Calais hunger strike

Submitted by Newcastle on 8 October, 2009 - 6:53 Author: By Annie Hankshaw

Migrants in Calais are on hunger strike in an attempt to win asylum in France.

The migrants, who are from Afghanistan, Egypt, Palestine, Sudan, and elsewhere say they are will strike until western countries offer them asylum. They are also demanding that no migrant in Calais is readmitted to Greece, Italy or Malta (where they fear immediate deportation).

The hunger strike follows the destruction of the migrants’ camp in the town by the French riot police. The camp of makeshift tents and shelters, known as “the jungle”, was built by migrants afer the French government closed the Red Cross camp at Sangatte in 2002. That closure and the recent police repression were encouraged by the British Labour goverment.

“The world is ignoring us so we are making our suffering public”, says Benjamin, 38, an asylum seeker from Iran. The strike is taking place in the port, where “Tourists... will be forced to see our lack of freedom until Western governments work together to offer us somewhere to build a new life safely.”

Migrants are arrested everyday, and released after four to six hours as police attempt to break the strike through harassment tactics. Some have been held for as long as two days.

Activists from the No Borders campaign have joined the migrants in their strike. The migrants have issued an international call for more people to join the strike in solidarity.

• Messages of support can be posted at

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