawyers, Marianne Humbersot, and the Sub-Prefect of Pas-de-Calais, a great fire decimated the last standing restaurants in the southern zone of the camp, considerably accelerating the dismantling of the camp. Whilst the cabin was located outside of the fire’s perimeter, over 500 meters away, the CRS riot police asked the lawyers to evacuate the premises. Concerned by the CRS’ orders, they took the precaution to take all working documents and files home to safety that night.
During the night from Friday March 11th to Saturday March 12th, the lock installed on the Centre’s door was professionally severed, and since then, has been so 4 separate times. The Legal Centre has subsequently been broken into and looted several times, which had never happened in over three months of existence.
On Saturday March 12th, at about 1:00 PM, the CRS prevented migrants from accessing the Centre for over an hour. It was only after Marianne Humbersot phoned the Préfecture that this action ceased. However, from around 2:00 pm, for around an hour, a group of riot police positioned themselves close to the Legal Centre. After asking them the reasons for their presence there, they explained their mission was to ensure the security of the premises, despite the fact that no attempt to enter the cabin without permission had been made in 3 months of the Centre's presence. This operation clearly dissuaded the migrants from coming to the Legal Centre for the rest of the day.
Finally, this Thursday March 17th, just after the team left the premises locked, a fire broke out from inside the Legal Centre, without anything knowingly having been present inside the cabin which could have caused it to ignite.
Attack will not stop the Centre
The Calais Legal Centre had been one of the few buildings remaining after French police destroyed every home in the southern part of the camp, displacing the residents to many smaller camps in the area with a complete absence of community facilities. However, volunteers continue to work in the camps in and around Calais.
The Calais Legal Centre aims to assist migrants in the Calais area, in particular people seeking family reunification in the United Kingdom. It also assists those facing brutality at the hands of the French police, in particular the notorious CRS riot police. The lawyers from the Centre will now continue their work in the many camps around the Calais area, with or without the resources previously available to them.
Help the Centre
To make a donation or for other ways to help the Calais Legal Centre: https://www.leetchi.com/c/solidarite-appeldecalais