A little bit of good news from Calais. Yesterday (Monday 14 December), one French comrade of Calais No Borders stood trial in the local court at Boulogne charged with being a supposed “ringleader” of last month’s rioting at the jungle. The judges dismissed the main charges of riot and “incitement”; although he was given a one month suspended sentence for refusing to give DNA samples. So far only one person (as far as we are aware) has been punished by the courts for the November riots, and this was an unusually “lenient” sentence of one month for throwing stones. Also yesterday, another person was acquitted by a court in Nice of charges relating to the No Border camp at the France/Italy border in Ventimiglia.
We repost below the statement from Calais Migrant Solidarity.
Today, in Boulougne and in Nice, two No Borders migrant solidarity activists were shown to be not guilty of almost all counts presented against them in court. The false accusation by the police of inciting riots and violence, offence and rebellion—not believed by the judges—were nothing more than acts of repression of solidarity and racist rhetoric trying to show migrants as unable to protest on their own behalf. Today the legal rulings showed this.
We don’t delude ourselves, we know that border repression happens daily, often in silence. Even now, in Boulogne, our comrade received a one month suspended sentence for refusal to submit DNA. Recently, a man was sentenced to a month in prison, accused of throwing stones during clashes, a charge he denies. Every day, fifty or so migrants are imprisoned in detention centres; humans are beaten, killed too many times in public ignorance and in secret. It is because such violence is always there that we welcome this legal victory.
This is an important victory because it shows that even in an environment of fear, hostility, and xenophobia bred in the state of emergency in France and an increasingly reinforced Fortress Europe, we can continue to support each other and fight together whether with or without papers. Solidarity is not a crime!
Solidarity is sharing food outside the courtroom. Solidarity is banners denouncing the border regime. Solidarity is coming together in cities across France, Europe, and everywhere in the world to be with one another in celebration and in struggle. Solidarity puts people first, which the state and the capitalist system do not.
Violence by the police continues and the border kills. If you read the news of Calais, you read about that. In the face of this, it can sometimes seem daunting to continue with the struggle. But people trying to cross, despite being beaten and threatened, in increasingly difficult conditions continue to struggle! We must continue to struggle with them ! Everyday there are victories as well. Today it is two victories in court. Daily it is people coming together, living together, eating and laughing together. It is people organizing protests, cutting fences, crossing the border, and undermining the border regime!
Although governments are working hard to make people without papers illegal, working hard to criminalize those who show support for those without papers, No Borders will continue to denounce this repression, and question the rules by which the legal system decides who is « good » and who is « bad », who is legal and who is not. The arrests were devices used to take our time and energy for legal battles rather than those in the jungles and on the borders! But today we have our comrades back! The two victories in court serve as a reminder: Solidarity is victory!